In this article, we will get to learn about the brief history of Kratom. Before we proceed, let us understand what is Kratom in a little detail.
Mitragyna Speciosa is the scientific name for Kratom.
Kratom belongs to the coffee family (Rubiaceae), a tropical evergreen tree that is native to Southeast Asia. Also, in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. The trees are known to flourish in most tropical landscapes.
In the early 19th century, Kratom is one of the traditional medicine which used to relieve the symptoms of pain. People used to chew the leaves for centuries in South East Asia. Because of that reason, there is not a lot of recorded history before the Dutch made their way into Malaysia.
The Discovery of Kratom
Pieter Willen Korthals mentioned about Kratom for the first time in the Western literature. He was in the East India Company and had seen people chewing the leaves.
Later, Kratom is a cheaper alternative to opium in the literature. Opium was quite popular in Thailand and Malaysia during the 19th century. Because of this reason, it was taxed more by the state. As opium was not accessible to people who could not afford it, people resorted to kratom leaves in Southeast Asia.
People who have to engage in hard labor, monotonous in nature, they used to find Kratom beneficial for relieving pain symptoms. They would also brew it in the form of teas for relaxation.
Since then, Thailand and Malaysia have banned Kratom, because of which manufacturers get their plants from Indonesia.
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Before westerners made their way into Southeast Asia, Kratom has had a long history of use by the natives. As discussed earlier, Kratom used to be a popular substitute for opium that people used to deal with chronic pain symptoms. However, people also liked using Kratom for various other reasons.
Kratom is also known to help deal with fatigue, enhance sexual desire, and increase appetite. People thought that chewing the leaves is the best way of using Kratom.
People would also place the plant extracts on wounds as it could help heal them in the form of a topical anesthetic.
Some people also used it for upset stomachs and coughs, while others reported it to be useful for treating stomach bugs and diarrhea.
In Thailand, people used the leaves for ancestor worship as a part of a ritual. Kratom leaves are always incorporated and combined with something sweet. It would act as a snack that people consumed before the ritual began.
However, many of us would not know anything about the history of this plant. Kratom has come into the limelight in North America very recently, but it has a very elaborate past in other parts of the world.
Kratom’s Use for Drug Addiction Treatment
As mentioned earlier, people in the West were not aware of Kratom until the early 19th century. Pieter Korthals, a botanist, working with the East India Company, was the one to classify this plant. Kratom went through a few name changes, after which it received the name Mitragyna Speciosa in the year 1859.
In the year 1836, people discovered that Kratom could form an opium substitute. With this information, people tried to use it to treat drug addiction. It was used primarily in the kind of an opium detox for addicted individuals.
Kratom – Into the Mainstream
In the year 1907, L. Wray thought that he would try to use Kratom in the form of a herbal alternative in the Western world and the United Kingdom. There are samples sent to a colleague researcher at the University of Edinburgh, who made it possible to isolate the strains in order to use them medicinally.
By the year 1921, few psychoactive strains are single out. I.H. Burkill was the one who mentioned that the plant could help relieve the symptoms related to stomach issues, like diarrhea.
People living in Southeast Asia already knew this fact. However, the Westerners took some time to catch up.
The Thai government banned kratom use and sale in the year 1943. It is mainly because the opium sales were impacting because of kratom use. Because of this reason, Kratom categorizes as cocaine and heroin.
Modern Use of Kratom
Nowadays, Kratom is not just a traditional medicine that can be found and use in Southeast Asia but also in the United States and other parts of the world. In the US alone, the estimated user of Kratom to be around 3 to 5 million people. However, in several countries, the plant is prohibited, including Malaysia and Thailand. However, it is still legal in Indonesia.
Of course, it is unlikely for anyone not to have heard about this magical yet controversial plant. Millions of people have been benefited from the effects of Kratom as compared to prescription drugs in the market. It is easy to dry the leaves of this plant and turn them into powders or pills for relieving symptoms related to pain. However, In the United States, there is much controversy around the plant and its effects. Few states have made Kratom legal. However, it is still not fully legally used in other parts of the states. Therefore, before using Kratom, make sure to check the legality of the plant in the state’s and country’s laws.