Kratom: The Basics

Kratom refers to a type of tropical tree native to certain regions in Southeast Asia, Africa, and off the coast of Australia. The word kratom may refer to the tree, but if you hear about it in everyday conversation, kratom is more likely to refer to the extracts and preparation of it.

The tree is a part of the evergreen and coffee plant family, and it’s been used as both a stimulant and pain reliever in the regions in which it grows and around the world. In some cultures, it’s used in ceremonial or traditional rites of passage. The active ingredient of kratom is found within its leaves and known as mitragynine. Mitragynine is not an opioid, but it does share certain opioid characteristics, such as pain relief and mood-boosting capabilities. (A dry kratom leaf has about 2% of this compound.) Today, consumers around the world take kratom capsules, kratom powder, and kratom tablets.

The botanical products of kratom have received attention in the past few years due to their perceived benefits. Some people use it to give them energy throughout the day. Some have used it to combat the symptoms of opioid withdrawal. Others have even used it in place of opioids as a less dangerous way to relieve pain. Kratom has been the subject of some controversy in the public eye, particularly in certain states. We’ll take you through the types of kratom, the history of the plant, and its future.

Types of Kratom

Kratom has several strains or types, each of which has its own unique set of characteristics. Like most plants, kratom strains can occur naturally or artificially. Kratom breeders may cross certain species to create and test a new kind of kratom. This is normally done with a specific purpose in mind, such as creating a breed that will produce a higher yield in its infancy or one that produces a certain aroma or effect. While specific strains are meant to create a type of uniformity for kratom, it’s worth noting that even the same strain can vary from supplier to supplier. Kratom types are given all kinds of exotic names, such as green malay kratom, red dragon kratom, and red thai kratom, but they’re all variations on a few key types of kratom. We’ll take you through the basics so you know the foundation of each type.

Bali Kratom

This form of kratom was named after the island where it’s known to be found (whether it originated from the famous island or not), and it has a reputation for being one of the purest breeds on the market today. In fact, it’s often used as the standard for kratom and used to compare and contrast other available species. It’s thought to relieve pain and restore energy. Advocates report that Bali kratom is one of the more reliable species on the market today. The tried-and-true consistency of this particular breed can be encouraging for those who want to know exactly what they’re getting when purchasing kratom.

Bali Kratom comes in a number of different varieties:

  • Red Bali kratom: This strain grows quickly and has a high yield, making it one of the more readily available types of kratom. Red bali kratom is also thought to be high in alkaloids, meaning red kratom is thought to be one of the more potent strains available.
  • White Bali kratom: White bali is known to be a more mild version of Bali kratom. The more subdued effects make it a popular choice for those who want more energy without feeling overwhelmed.
  • Gold Bali kratom: Gold bali kratom is actually made from red bali kratom. The key difference is that it goes through a different drying process to adjust the number of active alkaloids. The drying process not only changes the color of the kratom, but it also increases its potency.
  • Green Bali: This type of Bali kratom actually comes from the regions of Borneo and Sumatra. It’s thought to both a pain reliever and energy booster properties.

Maeng Da Kratom

Maeng da kratom was developed as a type of kratom tree that could withstand the intense heat where it’s grown. The name comes from a hybrid version of kratom found in Thailand and was named because it was thought to have more alkaloids in it than other strains.

Prior to becoming well known in the Western countries, kratom was mainly used by day laborers. Maeng da kratom was developed as a way to increase the plant’s universal appeal by theoretically creating a consistent remedy that would prove to be the best kratom for energy. Of course, maeng da kratom has precious little research attached to it, meaning this award is still very much up for grabs. Kratom has been confirmed to contain both stimulant and sedative components, however, there are no standard analytical screening procedures for its main ingredient.

Maeng da kratom was conceived of after vendors searched through a variety of wild kratom plants to find the ones that they believed would blend energy and pain relief together. If you believe the increase in demand the vendors saw for the products, you might conclude that their efforts worked.

