Kratom – extraordinary properties of an exotic plant
Kratom – extraordinary properties of an exotic plant
The territories of southern Asia and Oceania are distinguished by their unique climate, which is conducive to the development of fauna unparalleled anywhere else. Just look at the picturesque Thai jungle. This is where you can find a tree that is well-known to the local tribes. Kratom has been used in traditional Thai medicine for centuries. However, in recent years, researchers decided to take a closer look at its properties. What have they discovered, and why has kratom been completely banned in many countries?
Kratom as an alternative to opioids
Severe pain is by far the most distressing symptom associated with many diseases. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that patients look for different ways to relieve the suffering they are experiencing. For severe pain, most doctors prescribe opioids to their patients. Initially, they are very effective, but over time their effectiveness begins to decrease. This is due to the body’s increasing level of tolerance. To make matters worse, abrupt opioid withdrawal usually results in very severe symptoms.
That’s why the researchers were really shocked to discover that some patients go off opioids and still don’t experience the associated symptoms. This effect was supposedly due to a particular substance, which turned out to be kratom. This is quite surprising because, throughout the 20th century, kratom was put on a par with drugs. Even in its native Thailand, the government altogether banned the production and sale of kratom-containing preparations.
However, this discovery may finally change the way this unusual plant is perceived. Already, scientific institutes are setting up new projects to study the properties and potential applications of kratom. Even more importantly, the fact that this research is taking place is starting to bring about changes from a legal perspective. As of 2021, kratom is no longer considered a narcotic substance in Thailand. It is not unlikely that a similar liberalization of the law will also take place in other countries that have so far prohibited the use of kratom.
Kratom – mode of action and benefits of use
Comprehensive research into the properties of kratom is only just beginning. Thus, scientists do not yet know why this plant has such exciting effects. It has only recently been established that kratom and morphine affect the same receptors in the brain. This effect is probably due to the specificity of mitragynine, the active substance found in kratom leaves. This substance binds to opioid receptors, which may result in an analgesic effect and no problems when the drugs are discontinued.
Interestingly, according to some researchers, the properties of kratom can also be used to treat other addictions. The most commonly discussed therapies include withdrawal from benzodiazepine sleep medications, as well as an alcohol rehab.
However, the other effects of taking kratom should not be forgotten. In Thai folk medicine, kratom infusions were used as a remedy for many ailments. Apart from the analgesic above effect, kratom was also said to help with mood swings. Later studies showed that taking mitragynine could lead to a decrease in corticosterone levels. This hormone, like cortisol, is responsible for feelings of stress and tension. Therefore, lowering its levels may improve mood and reduce discomfort associated with depressive states.
Kratom may also be a valuable supplement for athletes. There are reports that an infusion of this plant has a strong stimulating effect. This means that it can boost energy and reduce fatigue. In addition, some studies have reported a positive correlation between kratom use and accelerated recovery!
Kratom – dosage, and legality
At the moment, kratom is on the list of banned substances in the UK and several other parts of the world. However, it is worth noting that the laws regarding the use of kratom may be quite different in different European countries. Therefore, the purchase of this plant itself is not a significant problem. Numerous companies produce kratom preparations that can be easily ordered online. There are slightly more problems with growing the plant yourself. Officially, both developing and possessing kratom is prohibited.
Opponents of kratom very often compare it to marijuana and suggest that both plants are smoked as drugs. Indeed, in some circles, smoking kratom has gained popularity. However, this is not a recommended form of use for this plant from a scientific point of view. Much more mitragynine can be obtained by drinking a properly brewed infusion. Thus, similar comparisons have little to do with reality.
General kratom dosage recommendations have also been adapted for drinking an infusion of this plant. Beginners are advised to drink weak infusions made from literally a few grams of kratom. Any increase in dosage should only occur after some time.
Kratom is a small tree found mainly in southern Asia and Oceania. For centuries, an infusion of kratom leaves has been used in Thai folk medicine to remedy pain and fatigue. Modern research has confirmed that kratom has analgesic effects, and it also has therapeutic potential in the treatment of addiction. Researchers also talk about its antidepressant properties and its health-promoting effects on athletes’ bodies. Unfortunately, mitragynine affects the human nervous system, which has resulted in kratom being recognized as a drug in many countries. Despite this, preparations containing extracts or a powdered version of this plant can easily be bought online. In legal terms, this will be a much safer alternative than growing the plant yourself, which is officially prohibited.
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