The kratom leaf, or Mitragyna speciosa, is a relatively new herbal supplement in the United States. Although kratom research is still lacking, recent studies have provided a better understanding of the kratom leaf and its components. Some research has challenged kratom myths and misinformation, which has re-shaped perspectives on the herb.
How much do you know about Mitragyna speciosa leaves and kratom leaf tea? Here are 10 interesting facts about kratom leaves you might not know.
1. Kratom Is Not FDA-Approved
First and foremost, in the US, kratom is sold as an unregulated botanical in most states (kratom is illegal in six states). Although kratom consumer surveys indicate that people consume kratom for health purposes, research on kratom is lacking and the FDA does not approve of kratom for any medicinal or health purposes, stating the following:
Kratom does not have an approved medical use in the United States and has not been studied as a treatment agent in the United States. Kratom has a history of being used as an opium substitute in Southeast Asia. In the United States, kratom is misused to self-treat chronic pain and opioid withdrawal symptoms. (FDA, Federal Register –July 23, 2021)
Places that sell kratom have to follow FDA guidelines for unregulated herbs, which are more rigorous than for other substances. The FDA has issued letters of warning to vendors that sell kratom as dietary supplements and make health claims about kratom. Because kratom is unregulated, some adulterated kratom products have been sold on the market and have caused adverse health effects.
The American Kratom Association (AKA) supports the FDA to develop regulations that would ensure the safety and purity of kratom products and welcomes the FDA to develop labeling guidelines for kratom products. Additionally, the AKA supports age restrictions for buying kratom, as well as child-resistant packaging requirements.
As kratom is still not yet regulated by the FDA, the AKA developed a good manufacturing practices (GMP) standards program to decrease contamination/adulteration of kratom products. The AKA also pushes for states to help regulate kratom products by passing legislation that aligns with the Kratom Consumer Protection Act (KCPA).
2. There Are Different Forms of Kratom Leaf Products
You can buy kratom leaf products in several different forms. Here are the main types of kratom supplements for sale in the US:
- Powdered Kratom: Kratom powder consists of crushed kratom leaves that have been dried in either fluorescent or incandescent light (or sunlight). Kratom powder is often used in kratom leaf tea.
- Kratom Capsules: Powdered kratom is placed in capsules for easier consumption and set serving sizes, like other herbal capsules.
- Kratom Extract Liquid: There are four different types of kratom extract liquid, kratom resin, kratom shots, kratom tinctures, and liquid kratom extract. Sometimes vendors use these terms interchangeably, but there are slight differences in the methods used to extract concentrated kratom alkaloids from Mitragyna speciosa leaves.
- Kratom Extract Powder: Kratom extract powder is more concentrated than regular kratom powder. You can buy kratom extract capsules as well which contain concentrated kratom powder.
- Raw Kratom Leaves: Some vendors offer fresh kratom leaves for sale. They pick the raw kratom leaf, vacuum seal it, and ship it to you.
The most popular type of kratom is powdered kratom, which has a longer shelf life than kratom leaves—especially if you buy kratom bulk in powdered form.
4. Kratom Leaf Vein Colors Are Misunderstood
Most kratom enthusiasts can name a few different kratom strains, as well as different “kratom vein colors.” Red kratom, green kratom, white kratom, and gold kratom are well-known kratom vein colors. There are many myths about kratom strains and colors, due to the combination of lacking kratom research and misinformation from kratom forums, kratom vendors, and kratom news articles.
As explained by kratom researcher Dr. Chris McCurdy (see his Reddit post here), kratom strains don’t come from genetic differences in kratom plants. Rather, the differences between kratom strains most likely come from the different commercial drying methods of kratom leaves that produce different alkaloid profiles. The same kratom trees can have both white veined kratom leaves and red-veined kratom leaves, but this doesn’t seem to have much of an effect on kratom’s alkaloids.
Interestingly, certain alkaloids in kratom, such as 7-hydroxymitragynine, have not been found in raw kratom leaves, according to research from the University of Florida. According to Dr. Chris McCurdy, the prevalence of the alkaloid is the result of post-harvesting processes, which he thinks could produce oxidation.
So, what does that mean for some of the most popular kratom strains—such as the following?:
- White Vein Maeng Da Kratom
- Green Vein Maeng Da Kratom
- Red Vein Bali Kratom
- White Vein Borneo Kratom
- Gold Vein Bali Kratom
Well, more research is needed regarding how the post-harvest processes affect the alkaloids of kratom leaves. Until then, it’s better to focus on buying lab-tested kratom than looking for your favorite kratom strain name.
5. Kratom Research Is Limited but Growing
Although kratom has suffered (and still suffers from) a lack of scientific research, more studies on the kratom leaf and its popularity are being conducted in recent years. When it comes to kratom regulation and legality, the most pressing need is for clinical kratom studies. This, however, can be difficult to achieve.
Here are some of the most recent kratom research initiatives in the US and in the world:
- Sam Houston State University received $147,161 supplemental funding from the US Department of Justice to study Improved Detection of Kratom Alkaloids in Forensic Toxicology (2019)
- University of Florida College of Pharmacy receives $3.5 million NIDA grant for kratom research (2018)
- Principal researchers are Lance McMahon, Ph.D., a professor and chair of the college’s department of pharmacodynamics, and Chris McCurdy, Ph.D., a professor of medicinal chemistry in the college
- University of Florida College of Pharmacy receives another $3.4 million kratom grant from NIDA (2019).
- The first NIDA-funded study examined kratom’s alkaloids individually. This 2019 grant evaluates kratom’s alkaloids together to study kratom’s alkaloid profile as a whole.
Where to Buy the Best Kratom Leaves
Here at Buy Bulk Kratom USA, we offer wholesale kratom for sale as well as smaller quantities of kratom powder and kratom capsules. All of our kratom is sourced directly from Indonesia, and the farmers there are our direct business partners, and the kratom you get is a result of the cross-continental collaboration between different cultures and talents.
We lab-test each batch to assure the purity of our kratom for sale. We offer a variety of completely natural and ethically sourced kratom leaves that have no filler ingredients or additives. All of our products go through many quality checks, and we do this to make sure that our customers always leave highly satisfied.