Kratom is a tree in the Coffee family that is native to Thailand where it has a long history of use. It was mainly used by workers for its stimulant effects but has also been employed for a variety of other purposes.(1) The genus was first recorded and named by the Dutch Botanist Pieter Willem Korthals who gave it its name because the stamen of the species he first discovered resembled a bishop’s miter. Kratom has a rich chemistry and contains more than 25 different alkaloids. Mitragynine, the most abundant one, is structurally related to Yohimbe alkaloids and is more distantly related to tryptamine alkaloids such as psilocybin and Ibogaine. The plant also contains Epicatechin which is a powerful anti-oxidant also found in Cocoa and Green Tea. Botanically Kratom is also related to Cat’s Claw. Although Kratom has recently been made illegal in Thailand, Malaysia and several other countries, some people are lobbying their governments to allow medical research into Kratom as a potential prescription substance.
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