Kratom: From Health Benefits to Side Effects, Everything about the Controversial Supplement
Kratom leaves (Photo Credits: Wiki Common)

Kratom is the new buzzword in the health world and has left most people wondering what on earth it is exactly! Allow us to educate you. Kratom, scientifically known as Mitragyna Speciosa is a tree in the coffee family, native to Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea, and South Asia that has recently been started to be used as supplements. The Kratom leaves or its extracts have been used as a stimulant and a sedative by people and are available in capsules. It is being taken in the form of Kratom supplements as it is believed to help treat chronic pain, digestive ailments, and withdraw from opium dependence. Kratom has also gathered some controversies recently for the authenticity of its health claims and its side-effects that reportedly out-weighed its health benefits. While they are being used only for medicinal purpose, the leaves, or extracts from the leaves, have been used as a stimulant and a sedative.

Health effects of Kratom

Kratom if taken in stipulated dose has been known to have positive effects on health. However, its side-effects have also garnered quite a lot of attention. According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), a small dose that produces stimulant effects within 10 minutes after ingesting and its effects can last up to 1 1/2 hours. Owing to the magnitude of these effects, the use of these supplements have just been allowed on prescription.

Here are some of the effects of Kratom:

  • alertness
  • sociability
  • giddiness
  • reduced motor coordination
  • sedative effects
  • feelings of calmness and euphoria in larger doses

Kratom Controversies

The major problem with Kratom is that it hasn’t been studied in-depth, so it hasn’t officially been recommended for medical use. More thorough studies are required for Kratom to be prescribed by medical practitioners. More research is required to identify its harmful effects, interactions with other drugs and the correct dosage. Kratom if not taken in the right amount, has the potential to do harm to the body. Kratom contains almost as many alkaloids as opium and hallucinogenic mushrooms. People who have taken kratom have experienced nausea, itching, and constipation and even hallucinations and psychosis according to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

However, there haven’t been enough clinical trials to help understand the health effects of kratom, and therefore people should refrain from using as it also hasn’t been approved for medical use. Kratom is also known to interact with amphetamines to raise his blood pressure or caused direct neurotoxicity and produced PRES.