The Trendy Leaf: Kratom

Kratom, the trendy leaf of the age, is a naturally grown tree and have been used as mood brighteners since ages. A member of the coffee family, Mitragyna Speciosa, is an evergreen tree native to Southeast Asia and is often considered a great replacement for caffeine. They prefer a humid environment. The plants dislike cold weather and do not tolerate frost. Kratom trees have leaves that are a dark green color and can grow to over seven inches long and four inches wide. The flowers are yellow and grow at the end of branches, in clusters.


Kratom belongs in the same family tree as coffee and contains more than 25 alkaloids. Different varieties of Kratom powder are available – Red Bali, White Borneo, Maeng Da- to name a few. There are three different vein colors associated with Kratom leaves – red, green and white. The colors are correlated with general character of the product. There are many closely-related tryptamine alkaloids in kratom. The most important ones are mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. Kratom does contain alkaloids that bind to opiate receptors but, they are structurally unrelated.

Legal Status of Kratom is a subject of argument among masses. Kratom, in all of its forms, is perfectly legal in most parts of the world and in the US, except for Indiana, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Louisiana. Illinois restricts sale of Kratom, to minors. In 2012 Indiana banned the chemicals Mirtagynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, but the legal definition does not appear to cover the plant kratom. In 2012, Vermont issued a an emergency order to ban several new designer chemicals which included 7-hydroxymitragynine, which is one of the active alkaloids in kratom, effectively banning kratom in Vermont. In June this year, the FDA declared an import restriction on Kratom, pertaining to fears that there is no evidence that Kratom does not pose an unnecessary risk of illness or injury. However, the sale and use of Kratom has not been banned in the country. There is no requirement to have a prescription to find kratom for sale and purchase it as the FDA is not currently regulating it. In certain cases, sales must conform to U.S. laws and in others, sales are regulated.

It is considered contraband, in mainly its place of origin- Thailand, for the reason that it is disrupting one of country’s primary exports, Opium. Kratom is a controlled substance in Australia and Russia, along with few other nations the Europe and Asia. Laws can and do change. Ignorance of the law does not excuse criminal conduct. So, it’s always a good practice to be informed as to whether or not Kratom is legal where you live or travel to.

Thought the effects have not been well studied, it is often considered mild and safe compared to other plant derivatives of the same nature, in most countries. Proponents of the herb claims it is a botanical substance and belongs to the same Rubiaceaea family as coffee and is no more habit forming, than the latter. They says the criminalization and restrictions imposed on Kratom is unfounded and based on misinformation.