Like Bali kratom, the individual effects of maeng da kratom are determined by the chemical composition of the strain of the kratom and the region in which it's grown. However, it also depends on how exactly it’s dried. If you read some of the claims given by people, it’s easy to see why this strain is also a popular one.

When it comes to purchasing maeng da kratom strains, you need to keep in mind both the vein color and the reputability of the provider. If you’ve heard about the negative information regarding kratom, you’ll find that the adverse effects were caused by kratom that was adulterated with other compounds, as opposed to pure kratom in its natural forms. Knowing what you’re getting into, especially when this market is largely unregulated, is crucial to your health and well-being.

Red Vein Maeng Da Kratom

Historically, red vein kratom has been used to help people focus and relieve pain, and it’s thought to have long-lasting effects. Some outlets will try to convince you that this red maeng da is the best kratom for pain and mood-boosting, though the evidence is not necessarily there to support this. Red vein maeng da kratom is thought to be both strong and fast in its effects. The kratom leaves from this strain are supposed to be more potent than its counterparts due to the longer (and more involved) drying process.

The effects of red kratom are thought to be stimulating, but without that jittery feeling that can come from other types of stimulants. If you’re looking for red dragon kratom, red thai kratom, or red borneo kratom, then red vein maeng da will be similar in terms of results. Its purportedly mild effects can be exactly what you’re looking for if you want to guard yourself against a more extreme reaction. The results have been known to differ between users, but kratom enthusiasts all seem to agree that red maeng da is a good place to start for those still testing the waters.

Red vein kratom is also thought to provide people with a focus component, which would explain why some people take red maeng da kratom when they need to concentrate on certain tasks throughout the day. If you’re looking for the best type of red vein for you, look for one with reliable benefits that will last as long as you need it to.

White Vein Maeng Da Kratom

White maeng da kratom is thought to give the user a burst of energy as well as a mood lift throughout the day. Some users report that they use it for high-stress jobs that require their full attention. Some outlets say that this is the best kratom for energy as opposed to the best kratom for pain, though others will say that the green vein maeng da kratom is every bit as effective for providing a person with a sharp burst of energy.

Some people are hesitant to try white maeng da because of the claims that white vein kratom may make a person overly jittery. While the exact effects for each person will depend on their individual body chemistry, the general consensus is that white vein is thought to be good at pulling people out of a lethargic state and giving them the strength to get more done. Both white vein and red vein kratom are believed to have higher alkaloid content levels than that of other strains, which may explain why they’re popular types of maeng da.

Green Vein Maeng Da Kratom

The green maeng da kratom is thought to have similar effects to red maeng da, but with more noticeable effects for the user. So if red maeng da is like having a green tea, green maeng da might be more similar to having a shot of espresso or a strong cup of coffee. Mood-boosting and energy are two of the purported main benefits of this kratom strain, with focus and pain relief following right behind.

Another benefit of the green kratom maeng da variety is that people don’t report feeling a crash after taking it. While kratom may originate from the coffee plant, its effects are not the same. Rather than feeling keyed up directly after taking it only to be thoroughly exhausted by the time it wears off, green maeng seems to give people a more even experience, so they’re less likely to have any negative effects.

Those who take green maeng will do so if they can’t afford to waste any time. However, much like you would switch to decaf by a certain point of the day, make sure you’re not taking kratom maeng da right before you need to rest.

Indo Kratom

Indo kratom hails from Indonesia, currently the largest exporter of the plant. The weather in Indonesia doesn’t just support one or two varieties of kratom, but a wide array of the many strains. These plants thrive under the humid conditions in the country, making it easy to cultivate and grow.

Like other examples on this list, Indo kratom will vary based on the colors of the veins, the season in which it’s grown, and the type of plant. It’s thought to provide relaxation, mood lifting, and pain relief without strong side effects like those sometimes felt in Bali kratom. The main reason people appear to take this is as a long-lasting pain reliever. Some users give credit specifically to red Borneo kratom as an effective pain reliever, though the evidence for this is mainly anecdotal.

