For millennia, human beings have used botanical supplements to improve their health. Being all-natural and organic, these substances guarantee a more holistic approach to health and are free from side effects with little to no risk of addiction. Depending on the climate and availability, each region has its popular herb of choice. For Southeast Asia, this herb is kratom.
Kratom is a widely used herbal extract from the leaves of the evergreen Mitragyna speciosa tree. It contains the alkaloids mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, which give kratom its opioid-like effects. Depending on the maturity of the kratom leaf and the processing method, these chemicals occur at different concentrations leading to a variety of strains/cultivars ranging from kratom maeng dato Red Vein strains.
While modern kratom enthusiasts have their methods and reasons for enjoying this extract, most are unaware of its historical uses.
Please keep reading to learn more about the historical use of kratom and what we can learn from this as modern users.
To understand why kratom has remained popular over several centuries, it is important to look at the health benefits. Kratom helps relieve various ailments such as insomnia, chronic pain, anxiety, depression, low moods, and opioid addiction. However, the dosage determines the effects experienced in what is known as a dependent action. Low doses of kratom (1 to 5 grams) lead to increased energy and focus, while high doses (5 to 15 grams) lead to pain relief and sedation. Anything above 15 grams is risky and is advised against.
Traditional Kratom Use
Native to Southeast Asia, kratom has been culturally accepted as a medicinal herb since the 19th Century throughout Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, and Laos. Farmers and the rural poor used it as a stimulant and to relieve muscle pain and aches to help them work in the hot sun. The communities also used it medicinally to treat lethargy, fever, cough, diarrhea, pain, social anxiety, wounds, intestinal worm infections, and drug addiction. The leaves were smoked, chewed, or boiled into tea or juice in these times. However, there was no research done on why kratom had these effects since scientific knowledge was uncommon in the past.
Besides its medical uses, this herb was also used in religious rituals and as a snack to receive guests. As such, we can state that kratom was indeed culturally relevant and was viewed positively by many. Since it is bitter, many add sugar and lemon to sweeten it.
Additionally, it was not socially acceptable for women to use kratom, but male workers used it to enhance their physical endurance and relieve stress. Women faced social stigma for using the extract; hence they avoided it.
Differences with Modern Kratom Use
Due to breakthroughs in scientific discoveries, we now understand the chemical compounds present in kratom that trigger its effects. We can also isolate these compounds more effectively and produce kratom capsules, tinctures, gummies, and tablets.
Unlike in the past, people from all walks of life can use this extract. It’s not relegated for use by the working poor and can even fetch high prices in the market today. The majority also use it for pain relief and stimulation since its popularity as a holistic solution for relief against pain and opioid withdrawal is gaining traction.
Women can also use it freely and do not face social stigma. Additionally, it’s used in a more casual context today, and you are unlikely to find people using it in religious ceremonies.
What Can We Learn
Based on this information, we can ascertain that modern users have something to learn from the traditional use of kratom. This knowledge can increase the overall utility of the supplement, allowing you to get more out of your use. One is that kratom tea and juice can be sweetened to ease the bitter taste. Many modern users who don’t enjoy the taste tend to use tablets or capsules, so this solution can offer them a welcome alternative.
This extract is also effective in relieving intestinal worm infestations, which affect around 49.38% of the population. Parasites can lead to various illnesses, so this holistic solution can greatly aid millions globally.
Moreover, the use of kratom to treat wounds, cough, and fever remains relatively unknown to modern users. Cough and fever, in particular, affect many people due to modern lifestyles that expose us to millions of pathogens in crowded cities and public amenities. Additionally, the emergence of antibiotic-resistant disease has decreased the trust consumers palace in pharmaceuticals. For this reason, many can benefit from kratom use.
This popular herbal extract, has been in use for centuries. Its medicinal benefits have earned cultural relevance in its native Southeast Asia, leading to its use in professional, social, and religious settings. However, modern users remain unfamiliar with its traditional uses, covering both medical and social benefits.
This article focuses on these historical uses and what we can learn from kratom fans of the past to grow our knowledge of this fascinating herbal extract and subsequently aid us in uncovering more uses for it.