Do you ever wonder where your kratom comes from? What is the source of this beautiful naturally occurring herb and how is it obtained from that source? In this blog we will tell you in detail about different aspects of the kratom tree, that is scientifically named as Mitragyna Speciosa. So that the next time you buy kratom, you know a bit of history about it too.
Mitragyna Speciosa – A Bit of History
Kratom is a fascinating botanical herb that has gained unprecedented popularity in the US and across the world in the last two decades or so. Known for its characteristic properties due to the presence of many alkaloids in its molecular structure, the kratom has millions of dedicated fans across the country. Kratom is sourced only from the Southeast Asian region. This region of the world is famous for its bustling flora and fauna. Thanks to the local climatic conditions that are just about perfect for the thick forests to grow and spread across the vast swathes of lands having nutrient-rich soil. The soil of this whole region is especially good for the growth and nourishment of all types of flora. Whether it is palm trees, bamboo trees, or Mitragyna Speciosa trees, Southeast Asia has lots of greenery and a friendly environment for the growth of dense forests. One such tree that benefits from this rich soil and perfect climatic conditions is Mitragyna Speciosa. This specific tree is desirable around the world just because of its leaves. Why? We’ll discuss it a little bit later in the article.
Where is Mitragyna Speciosa Found?
Mitragyna Speciosa is found natively in the following countries of Southeast Asia:
- Papua New Guinea
The soil and climate of the region has a key role in helping the Mitragyna Speciosa trees to give out their best leaves. Attempts to grow this tree elsewhere in the world have not been quite successful on a commercial scale. Privately it can be grown in the gardens and medium-sized pots.
Discovery of Mitragyna Speciosa Tree
The local population of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and nearby countries had good knowledge about the Mitragyna Speciosa tree as they had been growing and caring for it since times unknown. However, to the westerners, the tree remained unknown up until the first half of the 19th century when a colonial Dutch botanist Pieter Korthals visited the region and made a series of observations regarding the tree. He also brought some of its samples back to Europe. Thereafter, for at least till 20 years, nobody talked about it and the tree remained away from the attention of the Westerners. That is, until, the English naturalist Dr Haviland visited the same region and made a series of elaborate observations regarding the Mitragyna Speciosa tree. He is also credited with giving the tree its present name that is “Mitragyna Speciosa”.
Not only the species, Dr Haviland made astute observations regarding the different subspecies of Mitragyna Speciosa. He also collected samples of the tree and took some back to England where he published his papers regarding Mitragyna Speciosa and other plants of Southeast Asia.
Since that time, for the next about two centuries, the world largely forgot about Mitragyna Speciosa. It was not until the end of the Vietnam war that, when the soldiers started coming back home, they brought with them an intriguing powder that they called kratom. This was obtained from Mitragyna Speciosa and over a period of a few years, it gradually but surely became more and more famous.
Classification and Physical Appearance of Mitragyna Speciosa
The Mitragyna Speciosa is a tall tree (up to 25 meters) that stays green throughout the year. It resembles closely to the coffee tree and belongs to the same family. It has a thick bark that is designed by nature to support the heavy canopy above once the tree is fully grown over the years. Biologically, it belongs to the family of Rubiaceae and its species is Mitragyna. As far as the subspecies of Mitragyna Speciosa are concerned, there are many. Most of them are found in different islands spread all across the regions.
How Kratom is Obtained from Mitragyna Speciosa?
The only reason for the widespread popularity of Mitragyna Speciosa is that it is used to obtain kratom. The procedure of extracting the kratom from its leaves is simple in theory but rather difficult to perform in reality. This is because there are many intricacies involved throughout the process that only the expert native farmers can take care of. The long process of obtaining kratom starts from planting and raising the Mitragyna Speciosa trees. Once the trees are grown up and reach their optimal age, their leaves are harvested.
