Kratom or Mitragyna speciosa is a tree from Southeast Asia.
In recent years, it’s gained a lot of popularity in the West, with some proponents claiming that its leaves have amazing healing properties.
Though the science on its promoted benefits is low, some evidence seems to be supportive of such claims; however, there are also certain risks associated with the intake of this tea.
Kratom, an evergreen tree from the coffee family, is grown in Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia. It’s known under other common names like biak-biak and ketum.
In Southeast Asia, it’s been used for at least 150 years and workers would chew on the leaves to benefit from its stimulant effects. The leaves are also brewed into a tea which is claimed to help in reducing pain and inducing relaxation.
Southeast Asian people use it for its pain-reducing and stimulant properties to this day, as well as to relax the muscles, alleviate diarrhea, and decrease muscle spasms.
The Potential Health Benefits of Kratom Tea
Many people promote and use kratom for relieving the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Although there are some data indicating that some kratom strains can actually be of aid in decreasing the symptoms, more research is necessary for this to be proven.
According to the FDA, kratom is not an approved treatment for anxiety or depression; it’s considered to be a supplement and FDA doesn’t regulate it.
With this in mind, always use it with caution if you decide to do so. Also, take into account that kratom is illegal in plenty of countries throughout the world, including Denmark and Australia.
Though it’s legal in the US, there have been certain efforts to make its access stricter and to regulate the substance.
At lower doses, the active ingredient mitragynine can have energizing influence; however, if consumed at higher doses, it can have a sedative effect.
How Is Kratom Used for Treatment of Depression and Anxiety?
Though it’s not an opioid technically, the effects of kratom are similar to the ones of opioids like codeine and morphine. Kratom’s active ingredient, mitragynine, attaches to the opioid receptors in our brain and alleviates pain.
This action may be the one behind the anti-anxiety and antidepressant benefits that some users of kratom report.
The research on the effects that kratom has on mood is scarce. In one 2017 review, it was confirmed that kratom helped improve the mood and relieve the anxiety in some users.
In this review, it was also emphasized that kratom has sedative effects but researchers are still examining if any of the side effects like sedation can mess up the claimed benefits.
Kratom isn’t just claimed to help with depression and anxiety, but people promote it for other conditions like pain, muscle ache, tiredness, hypertension, diarrhea, PTSD, etc.
A 2017 review found that kratom is also said to offer immune-strengthening, anti-inflammatory, and appetite-decreasing properties.
How Is Kratom Used & Is It Safe for Ingestion?
Kratom can be consumed in different forms, including tablets, tea, gum, capsules, extracts, and tinctures.
For the tea, the leaves of kratom are dried and then boiled.
Some also consume them fresh.
The various types of kratom are known as strains and most of them are named according to the place they originate from, the method of drying, or the processes of harvesting.
When consumed in lower doses, kratom may boost your focus, lower anxiety, better your mood, increase your euphoria, and make you more talkative.
It will also make the muscles more relaxed, reduce aches, and boost energy.