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In certain South East Asian countries including Malaysia and Thailand, a certain tree is very abundant and has always been available. The Kratom tree also known as “Thom” or “Ketum” is a tall tree that belongs to the Rubiaciae family. The kratom tree has dark green, oval shape leaves with clustered yellow flowers. The leaves of the kratom tree are used by traditional cultures such as Malaysians and Thai for medicinal purposes for over centuries now. Mitragyna speciosa, kratom’s scientific name was given by a Dutch botanist Pieter Korthals.
Kratom contains alkaloids that said to have effects on the brain. Native regions in South East Asia use the leaves of kratom in treating diarrhea. The leaves were boiled and served as a tea. Fresh leaves also are use as smoking and chewing substances. Due to the alkaloid contents of the kratom, special attention is being given to the studies for further development and knowledge about the kratom. Although there is no clear explanation on how the alkaloids on the kratom work, they were proven to be effective stimulants and depressants. Some natives used the kratom as sexual enhancers, improving their sexual activity and intercourse. When it comes to drug dependence and addiction, kratom is use in the rehabilitation process of patients suffering from opiates dependence. Withdrawal symptoms from opiates are very dangerous and due to the similarities of the effects of kratom to opiates and with a safer and milder withdrawal symptom from the leaves, kratom is use as an opiate alternative. Studies proven that it can also enhance one’s sleep and it can calm the mind. Shamans and folks of old times used kratom for a very long time without any record of adverse effects. But in recent studies, it was proven that kratom has the capacity to be abused. In certain countries such as Canada, kratom is being studied and still on the process of regulation. Ancient texts and records are not that available about kratom making kratom a sort of “exotic” tree.
The Mitragyna speciosa or kratom trees grow as tall as 12-30 feet and 15 ft wide. Its dark green colored leaves can grow up to 7 inches long and 4 inches wide. All through out its flowering stage, the growing florets are completely surrounded and covered by copious overlapping bracteoles. The leaves fall or grow depending on the season. During rainy season, the leaves grow abundantly while in dry season, the leaves fall.