Where is kratom grown?
Discover where the kratom tree grows.
Kratom, known by its scientific name as Mitragyna speciosa Korthals, is a tropical evergreen tree in the Rubiaceae family from South East Asia and is native to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. It is widely grown in the central and southern regions of Thailand, it is rarely grown in northern Thailand. Other members of the Rubiaceae family include coffee and gardenia.
Kratom was first introduced to western literature in the early 19th century when described by Pieter Willem Korthals, a Dutch colonial botanist who worked with the East India Company. Korthals thought the shape of the plant resembled a bishops miter (headdress), thus naming it Mitragyna in 1839. Korthals is revered in the botanical world. German-Dutch botanist Carl Ludwig Blume named the botanical genus Korthalsia (from the family Arecaceae) after Korthals. French botanist Philippe Edouard Leo Van Tieghem introduced the genus name Korthalsella (from the family Santalaceae) in his honor. And, a species of orchid called bulbophyllum korthalsii is named after Korthals.
There are three main types of kratom trees. They are the White Vein, Red Vein, and Green Vein. While leaves are primarily green, the White Vein kratom trees leaves are unique in color as beige or white. The kratom tree can grow to a height of 50 feet tall (15 meters), with a spread of 15 feet wide (4 meters). Its leaves are a dark glossy green and it produces clusters of yellow flowers at the ends of the branches. While leaves are constantly being shed and replaced with new growth, the does tend to follow some seasonal shedding due to environmental conditions. During the dry season of the year leaf fall is more abundant. It has been documented that the leaves of Mitragyna speciosa are most potent in the late autumn, just before the leaves fall off. During the rainy season, new leaf growth is plentiful. When the kratom tree is grown outside its natural tropical habitat, leaf fall will occur with colder temperatures, around 39 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius). The tree is extremely sensitive to frost and drought, and needs fertile, nitrogen-rich soil to grow effectively. Sustainable Forest Management of kratom is encouraged to maintain a healthy eco-friendly rainforest. It is possible to be grown from seeds, however its important the seeds are fresh.
Kratom contains many alkaloids, some of which are thought to play a beneficial role on the immune system and lower blood pressure. It also contains epicatechin, a powerful antioxidant found in dark chocolate and is closely related to EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), which provides green tea with its beneficial effects. Three extracts from kratom, mitagynine, catechin and rhamnose, are used in high-end cosmetics as well. The properties from these ingredients are known to promote healthy skin and hair. The active alkaloid mitagynine, is known to prevent cell damage and help fight free radicals.