One of the main differences of Indo kratom is thought to be its sedative effects. Unlike maeng da strains, which are thought to be effective for energy, Indo kratom is more famous for relaxing a person and for limiting distracting thoughts.

Other Types of Kratom

Kratom can be made in a variety of strains and taken in a variety of forms. There are a few things of note about each type.

Powder Kratom

The powder form of kratom begins as the dried leaves from the tree that are then broken into smaller particles. So it’s not a concentrated version of kratom, as some people may believe, but rather a slightly altered version of the whole plant. Kratom powder can then be made into kratom capsules for an easier way to consume the plant.

Kratom Extract

Kratom extract can actually be made from kratom powder, although some manufacturers will begin with the whole leaves. Extract can be made by boiling down the material to strip the alkalines from the plant. Once the solution is strained of the particulates, it’s condensed through water evaporation until you get a type of paste. From there, the paste is dried in clumps before grinding it down into fine powder.

The idea behind extract is that a person is getting the most concentrated version of kratom, meaning you’ll need less extract to get the same effects as powder. In some cases, you may need much less, depending on the ratio. If you find enhanced kratom, it essentially means that it’s gone through even more extensive processing, meaning it’s advertised as even more potent than extract form.

Yellow and Gold Vein Kratom

Yellow and gold vein kratom are named for the hue that the kratom takes on after its leaves have been dried. The coloring typically occurs after the leaves have matured, which essentially means that the effects are purported to be even milder than that of white vein.

A Brief History of Kratom

As mentioned, kratom was originally used to give laborers enough energy to make it through their day, but it has a long history of being used for a wide variety of purposes. In practically all of the regions in which it’s found, people made use of kratom in some way. Leaves might be chopped up, dried, made into tea, or chewed straight off the tree. If someone was dependent on morphine in Thailand, they might be given kratom to combat the withdrawal effects of the morphine.

Larger doses were given to stimulate pain relief while smaller doses were given to stimulate energy. Documentations of the natives using the plant date back to the 19th Century, but it’s clear it was being used long before that. Native used it in place of opioids, but they also used it for a variety of other conditions, including nausea and diabetes.

When it came to the cultivation of kratom leaf (e.g., white vein kratom, red maeng da kratom, yellow kratom, etc.) beyond the standard uses, the practice was not widely used prior to the plant gaining popularity around the world. In other words, the distinctions between the leaves, veins, and forms aren’t weren’t necessarily acknowledged by people in the native habitats of kratom. However, the types of kratom and its potential effects are now widely advertised in Western countries.

The Future of Kratom

Kratom types like red kratom, green malay kratom, and red borneo kratom have received some poor press as of late, leaving an uncertain future for kratom. The powers that be haven’t made it a priority to learn more about the realities of this plant, leaving an ever-shifting landscape when it comes to the legalities kratom. world is attempting to adapt to this new plant, meaning that the legislation on kratom is constantly shifting.

The lack of regulations and general understanding of the plant have led to some rather unpleasant stories in the news, giving kratom its controversial status. Many of the names given to kratom were marketing terms only, or laced with harmful substances to enhance the plant’s effects. The general confusion and lack of research has led to some states banning the substance outright.

Despite this, some states have legalized kratom and some scientists are dedicating themselves to the research of this long-used plant. Regardless of what happens in Western countries, it remains legal for the native people who have used it long before it became widely available anywhere else.

Wrapping It Up

If you’re interested in learning more about this exceptionally diverse plant, there’s plenty of claims to read and strains to peruse. Whether you’re looking for red borneo kratom or yellow kratom though, just remember that not all sites are the same. The research on kratom is still scant, and thus difficult to make strong conclusions one way or the other. What we do know though is that this kratom has been safely used by native people for hundreds of years for a wide variety of ailments. As the natural version of the plant is being introduced around the world, more and more people are finding that they too can benefit from kratom when taken responsibly.