“Kratom: Understanding the Plant’s Historical and Contemporary Significance”
March 11, 2023
Kratom, also known as Mitragyna speciosa, is a tropical evergreen tree that is native to Southeast Asia. For centuries, kratom has been used by indigenous populations for its medicinal properties, including pain relief, improved mood, and increased energy. Despite its long history of use, kratom has only recently gained popularity in the Western world. In this blog post, we will explore the history of kratom up to this point in time.
The first recorded use of kratom can be traced back to the 19th century, when Dutch botanist Pieter Korthals described the plant and its effects in his book “Materia Medica” (1839). At the time, kratom was primarily used by manual laborers in Southeast Asia as a means of improving their endurance and reducing fatigue.
In the early 20th century, kratom’s use began to spread beyond Southeast Asia, with reports of its use in countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. However, it wasn’t until the 1960s and 1970s that kratom began to gain popularity in the West. During this time, a number of articles and books were published about kratom and its effects, leading to increased interest in the plant.
In the 1990s, kratom began to be sold in head shops and online as a legal, unregulated dietary supplement. This led to increased use of the plant, particularly among individuals looking for an alternative to traditional pain medication.
In recent years, kratom has become increasingly controversial, with some governments and organizations calling for a ban on its use. The FDA has issued a number of warning letters and a public health advisory regarding the safety of kratom, citing concerns about its potential for abuse and serious side effects (FDA, 2019).
Despite the controversy, many individuals continue to use kratom for its medicinal properties, with some advocating for further research to be conducted to better understand the potential benefits and risks of the plant. However, it’s important to remember that kratom should be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional and that the long-term health effects of kratom are yet to be fully established.
In conclusion, kratom has a long history of use in Southeast Asia, but it has only recently gained popularity in the Western world. While kratom has been used for centuries as a natural remedy, its safety and efficacy are still being debated and more research is needed to fully understand the effects of this plant.
Korthals, P. (1839). Materia Medica.