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Information about Kratom

Kratom is an herbal made from leaves of a tropical evergreen tree (Mitragyna speciosa) that is native to Southeast Asia.  Extracts from the leaves of the kratom tree have psychotropic and opioid-like activity, which has led to their use as a recreational drug. 

Liver safety of Kratom

Kratom has been linked to rare instances of clinically apparent acute liver injury.  

Mechanism of action of Kratom

Kratom is a botanical extract derived from the leaves of a tropical evergreen tree (Mitragyna speciosa), which belongs to the coffee family and is indigenous to Thailand, Myanmar and Malaysia.  In Southeast Asia, kratom has been used for decades as an herbal medication to treat chronic pain, increase energy and stamina, treat chronic pain and diarrhea, and as a substitute for opium or for opium withdrawal.  The leaves have multiple components, including psychoactive alkaloids that have opioid-like activity.  In many Southeast Asian countries, chewing Mitragyna speciosa leaves is a not uncommon practice and not considered addictive.  The effects of chewing kratom leaves include enhanced alertness, talkativeness and sociability.  Extracts of kratom have been used to treat chronic pain, diarrhea and cough.  The psychoactive effects of kratom have led to its use recreationally as a cannabis-like drug.  Higher doses can cause agitation, hypertension, dyspnea and confusion.  Overdoses of kratom can cause seizures, coma and death.  Kratom has become a substance of abuse and it has not been shown to have any beneficial medical uses. 


In 2014, the US FDA banned the inclusion of kratom in dietary supplements because of safety concerns, with potential adverse effects including respiratory depression, aggression, hallucinations, delusions, insomnia, vomiting and severe withdrawal.  

Herbal and dietary supplements

Chinese and Other Asian Herbal Medicines

Multi-Ingredient Nutritional Supplements

See also Nutritional supplements
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