Kratom: What to Take & How to Take It
Hundreds of new people are discovering kratom every day. Most are asking the same basic questions. This post was requested by a busy Admin, who wanted to have a place to send folks where they could get most of their questions about starting out on this wonderful and mysterious herb answered.
I won't claim to be the #1 World Expert on the subject of Kratom, but I love it, am fascinated by the variety of things it is doing for people, I've read many medical research papers, I've had a long history of using herbs and nutrition to maintain my health, and I love to write about the ways to achieve the health we are capable of achieving with kratom.
Susan Ash has also written a more concise guide for new users. It is called Kratom 101. I didn't read her version until after I wrote this. It is downloadable from the Facebook group "Kratom -- New and Current Users" It covers the same main points that I do here.
Kratom has a long history of safe use as a stimulant, relaxant, painkiller, mood-improver, fever-reducer, anti-hypertensive, cough medicine, de-wormer, diabetes folk remedy, and anti-leukemic with significant antioxidant power and God-knows-what-else.
Most of the research that has been done has been driven by the pharmaceutical industry's interest in only a few of its 27 or more alkaloids and chemical compounds. For some reason, even though some alkaloid analogs have been patented perhaps because of their unique analgesic strength and safety, but -- as of now 11-17-2014 -- none have been brought to market.
For those of us who love the whole herb's effects, this lack of a pharmaceutical copy is probably a blessing.
A vicious, persistent, and inaccurate media campaign has sought to discredit kratom, but the truth is getting out to those who need relief for chronic pain, drug addiction of all kinds, for depression, for anxiety, diabetes, ADHD, narcolepsy, fatigue, hypertension, and panic attacks. (Have I left anyone out? It seems like I read a testimonial about cancerous tumors shrinking thanks to kratom use, but I can't verify that.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How much should I take? There is no way I can guess exactly how much you will need to take to get the desired effect. What I can tell you is that, if you are in reasonably good health and of average build, you should be safe in taking 1 Tsp either by "Toss & Wash" method or by mixing into V-8, yogurt, kefir, chocolate milk, smoothie, applesauce, or grapefruit juice.
You may need more or slightly less. The main things to keep in mind are: 1) "Less is More"; and 2) Don't chase the euphoria (by taking more and more. Why do we say this? We say it because there is a natural "ceiling" on how kratomized you can get on kratom plain leaf or powder. If you exceed this ideal level, which is unique to you, you will feel nauseous and possibly vomit. This can spoil your otherwise pleasant experience. You won't die, but it's no fun, either.
Getting dizzy, having a headache, and puking is no way to start what could be a beautiful relationship. Take it easy on your first try.
You may actually feel euphoric, in love with the world, Buddha-like, etc., but this is a rare gift -- usually, a one-time thing -- I've found. If you only use kratom once a week, you may feel almost that good each time; if you use every day, for pain or for stimulation (like drinking coffee), then you will arrive at a plateau that is significantly better than you felt before you discovered kratom, but you will come to accept it, be thoroughly comfortable and pain-free (until you need to dose again).
Look at kratom as you might view a performance additive for your car. It works. It helps in noticeable ways. It improves the quality of all aspects of your life -- and, when your dose is used up, it will gradually let you down to where you started. No crashing.
For me, the object is to feel good all the time and not develop a tolerance or a need to keep increasing the dose. Those who treat this herb like a "legal high" and swallow large doses, trying to recapture that initial euphoric feeling over and over are usually the ones who end up proclaiming that "Kratom is addictive and caused me a serious withdrawal." I contend they brought it on themselves.
When we have no physician prescribing the dose we should take, we must adopt a new psychology in dealing with herbs. It is simply a recognition that, "We are responsible." It is not that kratom is a bad herb, if we use it to the degree our body becomes habituated to consuming large doses frequently; the reality is that we took more than we needed (because we liked the feeling) and this created a dependence. If we need to use it frequently, it behooves us to take as little as possible to get the effect we need.
