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Kratom 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Kratom

What to know about kratom

Although pretty much unknown in the Western world until recently, there’s been a buzz in gym locker rooms, office cubicles, and lots of other places about the many benefits of kratom. It’s a hotly debated topic around the country, and there are some myths and misconceptions regarding precisely what kratom is and isn’t. If you’re just now hearing about the benefits of this botanical and want to know more, you’ve come to the right place. The Golden Monk kratom gurus are happy to help you navigate this new world.

What Is Kratom?

What is referred to as kratom in the West is derived from the plant Mitragyna speciosa. This tropical evergreen tree is indigenous to Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and others. Long used in ceremonies and for its unique qualities, the leaves from this tree were typically chewed or brewed as tea.

Kratom belongs to the coffee family (Rubiaceae) and has recently found popularity amongst those looking to benefit from its properties in the West. Simply put, kratom is a plant and isn’t an artificial synthetic substance. It’s all-natural.

How Is Kratom Made?

Kratom trees, when grown naturally, can reach heights of 50 to 80 feet, but when cultivated, they are often much shorter. Professional cultivators in Indonesia may even prune them to encourage a more bush-like appearance since the leaves will be used.

Harvesting

The first step is to harvest the leaves from the tree. Depending on the strain, this could be done at different stages of the tree’s growth. Each strain has slightly different properties that will dictate how it’s used, so cultivators carefully determine the best time to pick the leaves. The strain and the age of the plant have a lot to do with the benefits of the final product.

Drying

Once the leaves have been harvested, the moisture must be removed. Drying is typically achieved by laying them out in the sun to dry or within professional drying facilities. The drying process is crucial to preventing spoilage and helps to preserve the alkaloid content. It’s the alkaloids contained in the leaves that give them their special properties.

Processing

Once the drying process is complete, the next step is to process the leaves. A common practice is to grind the dried leaves into an ultra-fine powder and then package them. They’ll either be sold as-is or for further processing, such as putting them into capsules or making tinctures.

Some misperceptions as to what kratom can and cannot do

What Does Kratom Do?

There’s been much talk, discussion, and some misperceptions as to what kratom can and cannot do. Some scholars believe that kratom was used by the field workers and manual laborers of Southeast Asia as an aid to fight fatigue and increase productivity. Unfortunately, little is known about how long it has been used as a work aid or a ceremony tool. However, despite adequate written documentation on kratom’s use, it’s believed that it has been utilized for hundreds of years, if not more.

While more research is needed, proponents of kratom are quite pleased with the benefits the dried leaves can deliver. When asked, many who hail about the benefits of kratom will tell you one of two things: that it’s great for when you need an energy boost or that it’s great for when you want to relax. So, how can kratom enhance two very contradictory moods? The answer lies within what your serving size is.

The Effects of Higher Serving Sizes

At higher serving sizes, kratom has been described as calming, soothing, and relaxing. Perfect for after a stressful day or a quiet chill out with friends, larger serving sizes of kratom tend to enhance calmness. Some with chronic discomfort claim that larger serving sizes of kratom have resulted in a lessening of symptoms and provided a feeling of comfort.

The Effects of Lower Serving Sizes

Oddly enough, smaller serving sizes have the opposite effect. Smaller amounts of kratom have been described as energy-boosting, enhancing focus, and can provide that little extra oomph when you need it. Smaller amounts are perfect for gym workouts or when you are feeling sluggish but have chores or errands to tackle.

How to take kratom

How Do I Take Kratom?

Golden Monk provides a variety of different kratom products and undoubtedly has one to fit your needs and preferences. When most think about kratom, what comes to mind is the widely available fine-ground powder. These can be brewed as tea or blended into smoothies or other non-alcoholic or non-carbonated beverages. However, there are other products available, such as kratom capsules and kratom gummies.

As mentioned above, your serving size will depend on the benefit you seek. It’s recommended that beginners start with small amounts and see how they respond. Capsules or gummies are a great starting point since these products don’t require measuring out amounts.

Kratom is best taken on an empty stomach. It’s recommended to abstain from eating two hours before taking a kratom capsule or gummy or drinking a kratom-infused beverage or tea. While there’s no harm in having food in your stomach, having an empty one is better for absorption.

Does Kratom Taste Bad?

This is a difficult question to answer since everyone’s palate is different. Kratom is known for its unique bitter flavor. Some describe it as bitter with hints of wood and earth, but it’s not easy to describe its complex aroma and flavor. Kratom diehards enjoy its earthiness and have no issues with drinking it as a tea or using the “wash and toss” method, which involves placing some kratom powder on their tongue and then washing it down with water.

Those who haven’t yet acquired a taste for its bitterness may choose to purchase kratom capsules or gummies. These options are a no-mess method as they don’t require measuring kratom powder. However, those with sensitive tastes can mix kratom powder into fruit juices or add them to smoothies. Sugar, honey, or lemon can be added to kratom tea to mask its unique taste.

A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Kratom: Final Thoughts

Much has been said about the benefits of kratom, and the discussion continues. This botanical has been used for hundreds of years or more in Southeast Asia, and now that it has been introduced to the Western world, plenty have found it beneficial to their lives. Despite its bitterness, kratom can add a sweet touch to your day.

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