Kratom is a tropical tree native to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. The leaves from this tropical tree have been used for medicinal purposes due to its morphine-like effects. The majority of the health benefits of kratom 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 organs of the human body. Mitragynine, the primary active alkaloid in kratom, is associated with being responsible for its opioid-like effects.
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 would chew anywhere from 10-60 leaves each day. It is sold as leaves, powder, extract, capsule, pellet, or gum, and it can be smoked, chewed or consumed as a tea.