What are Kratom Leaves?
Native to Southeast Asia, kratom is a tropical deciduous tree that is widely used throughout the region for medicinal purposes. The scientific name of this evergreen tree is Mitragyna speciosa, and it has had a very interesting history, including being banned in Thailand (despite being indigenous there), as it was a natural substitute for opium, thereby affecting the economy of the country. It does have many morphine-like effects, but that isn’t where the benefit of kratom leaves end. Also, there is no addictive quality of kratom leaves, which is very valuable, given some of its long-term applications for human health.
The majority of the health benefits of kratom leaves are derived from the unique chemical compounds and nutrients found within the leaves of the plant, including a wide range of alkaloids and other organic substances that affect many of the organ systems of the human body. The plant’s leaves are widely chewed in countries where the tree grows naturally, and some high estimates suggest that up to 70% of the male population of Thailand chew anywhere from 10-60 leaves each day. The calming, soothing effects, as well as the undeniable health benefits of the leaves, are clearly positive in nature, which is what causes such a controversy. Essentially, kratom leaves are a substitute for opium, a highly addictive and dangerous drug, yet these leaves are seen as perfectly harmless, as regular as having a snack between meals.
Health Benefits of Kratom Leaves
Let’s take a closer look at some of the fascinating health benefits of kratom leaves.
One of the most obvious and widely known effects of kratom leaves is pain relief. Since the leaves were first introduced to their indigenous cultures, this has been a primary use, as the analgesic properties of the alkaloids and nutrients of the leaves can quickly relieve pain throughout the body by impacting the hormonal system. By increasing the amount of serotonin and dopamine that is released into the body, pain can be alleviated (or masked) by chewing on kratom leaves. Essentially, the alkaloids dull the pain receptors throughout the body. This morphine or opium-like quality of kratom leaves is widely regarded as its most important application.
Immune System Booster
Independent studies on the various alkaloids found in kratom leaves have shown that the combinative effects can have major effects on the strength and resilience of the immune system. While this research is still being qualified and checked, traditional and anecdotal beliefs about kratom leaves show that it can reduce the severity of illnesses or prevent illness altogether.
The metabolic effects that kratom has are one of the other reasons that the leaves are so popular, particularly with laborers in various countries. It can increase your energy levels by optimizing certain metabolic processes and impacting hormone levels. This is a result of increased circulation, despite its soothing nature, and a general increase in oxygenated blood to areas of the body that needs it, combining with increased metabolic activities to provide a burst of energy. For sufferers of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, kratom leaves are often an alternative, natural solution.
Kratom is seen by many traditional practitioners and users as an aphrodisiac and a fertility booster, as the extra energy and blood flow can help increase fertility, re-energize a tired libido, and improve duration/conception rates.
As you can probably imagine, any substance that is able to relieve pain and cause opium-like effects on the body will also likely have an impact on the mental stability and tone of an individual. Kratom leaves are widely used as anxiolytic substances for people who suffer from chronic stress, depression, anxiety, and mood swings. By regulating the hormones in our body, people can finally get relief from these exhausting symptoms of chemical imbalance without having to rely on pharmaceuticals and all of the implicit side effects of those drugs.
Due to the inherently healthy nature of kratom leaves, in combination with their range of effects, they have been used as a method of curing addiction for hundreds of years. In many cultures, opium addiction is a major issue, but regularly chewing on kratom leaves provides a similar sensation without the comedowns and negative side effects. Therefore, when people are attempting to “get clean” and stay that way, they often turn to kratom leaves as a tolerable solution, thereby making these leaves very valuable in many parts of the world. This also helps to cover withdrawal symptoms during the transition away from that more intense drug.
Studies have connected the use of kratom leaves to a distinct drop in blood pressure. As the leaves and their chemical components impact the body’s hormones, they also reduce inflammation throughout the body, including the blood vessels and arteries. By relieving that tension in the cardiovascular system, kratom leaves are able to help prevent more serious heart conditions, such as atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes.
One of the lesser known benefits of kratom leaves is their effect on blood sugar levels. Limited research has shown that the alkaloids found in the leaves are able to help regulate the amount of insulin and glucose in the blood, effectively preventing the dangerous peaks and troughs that diabetics face. This can not only help diabetics manage their disorder, but also prevent it from developing in the first place.
Word of Caution: Although there is no known danger, provided that the recommended amount is taken, some people do experience certain side effects, such as fatigue, nausea, and constipation. This is usually the initial encounter response and gradually, your body does acclimate to the sensation. Others claim a “kratom hangover”, which includes headaches or nausea in the morning after use. This is something you can determine for yourself, based on your particular sensitivities.