The Incredible Health Benefits of Kratom Leaves
Granted, these drugs have superb medicinal effects, particularly for pain relief and relaxation. But it’s also because of these properties that so many people abuse them. Or that over 28 million people (including children aged 12) use them in some illicit way.
Because of these risks, many pain sufferers have turned to alternatives.
Kratom leaves are one such substitute. They’re leaves of the tropical tree, Mitragyna speciose. It’s an evergreen species native to Southeast Asia.
The question is, how do these leaves benefit people suffering from pain? Are there other health benefits of kratom?
In this post, we’ll delve into the world of this controversial plant. So, read on to find out for yourself whether it’s a much better option than the life-threatening opioids.
A Quick Look at the Historical Use of Kratom Leaves
Kratom is a relative of the coffee family indigenous to Southeast Asian countries. It grows all over the tropical soil of Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea. But some of the biggest users were Thailanders.
Before its banning, Thai workers chewed on a kratom leaf before and during the work day. According to them, it helped stimulate them for heavy physical work. They also reported its mood enhancing effects during tedious and boring tasks.
For thousands of years, kratom was an important component of these countries’ culture. Because it’s part of the coffee family, they viewed it as common and used it every day.
Kratom was also a valuable medicinal plant for many of these countries. They played a huge part in traditional medicine, especially as a pain reliever. Chewing on the leaves were also said to boost energy and appetite.
The leaves were also used for their anesthetic properties and to help treat wounds. It’s also said that people with coughs and diarrhea chewed on the leaves to help with their condition. Furthermore, traditional use for the leaves included enhancing immune health.
Kratom health benefits also include aiding in the treatment of intestinal infections. This was particularly true in Thailand, where they used the plant as a tummy dewormer. The Kratom Exchange site lists many of the other beneficial effects of the plant.
So, no, kratom (also known as ithang or kakuam) didn’t always have a stigma attached to it. In fact, the plant’s users used to have a good standing in communities. Others looked at them as highly-valued members for always putting in hard work.
The Science behind Kratom
It’s important to know the science behind kratom before using it. This’ll also help you understand better where all the talk about its many benefits come from.
Kratom’s main active ingredients (and also some of its most controversial) are alkaloids. Two of the primary ones are the mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine alkaloids.
Research shows these alkaloids’ analgesic (pain-relieving) properties. A study even found 7-hydroxymitragynine’s analgesic potency is 13 times greater than morphine.
These alkaloids have also shown anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxant activities. It’s for this reason fibromyalgia sufferers use kratom to help with their symptoms.
Kratom as an Analgesic
Today and throughout history, kratom users have touted it for its pain-relieving effects. Scientists believe this results from the plant attaching to the brain’s opioid receptors. It’s also this activity that seems to promote an aversion to more harmful opioid drugs.
As explained above, kratom benefits pain sufferers through its analgesic effects. Chewing on the leaves gives direct access to the pain-numbing alkaloids it contains.
With 50 million U.S. adults suffering from some form of chronic or severe pain, kratom can be a huge help. Whether it’s fibromyalgia or back pain, it may serve as a potential symptom-reducer.
Help in Managing Symptoms of Opioid Withdrawal
They use kratom to deal with common withdrawal symptoms, such as stomach cramps. Chewing on or taking extracts also help relieve diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
Keep in mind that opioid withdrawal can also cause painful and aching muscles. Furthermore, it’s known to cause low energy levels and irritability. For this reason, people use kratom leaves and extracts to deal with these symptoms.
Less Harmful than Opioids
We can all agree that having more options to deal with pain conditions will benefit everyone. Especially for those trying to get by every single day even with their arthritis. FYI, arthritis alone makes the lives of 54.4 million American adults more difficult.
Because of the dangers of opioids, many have turned to plant-based products, such as CBD oil. It’s from the extensively-researched cannabis plant, which is now legal in many states. Cannabidiol is far less dangerous than opiates, after all.
So, what about kratom? Well, studies reveal that it also offers a less harmful alternative to opioids.
That means with proper use and right dosage, it can help with pain, but without the dark side effects of narcs.
Many users also claim the mood-enhancing benefits of kratom. Even taking only a few leaves can already generate feelings of stimulation. These invigorating effects become noticeable in as short as 10 minutes and can last up to 90 minutes.
Users report being more alert and sociable after taking kratom. Keep in mind though that it may result in reduced motor coordination. As such, make sure you don’t consume it if you have plans of driving afterward.
Potential for Reducing Anxiety and Depression
Depression affects the lives of 300 million people from all over the world. Globally, 260 million also live with anxiety disorders. As if that’s not enough, many of them go through their everyday life with both conditions.
Having anxiety and depression go beyond experiencing feelings of extreme sadness. It’s so debilitating that it costs the global economy a whopping loss of $1 trillion. After all, these conditions can make anyone lose focus, thereby rendering them unproductive.
To cope with their conditions, many anxieties and depression sufferers turn to CBD oil. CBD isn’t the only plant-based product that can help with these conditions’ symptoms. Kratom has also shown promise in helping relieve anxiety.
Again, proper use and correct dosing are important to achieve these kratom benefits. With the right knowledge on how to use kratom, it’ll be a much-welcome addition to our mental health toolkit.
Kratom leaves also have sedative activity, which can occur with a higher dose (10 to 25 grams). Consumption of the dried leaves can bring these sedative effects. It can also cause euphoria as well as feelings of relaxation and calmness.
These effects are longer-lasting than its mood-elevating benefits in lower doses though. Because the effects can last for as long as six hours, it’s best to not drive after taking kratom for this purpose.
May Help with Weight Loss
Many analyses that were done on kratom also revealed its anorectic effects. This anorectic activity can help suppresses appetite. This explains why many of its users also claim that it helps with weight loss.
With all these Kratom Benefits, Why Is It Controversial?
Now that you know how beneficial kratom is, you’re likely wondering why in the world it’s controversial. Why the Drug Enforcement Agency wants to ban it in the U.S. Which, it actually proposed to do back in 2016.
According to the DEA, kratom should fall under Schedule I drugs. Yes, the same drug class heroin and ecstasy belong to. The agency claims it has high abuse potential, making it unsafe.
Granted, kratom users have reported side effects like vomiting and nausea. In general, though, it hasn’t shown any signs causing serious health issues. In fact, one of its biggest potentials is how it can reduce harm from opioids.
At the moment, about three to five million U.S. folks use it to relieve their pain and anxiety. Many of them also turn to kratom for PTSD and depression.
As such, scientists say that what could actually be more dangerous is kratom’s banning. If it does become illegal, it’s much like denying these people a way to ease their suffering. Banning will also impede further research on the plant, which can cause even more harm.
Kratom is Beneficial to Many, No Doubt About It
Many of the available scientific literature point to the benefits of kratom leaves. They don’t deny its beneficial effects, even those who warn against its use. In fact, many of them even support the need for further studies on the plant.
This in mind, it’s completely up to you to decide whether to use it or not. If you’re looking for an alternative to opioids, then you may want to consider kratom. Be sure you know how to take it (and how much of it) to achieve the best results possible without side effects.