Table of Contents
Kratom is beneficial because of its alkaloid content. The primary alkaloids in Kratom are mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. The potency of the alkaloids in Kratom is highly influenced by the growing environment, harvesting time, and drying process. In some cases, Kratom leaves are fermented in bags.
The alkaloids in Kratom may help you manage stress, boost your wellbeing, or inspire your motivation for the day. The science behind these alkaloids is just beginning to be understood.
What Is Kratom and How Does it Work?
Kratom is native to Southeast Asia. The plant can reach heights of 120 feet. The leaves can be chewed right off the tree. However, most of the Kratom shipped to the Western world is dried in sunlight to later be crushed and brewed into a tea or ground to a fine powder to swallow with grapefruit juice or put into capsules.
Indigenous to Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea, Kratom trees are tropical evergreens in the coffee family whose leaves have been harvested for centuries. However, in recent years, more people have been turning to Kratom for its beneficial properties.
With 40 different chemical compounds known as alkaloids in Kratom leaves, this plant presents a host of benefits for your wellbeing. It’s these alkaloids that give Kratom the ability to aid people through their stressful days.
What Is an Alkaloid?
The term alkaloids was first coined in 1819 by a German chemist named Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Großmann. It wasn’t until Oscar Jacobsen reviewed that article in the 1880s that scientists started to commonly refer to alkaloids.
The alkaloids in Kratom are responsible for Kratom’s beneficial properties. Alkaloids are a class of naturally-occurring organic bases that contain nitrogen. Typically part of a plant’s natural defense system to protect itself from predators, alkaloids have diverse uses when ingested by animals or humans. From tonic water’s quinine to your morning coffee’s caffeine, people regularly use all kinds of alkaloids. Other well-known alkaloids include nicotine, ephedrine, morphine, and strychnine.
Kratom’s Alkaloids: Mitragynine & 7-OH
Dried Kratom leaves can contain up to just over 2% of its primary alkaloid called mitragynine. It is mitragynine that leaves users feeling motivated, optimistic, and ready to take on their day.
The 7-hydroxymitragynine is another alkaloid in Kratom leaves. It is a naturally-occurring, more potent variation of mitragynine but is much less concentrated in Kratom than mitragynine. Also known as 7-OH, 7-hydroxymitragynine may help you maintain comfort after a hard workout or too much time spent on your feet.
There is some evidence that 7-OH is actually produced at higher levels once mitragynine is processed in the liver as a metabolite. This may account for the low levels in the leaves themselves, but the benefits users enjoy when they ingest Kratom.
The alkaloid content found in Kratom may significantly change depending on where the Kratom tree is grown, the quality of the tree’s growth environment, and how the Kratom is cultivated.
How Are Alkaloids Produced?
General environmental characteristics can impact the alkaloid content of certain strains of Kratom. It is possible for a mineral to increase alkaloids in one plant and have the exact opposite effect in another.
Gene pathways of alkaloids are highly influenced by their external environment. Factors such as soil makeup, light, and temperature can all affect the genetic makeup of Kratom and any other plant that naturally produces alkaloids.
While researchers are still attempting to pinpoint exactly how every alkaloid in Kratom is created, botanists know that they are generally produced due to the interactions of multiple biological pathways in the plant. Even if plants are closely related, the biological pathways can be affected in different ways, depending on their growing environment.
It’s when plants are young and still growing that most of the active alkaloids in Kratom form. This younger plant tissue is more susceptible to environmental stress and change than its older counterparts. Different factors can influence which alkaloids a plant creates during its growing process and how much of that alkaloid exists in its fibers.
Nitrogen and the Growing Process
Since alkaloids are nitrogen-based compounds, the best way to manipulate the number of alkaloids produced by a Kratom tree is to infuse the water or soil used to grow it with nitrogen. The plant absorbs the high levels of nitrogen into its fibers and uses it to produce more alkaloids.
