Strains of Kratom
Kratom, the herbal supplement with origins in Southeast Asia, has gained popularity worldwide for its purported benefits. However, a common misconception prevails among users and enthusiasts that there are multiple strains of kratom, each with distinct properties and effects. In this article, we will explore the botanical truth behind kratom and clarify that there is, in fact, only one strain of kratom – Mitragyna speciosa.
The Botanical Basis
Kratom, scientifically known as Mitragyna speciosa, is a tropical evergreen tree native to countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea. The plant belongs to the Rubiaceae family, which also includes coffee plants. Mitragyna speciosa is the sole species within the Mitragyna genus, making it unique and the only kratom strain in existence.
Leaf Color and Alkaloid Variations
Contrary to popular belief, the alleged “strains” of kratom, such as red vein, green vein, and white vein kratom, are not indicative of different strains but rather descriptive of the color of the leaf veins. The veins’ color results from the varying levels of specific alkaloids found in the leaves.
Mitragyna speciosa leaves contain over 52 (depending on who you ask) different alkaloids, with two primary ones: mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. These alkaloids are responsible for the effects associated with kratom consumption. The levels of these alkaloids can differ depending on several factors, including the plant’s age, climate, soil conditions, and the time of harvest. Thus, the variance in leaf color and alkaloid content contributes to the perceived differences in effects among kratom products.
Regional Naming Conventions
Another factor contributing to the misconception of multiple kratom strains is the regional naming conventions. Some vendors label their products based on the region from which the kratom is sourced, such as Bali, Borneo, Maeng Da, or Thai kratom. These names are not indicative of unique strains but rather indicate the origin of the leaves.
It is essential to recognize that the naming of kratom products based on regions is primarily a marketing strategy and does not reflect distinct botanical strains. The properties and effects of kratom may vary subtly depending on its origin, but they all stem from the same Mitragyna speciosa plant.
Consistency and Variability
Given that all kratom products originate from the same plant, it is important for users to understand that the effects can vary even within a single “strain.” Factors such as the processing method, drying techniques, and individual biochemistry play a significant role in the experience one may have with kratom.