Kratom is a medicinal plant that is native to Southeast Asia and is in the same family as coffee. A popular natural painkilling remedy in Thailand, kratom has become hugely popular around the world over the last few decades as it has become known as an effective herbal remedy that offers a wealth of positive effects and benefits.
But what are those health benefits, what can kratom, and more particularly kratom tea, do for you and how much should you take?
The Effects of Kratom
Kratom is often consumed for its analgesic properties, which are said to be akin to opioids. While many herbal plants are said to have painkilling properties, including everything from nettle tea to turmeric, kratom really is effective in this regard and can rival many prescription painkillers. Kratom can also suppress coughs in the same way that opioids can and it has the same effects on diarrhea prevention as well.
Kratom is also said to produce a dreamlike state, relaxing the user and producing a mild sedation that increases along with the dose. This is the reason it has become popular as a recreational drug, but it’s also the reason why kratom is increasingly coming under scrutiny by the authorities, as discussed further down.
Benefits of Kratom
While kratom has many effects that make it a popular recreational drug, its health benefits are limited. The painkilling properties of kratom, along with the effects it has on cough suppression are where these benefits end. It is not particularly high in vitamins, minerals, or antioxidants, certainly not when you compare it to herbal teas like dandelion root and many others that we have discussed on this website.
Kratom is also not going to help you when it comes to a health detox or a sugar detox, but as discussed below it may be able to help you to detox from opiates.
Kratom During Opioid Withdrawal
Kratom is often used as an aid for withdrawal for opiates and opioids. It acts on the same receptors in the body and produces the same effects. It also helps to alleviate and often eradicate the withdrawal symptoms. If that was all that kratom did then it would be the perfect withdrawal support drug, but there is much more to it than that.
Kratom is highly addictive in itself and if you stop using opioids and opiates for a week and use kratom instead, expecting the withdrawals to be over by the time you finish then you might be in for a nasty surprise. That’s because it works in a similar way and staves off the withdrawals as opposed to easing them entirely. In other words, it would be akin to using a weaker opioid in the sense that the body is not being starved of the drug and will still lead to withdrawals when you stop using, but those withdrawals may be less than they would otherwise.
Kratom vs Opioids
One of the biggest differences between kratom and opioids is the crash, which is akin to a hangover. You don’t get this with opioids and it can be a shock to the system for many users. What’s more, there are more psychological elements to this hangover, triggering depression, restlessness and more.
This is more common when it is used to excess throughout the day, but it can also be felt in smaller doses by people with predispositions to depression and anxiety. If you have such predispositions and you’re in withdrawal, this hangover can be unbearable.
The Side Effects of Kratom
There are many potential side effects of kratom, both in the short term and the long term. Some of the long term side effects of kratom include a darkening of the skin on the face, weight loss and psychosis. Far from the “mild” herbal medicine that many users see it as, kratom really can be highly toxic when it is used in large doses, is taken to excess or is abused.
Dependance can also develop after several weeks of use and this is akin to addictions to mild opiates like codeine. It can trigger an acute withdrawal that lasts for a few days producing symptoms ranging from insomnia and diarrhea to aches, pains and flu symptoms, and an extended withdrawal that can leave the user with everything from intense cravings to reduced appetite and libido.
As with many opiates and opioids, kratom can also produce symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. This is further exacerbated by the fact that it is often consume in the form of a tea, which sits heavy on the stomach and gives the user a lot of liquid to expel should they feel a sudden rush of nausea.
Other side effects of kratom include drowsiness, insomnia, flushing, tremors, constipation and sweating.
How to Consume Kratom
You can take kratom in many forms. The most common is as a tablet, but we like to consume it as a tea. You can buy kratom powder that has been flavored with spices like ginger and cinnamon to make it more palatable, which allows you to consume large amounts without struggling to get it down your throat.
Many people also buy the powder and use it to make teas, tablets and to “toss n wash”, which involves throwing a quantity into your mouth and then washing it down with juice. You should always start with a low dose to see how you tolerate it and then increase it ever-so-steadily from there. The best way to do this is with tablets, before moving onto kratom tea when you know how much your ideal dose is.
Is Kratom Legal?
Kratom used to be widely available and legal in pretty much all first-world countries. However, as soon as it was thrust into the public spotlight it began to receive some negative press and that’s when it started getting criminalized or at the very least highly restricted. It began with the restriction of highly potential versions of kratom, such as “Krypton”, and it then extended into all forms of this drug.
These days it sits in a grey area in many countries, including the United States, but it looks inevitable that it will soon be legal across the country and when that happens it’s fair to assume that the same will happen in other countries.