While this effect becomes less significant after a certain point in the growing process, enriching the chemical compounds of Kratom with nitrogen is believed to be a potentially effective way to augment the final alkaloid content of the tree and its leaves.
Nitrogen is a plant nutrient, so another benefit of enriching the soil and water used to grow Kratom is that nitrogen helps the trees to grow better and healthier. While an increase in nitrogen hasn’t specifically been linked to one alkaloid, any farmer can tell you that healthy plants mean better crops.
As with any plant, sunlight is a vital part of the growing process. Not unlike different vegetables, the type of plant growing dictates the amount of sunlight needed to boost its alkaloid content. An increase in sunlight usually leads to higher alkaloid production.
In lab tests, plants that increased their alkaloid content the most were given 12 hours of constant darkness followed by 12 hours of consistent sunlight. For Kratom, this may be considerably different, but the only real way to negatively impact a plant with sunlight is by giving it very little.
Carbon Dioxide and Temperature
Higher temperatures have been shown to factor into increased alkaloid production in plants and trees.
Just as people breathe in oxygen to live, plants use carbon dioxide to grow making it an important part of the process of photosynthesis. What isn’t clear is exactly how carbon dioxide factors into alkaloid production. It is believed that higher levels of carbon dioxide in the air raise the temperature around the plant, causing an increase in alkaloid production.
The bacterial content of the soil has a significant impact on how a plant or tree produces alkaloids. Alkaloid production can actually be stimulated by certain types of bacteria, helping the tree to grow bigger and creating more complex and sturdy root systems.
The salt content of soil also seems to affect the alkaloid concentration of Kratom trees. If the soil has higher salt content, the number of alkaloids in the plants increases as well. Growing Kratom in soil with high salt content can be tricky because salt can put a lot of stress on the plants as they are cultivated. Younger Kratom trees can feel a negative impact from this technique.
Increasing alkaloid content in Kratom is possible, but not always necessary. When done, it should be done safely and with an understanding of how the plant could be altered by its conditions. Kats Botanicals believes that the more natural the process, the better.
Kratom at Kats Botanicals
One of the core beliefs at Kats Botanicals is that Kratom and its high alkaloid content can genuinely benefit consumers. Kats Botanicals strives to offer the safest and purest Kratom. We have a strong relationship with growers and processors in Southeast Asia to ensure a potent and pure Kratom product is delivered straight to your door.
Sourced from Indonesian farms that only follow 100% organic farming practices, all of Kats Botanicals’ Kratom products are harvested and processed by hand with great respect for the surrounding environment. The Kratom leaves are harvested at the perfect time to ensure a high alkaloid content in every leaf.
Kats Botanicals shows a devotion to the holistic market that is unmatched. When it comes to Kratom, no one else is more dedicated to working closely with a group of credible Indonesian farmers who oversee the growth, harvest, and traditional sun drying process of their products.
The Kratom from Kats Botanicals is ethically grown, harvested, and processed. Red vein Kratom is exposed to the most UV rays and fermented in bags, resulting in its dark hue. Green vein Kratom is dried in a dark, air conditioned room with about an hour’s exposure to sunlight or UV rays. White vein Kratom is not exposed to any UV light and is also dried in a cool room indoors.
Once the Kratom has been processed, the leaves are crushed and ground in Indonesia. This fine Kratom powder is then shipped to the US where the strains are blended by the dedicated staff at Kats Botanicals using recipes developed from the Kratom community and driven by customer feedback.
The Wrap Up
Alkaloid content in Kratom can be a complicated undertaking when the environment is involved. Increasing the amount of sunlight each plant receives and not using specific chemicals like pesticides are simple solutions to helping these trees grow organically. However, increasing the nitrogen content of the soil, adding different bacteria, and controlling the temperature in which the plants grow can be more difficult.
While the chemical compounds in Kratom alkaloids seem to react similarly to the alkaloids found in other plants, more research needs to be conducted to ascertain the effectiveness of manipulating the environment in which Kratom is grown.