Kratom Contains At Least 31 Different Alkaloids, Explaining Why Different Strains Produce Different Effects, And Leading To A Variety Of Potential Health Benefits
Mitragyna Speciosa aka Kratom, a tropical evergreen tree indigenous to the Southeast Asia region but capable of growing in all wet tropical climates, is most commonly known for its opioid painkilling effects. However, Kratom has a wide variety of effects since it contains at least 31 different alkaloids. Each of these alkaloids has its own unique impact on the nature of the Kratom experience, which is why different strains of Kratom produce different effects. For example, the general categories for Kratom strains are red, green, white, and yellow, with the common perception that red is more relaxing, green is more energetic, and white and yellow are somewhere in-between.
When I was a Kratom newbie a decade ago, I was told by a Kratom veteran that the strain classification system for Kratom is actually derived from stop lights, with red meaning stop, green meaning go, and white/yellow in-between. However, I’ve also been told that Kratom leaves turn red with age and these red leaves have more alkaloids, and younger Kratom leaves are green and have less of the sedative alkaloids.
In any case, different Kratom strains produce notably different experiences based subjective reports across the internet. Each Kratom tree has at least a slightly different alkaloids profile than any other tree, with its own unique concentrations of the 31 alkaloids. Therefore, the profile of alkaloids in Kratom can be different from region to region, as well as from season to season depending on rainfall and sunlight amounts. Over the millennia Kratom trees have undergone genetic diversification due to growing in a variety of different climate zones and biomes. For example, trees growing at sea level next to the ocean likely have different alkaloid concentrations than trees growing up in the mountains.
Therefore, due to the variation between Kratom strains, it can be fruitful to acquire a variety of Kratom strains. First off, tolerance builds up slower when taking a variety of Kratom strains versus taking the same strain over and over. Also, certain Kratom strains are better for work, other strains are better for relaxing, and some strains are specifically optimal for bedtime.
The variety of Kratom strains and their effects will be explored in numerous future articles on The Kratom Herald.
Kratom Alkaloids Potentially Have A Wide Variety Of Health Benefits
Aside from the fact that the diverse and variable alkaloid profile of Kratom is the reason why different strains of Kratom have different effects, it is also useful to learn about the properties of each alkaloid in order to understand the potential benefits of Kratom.
The most commonly known Kratom alkaloids are mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, which are responsible for most of the opioid and pain killing effects of Kratom. Also, these two alkaloids typically comprise about 70% of the total alkaloid content of Kratom.
As explained in a previous article on The Kratom Herald, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine are atypical opioids, and have little risk of addiction, withdrawal, and overdose relative to morphine-like alkaloids, and this seems to stem from the fact that these Kratom alkaloids do not recruit beta-arrestin-2 and are delta-opioid antagonists.
On average, the concentration of mitragynine in high quality Kratom can be 1% to 1.5%, with the concentration of 7-hydroxymitragynine being near 0.05%. Although there is much less 7-hydroxymitragynine than mitragynine in Kratom, 7-hydroxymitragynine is over an order of magnitude more potent than mitragynine as an opioid painkiller, and therefore plays an important role in Kratom’s effects.
The varying concentrations of mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine in Kratom are likely a fundamental cause of the differences between Kratom strains.
It is important to note that mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine have health benefits beyond pain relief, and are also anti-diarrheal, can help manage a cough since they are antitussive, and can help manage stress and anxiety since they lower adrenaline. Other Kratom alkaloids which lower adrenaline and therefore have the potential to relive stress include ajmalicine and tetrahydroalstonine.
There are other lesser known opioid alkaloids in Kratom including 9-hydroxycorynantheidine, speciociliatine, speciofoline. Although these other opioid alkaloids in Kratom are rarely discussed, perhaps it is possible that they do influence the nature of Kratom’s effects, and more research is needed.
Further, it is important to note that Kratom contains the opioid antagonist corynantheidine, which may play a role in helping to prevent addiction, withdrawal, and tolerance via preventing opioid agonist alkaloids from gaining full access to the opioid receptor. This may explain why Kratom does not produce more euphoria or painkilling beyond a certain dose.
