Kratom leaves have traditionally been used for medicinal purposes. The interesting health benefits of kratom leaves include their ability to relieve pain, boost metabolism, increase sexual energy, improve the immune system, and prevent diabetes. They ease anxiety, help with addiction, eliminate stress, and induce healthy sleep.
What are Kratom Leaves?
Kratom is a tropical tree native to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea, where the leaves have been used for medicinal purposes due to its morphine-like effects. The majority of the health benefits of kratom are derived from the unique chemical compounds and nutrients found within the leaves of the plant, including a wide range of alkaloids and other organic substances that affect many organs of the human body. Mitragynine, the primary active alkaloid in kratom, is associated with being responsible for its opioid-like effects.
The plant’s leaves are widely chewed in countries where the tree grows naturally, and some high estimates suggest that up to 70% of the male population of Thailand would chew anywhere from 10-60 leaves each day. It is sold as leaves, powder, extract, capsule, pellet, or gum, and it can be smoked, chewed or consumed as a tea.
The scientific name of this evergreen tree is Mitragyna speciosa, and it has had a very interesting history, including being banned in Thailand (despite being indigenous there), as it was a natural substitute for opium, thereby affecting the economy of the country.
Kratom, which is readily available for purchase on the internet, has come under the international spotlight in recent years for its medicinal use as well its abuse as a recreational drug. And it has been banned in countries including Australia, Malaysia, and Myanmar. In the US and European countries, kratom is increasingly being used by individuals for the self-management of pain or withdrawal from opioid drugs such as heroin and prescription pain relievers. However, use of kratom is recommended if you live in a country or region where the possession, use, and distribution of kratom is legal.
Health Benefits of Kratom Leaves
Let’s take a closer look at some of the fascinating health benefits of kratom leaves.
Kratom leaves are rich in analgesic properties and can quickly relieve pain throughout the body by impacting the hormonal system. The amount of serotonin and dopamine released into the body increases when the leaves are chewed. This further alleviates the pain. Essentially, the alkaloids dull the pain receptors throughout the body. This morphine or opium-like quality of kratom leaves is widely regarded as its most important application.
Immune System Booster
Independent studies on the various alkaloids found in kratom leaves have shown that the combinative effects can have major effects on the strength and resilience of the immune system. Kratom leaf extracts, which were traditionally used as herbs, are endowed with free radical scavenging and antimicrobial activity and are a natural source of antioxidants.
The metabolic effects that kratom has are one of the other reasons that the leaves are so popular, particularly with laborers in various countries. It can increase your energy levels by optimizing certain metabolic processes and impacting hormone levels. This is a result of increased circulation, despite its soothing nature, and a general increase in oxygenated blood to areas of the body that needs it, combining with increased metabolic activities to provide a burst of energy. For sufferers of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, kratom leaves are often an alternative, natural solution.
Kratom is seen by many traditional practitioners and users as an aphrodisiac and a fertility booster, as the extra energy and blood flow can help increase fertility, re-energize a tired libido, and improve duration/conception rates.
Kratom leaves are widely used as anxiolytic substances for people who suffer from chronic stress, depression, anxiety, and mood swings. By regulating the hormones in our body, people can finally get relief from these exhausting symptoms of chemical imbalance without having to rely on pharmaceuticals and all of the implicit side effects of those drugs.
Due to the inherently healthy nature of kratom leaves, in combination with their range of effects, they have been used as a method of curing addiction for hundreds of years. In many cultures, opium addiction is a major issue, but regularly chewing on kratom leaves provides a similar sensation without the comedowns and negative side effects. Therefore, when people are attempting to “get clean” and stay that way, they often turn to kratom leaves as a tolerable solution, thereby making these leaves very valuable in many parts of the world. This also helps to cover withdrawal symptoms during the transition away from that more intense drug.
One of the lesser known benefits of kratom leaves is their effect on blood sugar levels. Limited research has shown that the alkaloids found in the leaves are able to help regulate the amount of insulin and glucose in the blood, effectively preventing the dangerous peaks and troughs that diabetics face. This can not only help diabetics manage their disorder, but also prevent it from developing in the first place.
Side Effects of Kratom
Regular kratom users can tend to have psychotic symptoms such as mental confusion, delusion, and hallucination. Others claim a “kratom hangover”, which includes headaches or nausea in the morning after use. This is something you can determine for yourself, based on your particular sensitivities. Studies show that regular kratom use is associated with drug dependency, development of withdrawal symptoms, and craving.
Withdrawal Symptoms of Kratom
Physical withdrawal symptoms include anorexia, weight loss, decreased sexual drive, insomnia, muscle spasms and pain, aching in the muscles and bones, jerky movement of the limbs, watery eyes/nose, hot flushes, fever, decreased appetite, and diarrhea. Psychological withdrawal symptoms commonly reported are nervousness, restlessness, tension, anger, hostility, aggression, and sadness.
Note: The US FDA issued a public health advisory in November 2017 about kratom, saying it appears to have properties that expose users to the risks of addiction, abuse, and dependence. Because kratom is a supplement, it is not regulated in the US. Globally, it is banned or controlled in 16 countries, including Thailand and Malaysia, where it grows naturally.