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Comparing Different Kratom Veins and Strains

Red Vein

White Vein

Green Vein

These are the strains Golden Monk features in our product collection.

The different colors of kratom veins are easy enough to understand, so let’s start there. The leaves of the kratom tree go through three distinct growth stages:  

  • Young leaves are brightly colored with white veins running through the leaf.  
  • A kratom leaf in the middle growth stage has green veins running through the leaf. 
  • Older leaves turn slightly darker with red veins running through the leaf. 

The vein colors also correspond to slightly different levels of the active alkaloids in the kratom leaf, which influence the effects the kratom provides. Although you can’t see the distinct vein colors once the kratom has been dried and ground into powder or capsules—the leaves stay green throughout the different growth stages—there are differences in the alkaloid content. 

Thus, each strain of kratom will produce leaves in each of the three different veins, though some combinations of strains and veins may not be available due simply to a lack of demand.  

Learn more about what to expect from each color vein of kratom. 

Red Vein Kratom

As the kratom leaf reaches full maturity, the amount of mitragynine in the leaf decreases slightly as the amount of 7-hydroxymitragynine and other secondary alkaloids increases. This explains why red vein kratom is known for producing more of kratom’s calming and comforting effects.  

However, even with higher levels of secondary alkaloids, you may still need a slightly larger serving size to get these types of benefits. The overall popularity of red vein kratom also demonstrates that many users appreciate kratom for its soothing properties.  

White Vein Kratom

You guessed it: White vein kratom is known as energy-first kratom due to the higher levels of mitragynine in these younger leaves. This doesn’t mean the kratom is inherently inferior. Far from it. It’s likely that white vein kratom is less popular simply because it competes more directly with coffee and energy drinks in terms of consumer preferences for an energy boost.  

That said, we still think white vein kratom has an edge over these other energy choices in terms of a clean energy boost with less nervousness. You may be able to move even further away from jittery effects by pairing white vein with a more relaxed strain, like our White Bali kratom powder

Green Vein Kratom

The second most popular choice—and the most popular for new kratom users—green vein kratom is all about finding the sweet spot between red and white vein kratom. We often talk about balanced alkaloids and happy-medium effects, but you can also modify your serving size of green vein kratom to emphasize certain effects.  

A smaller serving is more likely to increase focus and energy levels, while a larger serving size will trend more toward calm and comfort. Many users prefer a standard serving and green vein’s overall balance, however. Alternately, you can use our Split Kilo option to buy one type of red vein kratom and one type of white vein kratom. 

Kratom Strain Comparison

Quickly understand the essential differences between each kratom vein. The name comes from the color of the leaf vein when harvested with white being the youngest leaves and red being the most mature. 

GOLDEN-MONK-shop-s6-img2.webp Red Vein GOLDEN-MONK-comparison-s3-img2.webp Green Vein GOLDEN-MONK-comparison-s3-img2.webp White Vein
Best For/Primary Effects Promoting relaxation and physical comfort Balanced energy and mental focus Increased energy for workouts/strenuous activity
Potency Depends on strain and serving size Depends on strain and serving size Depends on strain and serving size
Reported Serving Size Larger (more is needed for soothing effects) Moderate (balanced serving sizes for balanced effects) Smaller (less is needed for increased energy)
Alkaloid Content More secondary alkaloids Balanced between mitragynine and secondary alkaloids More mitragynine
Onset 15-30 mins (for powder), 20-40 mins (for capsules) 15-30 mins (for powder), 20-40 mins (for capsules) 15-30 mins (for powder), 20-40 mins (for capsules)
Popular Strains Red Bentuangie, Red Bali, Red Borneo Green Maeng Da, Green Malay, Green Bali White Maeng Da, White Borneo, White Sumatra
Duration of Effects 3-5 hours (depending on absorption/serving size) 3-5 hours (depending on absorption/serving size) 3-5 hours (depending on absorption/serving size)

How to Understand the Differences Between Kratom Strains

A kratom strain is just another name for a cultivar or sub-species of the kratom tree. Like dogs and cats, humans have used selective breeding to emphasize certain qualities of the kratom tree, especially the amount of alkaloids in the leaves. It’s widely believed that people have noticed for hundreds of years, long before we could measure alkaloid content in a lab, that certain kratom trees were better than others at helping get through the day’s work.  

This is the explanation for bona fide kratom strains, anyway. The kratom industry also uses the term “kratom strain” to mean any sub-type of kratom, whether the difference is based on selective cultivation or some modification to the harvest or drying process. Finally, different strains of kratom can be mixed together to create a kratom blend, often with a branded product name.  

