Kratom is a natural plant that gets it's beneficial nature from its high alkaloid content. There's quite a few different alkaloids in Kratom, but the main ones are mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. The potency of these alkaloids in Kratom is highly influenced by the environment the plant is being grown in, the amount of time until harvest and it's drying or fermentation process.
The alkaloids in Kratom have been known to improve moods, relieve pain and stress, relax a user or sometimes even give energy depending on the color and blend. The science behind Kratom's alkaloids is just now starting to be studied and understood.
How Does Kratom Work and What Is It?
Kratom is native to the Southeast Asian jungles. The plant can reach heights of up to 120 feet tall. The leaves can be chewed right off the tree to receive a light dose of kratom's effects. However, most of the Kratom shipped to the Western world is dried in sunlight or indoors to later be ground and sifted into a fine powder, then brewed into tea, mixed with a liquid, or put into capsules.
Since Kratom is indigenous to Malaysia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, and Indonesia, Kratom trees grow as tropical evergreens that are related to the coffee family, whose leaves have been harvested for centuries. Recently though, a number of people have realized the beneficial nature of Kratom and are taking advantage of using the plant for various ailments.
With 40 different chemical compounds known as alkaloids in the Kratom leaves and it's powder, this plant presents a host of benefits for your wellbeing. It’s these alkaloids that give Kratom the ability to help people through their tough day and give them the motivation to get going.
What Defines An Alkaloid?
The term alkaloids was first named in 1819 by a German chemist named Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Großmann. It wasn’t until Oscar Jacobsen, an engineer and well known politician reviewed that article in the 1880s that scientists started to commonly refer to them as alkaloids.
Kratom's alkaloids are responsible for its beneficial effects. Alkaloids are 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 people use often include ephedrine, morphine, nicotine, and strychnine.
Alkaloids In Kratom: Mitragynine & 7-OH
Dried Kratom leaves can contain up to just over 2% of its primary alkaloid called mitragynine. Its mitragynine that actually leaves users with the feeling of motivation, optimism, and in a great mood for their day.
7-hydroxymitragynine is another alkaloid in Kratom leaves. It's 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 can change significantly depending on where the Kratom tree is grown, the quality of the tree’s growth environment, and how the Kratom is cultivated.
How Are Kratom's Alkaloids Made?
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.
Kratom's Growing Process and Nitrogen
Alkaloids are nitrogen-based compounds, so the best way to manipulate the number of alkaloids produced by a Kratom tree is to infuse the water or soil used to grow the plant with nitrogen. The plant absorbs the high levels of nitrogen into its fibers and uses it to produce a higher amount of 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 an extremely 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 stronger and healthier. While an increase in nitrogen hasn’t specifically been linked to one alkaloid, any farmer can tell you that healthy plants always equals better crops and yield.
When it comes to kratom, as well as any plant, sunlight is a vital part of their 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 continuous darkness followed by 12 hours of constant sunlight. For Kratom, this may be different, but the only major way to negatively impact a plant with sunlight is from a lack of it.
Temperature and Carbon Dioxide
Higher temperatures have been found to factor into increased alkaloid production in the plants and trees.
Just as people breathe in oxygen to live, plants use carbon dioxide to grow, making it a vital part in 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 the alkaloid contents to increase.
Soil Quality and Contents
The bacterial contents of the soil has a significantly large 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 sturdy and complex root systems.
The salt content of soil also seems to affect the alkaloid concentration in Kratom trees. If the soil has higher salt content, the number of alkaloids in the plants increase 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 be negatively effected from using this grow method.
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. We here at GLAKratom believe kratom should be kept in the most natural state possible, leaving it pure for our customers.
GLAKratom and our Beliefs
One of the core beliefs at GLAKratom is that Kratom and its high alkaloid content can genuinely benefit consumers. GLAKratom strives to offer the purest form of Kratom, without any additives or fillers. We have a strong relationship with our farms 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 GLAKratoms' Kratom products are harvested and processed by hand with great respect for the surrounding environment. The Kratom leaves are harvested at the exact right time to ensure higher alkaloid contents in every leaf.
The Kratom from GLAKratom is ethically grown, harvested, and processed.
Once the Kratom has been processed, the leaves are crushed and ground in Indonesia. This fine Kratom powder is then shipped to us directly, where the strains are blended by the dedicated staff at GLAKratoms home store in Blue Springs, Missouri, using recipes developed from the Kratom community and driven by customer feedback.
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.