Kratom – Where did it All Begin?

March 19, 2019 0 Comments

If you thought Kratom was a new thing, you’d be very much mistaken. In fact, this innocuous leaf has been around for centuries, long before it was first documented in the early 19th century by Pieter Willem Korthals, the official botanist with the Dutch East India Service from 1831 to 1836. However, Korthals – after whom the plant was first named ‘Korthalsia’ – wasn’t the first to discover this bountiful tree, as Southeast Asians had been using it for centuries beforehand, often to get them through long, tiring days in the fields.

A Relative of the Coffee Plant

Kratom belongs to the Rubiaceae family, which consists of over 13,000 plants, including coffee, West Indian Jasmine, and Gardenia, and is perfectly suited to the tropical climate of Southeast Asia, where it grows abundantly in the jungles and forests which are situated on soil rich with volcanic minerals and nutrients, while the acidity of the ground provides the perfect conditions for the alkalines which Kratom is well-known for, most notably mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine.

It’s All in Vein

It’s these alkalines (mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine) which give the buyer the information they need to make an informed choice as to which strain they are getting. Kratom comes in red, green, or white vein varieties (you will sometimes see a yellow strain, although this is generally believed to come from the red strain with a longer drying process) and each color has a different ratio or concentration of the two aforementioned alkalines. By learning the properties of each color, you will be able to choose a strain or blend based on your needs.

Location, Location, Location

As you may or may not know, Kratom grows throughout Southeast Asia, and the place of growth also determines the properties of the Kratom, along with the color. For instance, while Kratom from Thailand is thought to be energetic, a Balinese is much mellower, while Malaysian is the best of both worlds.

Nature’s Finest

While Europe and other parts of the world were welcoming exciting new strides in medicine, Southeast Asia was being left behind as the expense of modern medicines was out of their reach, so they had to rely on what nature gave them. Kratom was widely used by the locals as a stress reliever and also to improve their focus and give them more energy to get them through their long, strenuous days.

Good Morning Vietnam

While the West were already aware of Kratom, thanks to Pieter Willem Korthals and also George Darby Haviland, a British surgeon who continued Korthals’ work, America was lagging in its knowledge of the plant, and it was only thanks to troops returning from the Vietnam war that word began to spread. While fighting Viet Cong soldiers, the U.S soldiers were introduced to Kratom by friendly indigenous people as a way to survive the harrowing conditions of the war. Of course, the growing popularity and awareness also brought scrutiny from the authorities, who wanted to regulate the import and usage of Kratom, which is why, today, advocates of Kratom are pushing for public awareness of the facts and a fair and safe policy for all.


As you can see, Kratom has its roots much further back than anyone who is new to the plant could imagine, and knowing these facts can only help in the understanding of this tropical, evergreen tree.

Author : Andy Cyrus