What’s the History of Kratom?

For all the modern world’s professed knowledge of botany and medicine, there are probably millions of plant species that have potential in medicine yet humanity has forgotten as we have modernised. Our ancestors once knew their way around their forests and land, and used different leaves or berries for a host of medical and nutritional purposes. If you have a problem with cramps, eat a banana and the high potassium content will stop the spasms in many cases. Anecdote has it that coffee was discovered when a goat herder saw his flock getting frisky when nibbling some cherries.

What about the kratom tree? It has been used for opiate addiction, as an anti-inflammatory, something that stops intestinal problems (namely, the shits), and an alternative to coffee for a lift in the morning.


The South East Asian bush Mitragyna speciosa (commonly known as kratom) is one of those bushes that modern man has forgotten as the West ‘civilized’ indigenous peoples around the globe. In the somewhat snobbish belief that the ‘natives knew nothing’ we rampaged across their lands and exploited them and their lands for what we held value in (such as the mahogany forests of Myanmar). In attacking those who lived there so we attacked their knowledge and in doing so may have done humanity a disservice.

In recently years, the herb has become increasingly popular in both North America and Europe, it you can find kratom for sale on many internet web sites.

Opiate medications are a founding stone of modern medicine. They are the ultimate painkiller of choice for everything from cancer to bullet wounds and even headaches. They are also extremely addictive. It is often the family doctor that gets someone hooked on opiates, not the street dealer in an alley. Kratom however has extremely good painkilling and anti-inflammatory effects yet has nowhere near the potential of abuse that opiates do.

Stoned off your face on morphine or Vicodin, you aren’t much use to man or beast. A kratom preparation is a stimulant. You can be almost pain free yet capable of working as hard as any colleague in your office who’s full of caffeine. Kratom was used by manual labourers in the jungles of SE Asia for centuries as a pick me up while toiling in the heat.

A drug of abuse?

The default setting of the modern world’s ultra conservative government agencies is that if something is even remotely enjoyable then it must be a ‘drug of abuse’. The DEA has somewhat knee-jerkingly labelled kratom as a ‘Drug of Concern’ despite knowing very little about its potential in medicine. Modern scientists have only been looking at it for the last 5-10 years and keep on making discoveries that could change the face of medicine. What of a leaf that when chewed could help someone get off their pain pill addiction? A poultice for a wound? A cream to stop muscle inflammation? Yet the DEA seem to ignore all the good stuff and fixate on the fact that it has a rather enjoyable buzz. One wonders what would happen if their bureaucrats suddenly realised that people wasted on morphine weren’t just pain free but were buzzed off their nuts.


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