Aside from opioid alkaloids, other alkaloids in Kratom increase its ability to manage pain. Paynantheine and Speciogynine are found in Kratom in significant amounts, accounting for 10% to 20% of the total alkaloid content of Kratom, and they are smooth muscle relaxers, which can be helpful for managing pain from injuries, back pain, and muscle cramps. Also, mitraphylline and ajmalicine have muscle relaxation properties. The combination of smooth muscle relaxation with Kratom’s opioid effects makes Kratom more effective as a pain management solution.
Additionally, the Kratom alkaloids rhynchophilline and epicatechin are anti-inflamatory, which can combine with the smooth muscle relaxation and opioid effects to manage pain even better. Ultimately, the mixture of different pain killing properties in Kratom makes it so less of the opioid alkaloids need to be ingested when managing pain, helping to suppress tolerance build-up.
Aside from painkilling effects, other Kratom alkaloids offer a wide variety of health benefits. First off, if someone is taking Kratom to help them relax or go to sleep, the Kratom alkaloids Corynoxine A & B and ajmalicine help to produce sedative effects.
Beyond Kratom’s relaxation properties, Kratom has the potential to manage a variety of ailments, although more research is needed. Ajmalicine is well-known and used to manage high blood pressure. Other Kratom alkaloids which help manage high blood pressure include mitraphylline, rhynchophylline, isorynhcophylline.
Tetrahydroalstonine and pinoresinol are Kratom alkaloids which potentially help lower blood sugar, and epitacatechin is anti-diabetic as well.
Epitacatechin, which is also found in cocoa, green tea, and grapes has many other beneficial properties including anti-oxidant, anti blood clots, antibacterial, anti diabetic, antihepatitic, antimutagenic, anti-leukemic, antiperoxidant, antiviral, and also a study found that epitacatechin increases muscle growth and improves strength.
In other words, the natural Kratom alkaloid epitacatechin has the potential to combat diseases, even possibly cancer. Other Kratom alkaloids which are anti-leukemic include mitraphylline, isomitraphylline, pinoresinol, and speciophylline.
Relevantly, some Kratom alkaloids are known to be immunostimulants, meaning they boost the immune system. These include isomitraphylline, mitraphylline, isorhynchophylline, and isopteropodine.
In my own experience, whenever I’ve gotten sick I’ve taken Kratom since I’ve found it at least makes a sickness more manageable, but was pleasantly surprised some of the times when the sickness completely went away overnight. That being said, if you get sick you should go to a doctor and get proper medicine. I am just noting that Kratom does have beneficial effects in such a situation, and at the least makes the situation more manageable because of its opioid painkilling effects.
The information in this article is just scratching the surface. There is much more to learn about the 31 different alkaloids of Kratom and their potential health benefits, and it will take numerous studies and years of research before society can even begin to come close to fully understanding all of the Kratom alkaloids.
Indeed still practically nothing is known about the Kratom alkaloids mitrafoline, isomitrafoline, isospeciofoline, mitraciliatine, mitragynine oxindole B, mitraversine, stipulatine, tetrahydroxymitragynine, dehydromitragynine, 7-hydroxyspeciociliatine, 9-methoxymitralactonine, corynantheidaline, corynantheidilinic acid, isopaynantheine, isorotundifoline, mitragynaline, mitragynalinic acid, mitralactonal, mitralactonine, mitrasulgyline, and paynatheine.
Further, as Kratom research increases worldwide it is possible even more alkaloids will be found, especially as researchers analyze Kratom growing in different regions.
Thus, Kratom has at least 31 different alkaloids, all of which have their own unique properties. This is why different strains of Kratom have different effects, and also why Kratom potentially has a wide variety of health benefits including opioid pain relief, anti-inflammation, smooth muscle relaxation, lower blood pressure, sedation, lower blood sugar, as well as antiviral, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties. To be clear, more research and studies are needed to scientifically confirm this.
The Kratom Herald will publish numerous articles in the future about the potential health benefits of Kratom, the properties and effects of each specific alkaloid, as well as all relevant research papers and studies.