The words Kava and Kratom are often used interchangeably among enthusiasts. While it helps activists talk about both the plants together, it can lead to confusion, making people think that both of these plants (Kava Kratom) are the same.
While they resemble each other in a few aspects, Kava and Kratom are different plants or herbs, with varying characteristics.
In this article, we’ll discuss the differences and similarities between the two to help you set them apart easily.
Before comparing Kava and Kratom, let’s talk about them separately.
What is Kava?
Kava is a plant that grows in the Pacific Islands and mostly sourced from Fiji into the US. While most people believe that the shrub gets its name from Latin, meaning pepper, it is, in fact, from Latinized Greek, meaning intoxicating.
In local terms, Kava means ‘bitter.’ The locals have different names for Kava, including ‘awa’ and ‘ava.’ In some parts of Vanuatu, the shrub is also called ‘malogu.’
Historically, Kava was grown in Hawaii, Tonga, Samoas, and Fiji. The shrub survives well in well-drained soils because the roots need to be aerated.
Plus, it thrives in regions with high rainfall and humidity of up to 100%. Being an understory crop, Kava does not do well in hot regions with direct sunlight. While the roots can go up to two feet, the stalks grow up to 6.6 feet.
Locals in the Pacific Islands have been propagating Kava for a very long time. One of the main reasons for this is the lack of sexual reproduction in Kava plants.
Even if a farmer manually puts pollen into the flower, reproduction does not take place. Thus, local growers propagate Kava using stem cuttings.
When the plant is about four years old, it is harvested. Farmers take so long to harvest Kava plant because the older it is, the more potent it will be.
Composition of Kava
Fresh Kava contains 80% water, but the final derivative from the plant has much lesser water content. The roots undergo a drying process, and the resulting water content is just 12%.
Besides, the roots contain 3.6% protein and 15% kavalactones, which are the main substances present in the root. Apart from these constituents, the plant also has carbs and fiber.
What are Kavalactones?
Kava plants are distinctive and popular because of their kavalactone concentration. Typically, the kavalactone level decreases as you move from the root to the top of the plant.
Up to 15% of kavalactones have been found in the root, while the stems have 5% or lesser compound concentration.
The geographic location and duration of growth determine the concentration of kavalactones in a Kava plant. In some cases, the weather changes in a particular season might affect the final yield too.
That’s why growers harvest the plant so late in its lifetime. When the shrubs are four years old, the kavalactone concentration peaks, making the plant ready for harvest.
What is Kratom?
Kratom is a plant-like tree in Southeast Asia, native to Southeast Asia, like Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia. The most interesting part of this evergreen tropical tree is its leaves that form the Kratom herb upon crushing.
The leaves can be quite large, ranging up to 20 cm in length and 12cm in width. The tree also flowers, producing a calyx with five lobes at the branches’ ends.
The similarities and differences of Kava and Kratom are discussed in detail below:
What Are the Similarities?
The main similarity between Kava and Kratom is that they both come from plants. However, Kava comes from the roots, while Kratom is a leaf derivative.
What Are the Differences?
As mentioned above, both compounds come from different parts of their respective plants. Apart from this, there are a few other differences between the two.
Kava’s origin is in the Western Pacific, while Kratom’s native region is Southeast Asia. Moreover, Kava is from the pepper family, while Kratom belongs to the coffee family.
Final Words: Which Is Better?
It would be unfair to compare Kava and Kratom as they are two different plants with their unique characteristics. More importantly, manufacturers and farmers from their respective origin countries grow the plants with utmost care and attention.
So, you cannot choose a winner, although you can definitely pick a personal favorite.
At the end of the day, it’s not the characteristics of the plants that matter but their quality. If you buy Kratom or Kava from trusted suppliers and reliable sellers, you’ll never get an expired or stale batch of Kava or Kratom.
To learn more about this unique herb, you can follow our updated Kratom blog.