There are multiple factors that are involved in deciding which leaves are to be harvested. The leaves are primarily categorized based on the color of the central veins that run through them. This vein color indicates the level of alkaloids concentration within their molecular structure. As a rule-of-thumb, the following criterion is referred to while finding out the alkaloid profile of the leaves of different types of kratom:
Green Veined Kratom Leaves
These Mitragyna Speciosa leaves are the youngest and hold the least amount of alkaloids in them. They have a characteristic green colored vein running down their spine. Green vein kratom products are usually more preferred by the new kratom enthusiasts. However, having said that, it is just a matter of personal choice.
White Veined Kratom Leaves
As the Mitragyna Speciosa leaves mature, the central vein in them transforms from green to white. This is indicative of the fact that now the alkaloid concentrations in the kratom leaves are increasing. However, the alkaloid profile of these white veined leaves has still not reached its maximum capacity.
Red Veined Kratom Leaves
The Red veined Mitragyna Speiocsa leaves are the ones with a red-colored vein passing through them. These leaves are the oldest, most mature kratom leaves that have the most impressive alkaloid profile. The red colored Mitragyna Speciosa leaves are used to manufacture many of the kratom products that are sold around the year. This kratom variety is more famous among the experienced kratom enthusiasts. It doesn’t mean the newbies don’t rever it. It is again just a matter of personal choice. Some kratom enthusiasts prefer green, some prefer white while most of the kratom connoisseurs prefer getting red colored Mitragyna Speciosa variety.
Cultural Importance of Mitragyna Speciosa For the Locals
Both culturally and historically, Mitragyna Speciosa has remained at the central spot for the native population of the Southeast Asian countries. The tree is respected and revered for being able to give one of their most culturally important botanical herb that they call kratom besides many other names given to it. Kratom has had a very central place in all their religious as well as social celebrations before it became world-famous.
Composition of Mitragyna Speciosa Leaves
Short answer: Alkaloids. It is the presence of alkaloids that makes the kratom so desirable across the world. There are primarily two types of alkaloids that are found in the structure of the kratom leaves, Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. These two comprise the majority of the alkaloids by volume. However, some subspecies of Mitragyna Speciosa can have a total of up to 30 alkaloids in them.
The subspecies of Mitragyna Speciosa are many and they are found all over the thousands of islands of Southeast Asia. These subspecies are popularly known as kratom strains. These strains occur naturally and are ever so slightly different from each other. Most evidently from the leaves.
The shape, size, color, inner content, and alkaloid concentrations of one Mitragyna Speciosa leaf is different from the other. This is what makes things much more interesting. As a result of this natural variation in a single species, there are many kratom powders available to the kratom enthusiasts. All thanks to the process of Darwin’s natural variation and survival of the most suitable species in a specific setting.
Read here our article if you are wonder about what is kratom powder and its most favorite types.
What Kind of External Environment is Required by Mitragyna Speciosa
Like all plant species, Mitragyna Speciosa also needs a specific set of external environmental conditions to grow. First and foremost, it needs good nutritional soil for its root to go deep and bring the good stuff for its leaves. Secondly, it needs a hot and humid climate that is most suitable for it to flourish. Thanks to the wet and scorching climatic conditions of Southeast Asia, the Mitragyna Speciosa trees thrive in those conditions. Lastly, even though the Mitragyna Speciosa is found all across the region naturally, however, the best leaves are given by those trees that are regularly tended to and cared for. Regular trimming, watering, and protection from pests increase the quality and quantity of the kratom production considerably.
What are Some of the Most Famous Kratom Strains?
As discussed earlier, Mitragyna Speciosa has a number of subspecies. These subspecies are called kratom strains in the world of kratom. Here are some of the best kratom strains that are famous with the kratom enthusiasts:
- Asia Kratom
- Bali Kratom
- Borneo Kratom
- Elephant Kratom
- Horn Kratom
- Indo Kratom
- Maeng Da Kratom
- Malay Kratom
- Sumatra Kratom
- Vietnam Kratom
Out of all these kratom strains, probably the most interesting is Maeng Da Kratom.
Mitragyna Speciosa is a gift of nature to us. We now must protect this beautiful tree from over-harvesting and save it for the next generations. If you are looking to buy kratom obtained from the best quality Mitragyna Speciosa leaves then be sure to visit our kratom strains inventory. At Kratom-K, we have got the best quality kratom products at the best price.