One more thought about using kratom for pain. Pain connected to an injury or disease is there to remind us that we need to fix whatever caused the pain, not just cover it up. Pain is like the red warning light on our car's dashboard. You can ignore the light and keep on driving. You can disconnect the warning light, but it doesn't change the fact that there is something you need to do, if you want to avoid a total mechanical breakdown of the "vehicle" -- your body.
In the words of the brilliant medical research scientist, Dr. Linus Pauling, ""You can trace every sickness, every disease, and every ailment to a mineral deficiency." Dr. Pauling was a 2 time Nobel Prize winner. Making sure we have more than enough minerals seem like a good investment in health. I believe there must be many of the minerals we need in kratom, due to the rich pristine jungle soil much of it is grown in. This might explain, in part, why it works so well for so many conditions. I still don't believe it's enough for optimal health and total recovery from the many diseases that we seek kratom for, but it's a good start. Our food is not enough, even if we eat the finest organic meats and produce exclusively.Which Strain Should I Use? Again, there are some general guidelines, but there are also many "exceptions to the rule".
- White Vein varieties tend to be the most energetic, but they are said to not last as long as the green or red vein varieties.
- Green Vein varieties tend to be a good choice for daytime use, with a balance of energy, long duration, and good pain relief.
- Red Vein varieties are very sedative and the best for pain relief (usually), although some like Maeng Da and Red Vein Borneo are fairly stimulating.
Please Note: A few people find Red Vein varieties very stimulating. Best to find out if you are one of these before taking your first trial dose before going to bed.
What many native kratom users do is mix green or white vein with red vein varieties to get a broader spectrum of physical and mental effects. I like to mix white vein with everything, unless it is at night. Most reds tend to put me to sleep, unless I mix some white vein with them.
There is another weird exception, which I would guess mostly applies to the Red vein and Green Vein varieties: Small doses of 5 grams or less are stimulating, but larger doses of 10-15 grams are sedating. Caution: Don't take 8-15 grams your first time out.
If You Feel No Effect:
If a teaspoon-full doesn't seem to be doing anything, eat something light such as a few slices of an apple. If that doesn't help, wait 30 minutes and take some more. Sometimes you may need a different strain before you find what you're looking for.
Kratom is, for many people, a fairly subtle experience -- nothing like marijuana.
Probably the person who gets the most noticeable effect is the one who has been living with chronic pain for years and all of a sudden they notice it's not there anymore. For them, kratom is not subtle at all. It is the answer to their prayers.
Whatever your first experience is like, keep trying until you find the right combination that suits your metabolism.
The Taste of Kratom: This is a real deal-breaker for some people. One lady I know said the flavor reminded her of stewed alfalfa. Some people get queasy just thinking about it. Some grow to like it after a while.
If you can't stand it mixed in applesauce, Ovaltine, chocolate milk, coffee or T&W, then you may need to learn how to put it in vegetable-based capsules. This makes the powder less effective and -- if you need large doses to deal with pain -- you will need to take "plenty-plenty" caps. Caps themselves cause some indigestion for many people, so vegetable-based caps are better.
I take the view of "Just do it! Don't psych yourself out over the taste. It's not candy; it's good medicine. Don't make a big deal about it." The flavor only lasts for seconds, but the effects -- which are delightful -- last for up to six hours, so put things in perspective.
People like myself, who are very sensitive to sugar (and we all get too much processed sugar, from a health perspective), will be wise to avoid downing your kratom dose with a "spoonful of sugar" if you don't want to deal with the depressant effect and comedown that comes with sugary drinks, foods, desserts.
Extracts: Many experts say that beginners should not concern themselves with extracts. These are highly-concentrated extracts of the active ingredients, which are dried, powdered, and mixed with plain leaf. This mixture of leaf and extract may be referred to as Ultra Enhanced Indo (UEI) or a Fusion blend, perhaps incorporating more than one variety of leaf powder. Fun, but should only be enjoyed once in a while or by those in severe pain, if at all.
Fusions: Mentioned above, these are mixtures of extract and leaf powders, best used only on special occasions.
Tinctures: Alcohol-based extract mixtures. High cost, uncertain quality. Not recommended.