In small doses, kratom leaves can inspire focus and productivity. In higher doses, they can induce a sense of calm and euphoria. Depending on your dosage, the effects of kratom tea can last between one and three hours.
Kratom is a tropical plant related to coffee trees, grown mostly in Southeast Asia. It contains alkaloids, including mitragynine, that act on brain opiate receptors to alter mood and increase energy. It’s often used as a pain reliever or stimulant and consumed as a beverage, most commonly in tea form. It’s also marketed as a dietary supplement and sold at gas stations and paraphernalia shops, most commonly in powder or tablet form. Many kratom users say the plant reduces stress, anxiety and depression. Others claim it alleviates opioid withdrawal symptoms and chronic pain.
While kratom has been consumed by traditional cultures for centuries, it’s become increasingly popular in the United States as a remedy and a recreational drug. Yet, it’s not regulated by federal agencies and hasn’t been tested in scientific studies. Its safety is unclear, and there are reports of adverse reactions, including agitation, hallucinations, seizures, liver damage and addiction.
Some experts say if kratom is to be used for medical purposes, rigorous clinical research should be conducted. Until then, the FDA recommends you talk to your doctor about other options for pain relief and withdrawal support. If you decide to try kratom, the most common preparation method is to place a few grams of kratom powder in boiling water and let it steep for a few minutes. You can sweeten the mix with honey or lemon juice to improve its taste and encourage alkaloid extraction. It’s important to stir the powder thoroughly to prevent it from clumping into unappetizing flakes.