Ready to do a deep-dive and impress your friends with your kratom knowledge at the next get-together? Or maybe you’ve had wildly different experiences while using kratom and are trying to get to the bottom of the differences between various strains and veins?  

Here is our glossary of different types and strains of kratom. We also have reviews for each individual kratom strain. Find one or two strains here that sound most promising to you and then read the full review in our consumer guide. 

Top-Selling Strains

These could be considered the closest thing to “household names” for types of kratom. Maeng Da, in particular, reigns supreme in the hierarchy of kratom strains and blends.  

Maeng Da

The legend comes from 19th Century farmers and day laborers in Thailand, who allegedly noticed that the leaves from some kratom trees were better than others for desirable effects. The thing is, with little provenance and no industry standards, there’s no way to truly know that today’s Maeng Da is a direct lineage of this legend. Nevertheless, it’s considered the best-of-the-best. 

Bali

This kratom strain has its own kind of legend. It’s one of the only strains named after the consumer rather than the producer. Some number of decades ago, a few select kratom strains became preferred by the residents and visitors to this famous island. No doubt, it matched Bali’s reputation as a laid-back, naturalist landscape vacation nirvana.  

Malay

Along with Indonesia and Thailand, Malaysia has the longest, richest history of kratom cultivation. It owns a huge chunk of Borneo Island, the heart of kratom country. It’s also a microcosm of the mixed attitudes about kratom use in general. Despite being outlawed in Malaysia for more than half a century, one recent study found that 88% of people in Malaysia use kratom on a daily basis. 

Borneo

Here at Golden Monk, we like to say that we modernize kratom, while honoring tradition. This established strain is a textbook example. Borneo Island is right smack in the middle of the kratom tree’s natural range across Southeast Asia. It’s also the location of today’s commercial kratom cultivation industry. It’s no coincidence that we sell the Borneo kratom strain in red, green, and white vein varieties.  

Other Popular Strains

These may not be bestsellers, but they are established kratom strains with a loyal following. Fans of these strains can detect the nuanced differences that speak to their individual wellness goals.  

Indo

If the Borneo strain is the best of Borneo Island, Indo is the best kratom in the whole of Indonesia. Once we got past Maeng Da and Bali, this strain was a must-have for our assortment of kratom products. 

Hulu

This ancient strain from a specific region of the Kapuas River was recently discovered as a commercially desirable type of kratom, both in terms of yield and unique effects. It’s also a relatively easy trip to transplant this variety to the kratom farms of West Kalimantan.  

Thai

One of the ancient hotspots of kratom cultivation and consumption, it’s no surprise that Thailand produced more than just Maeng Da in terms of kratom strains with enduring popularity. A must try for true kratom aficionados.  

Sumatra

A large island that flies under the radar, Sumatra kratom is purportedly an older ancient strain. Little is known about its origins, but it’s endured over the centuries as a widely consumed variety of kratom. 

Local Strains

Many regions throughout Borneo Island, where most kratom is grown today, have kratom strains named after them. Golden Monk doesn’t find there to be sufficient differences between these local strains and our Indo and Hulu varieties to include them in our product collection.  

In sampling what’s available in the marketplace, we try to curate a kratom collection that provides a tailored option for every kind of kratom user without adding needless complexity to the shopping experience. 

JongKong

This is a specific region of the Kapuas River on the eastern side of West Kalimantan, an Indonesian province on Borneo Island. 

Ketapang

This is the southernmost region, or regency, of West Kalimantan. 

Riau

This province is located in central Sumatra, a major island in the northwest part of Indonesia’s territory. 

Kali

Short for Kalimantan, it’s unclear to us the exact region of origin for this strain(s). Could be a catch-all for newer, locally produced strains.  

Rare, Specialty Strains

There are a few other types of kratom that are less popular including niche products or strains with especially dubious claims about their origins and effects. 

Bentuangie/Enhanced

This indicates that the kratom leaves have undergone fermentation or extended drying designed to enhance the composition and availability of alkaloids in the leaf material. Results are often mixed, both in terms of the manufacturer’s process and customer satisfaction.  

Vietnam

There is plenty of debate about whether Vietnam kratom is a legitimately different strain. One theory is that kratom trees in Vietnam show differences due to the more intense dry and rainy seasons there. However, it’s unclear how much the natural climate affects plant genetics given that nearly all commercially available kratom is grown in Indonesia today. 

Cambodia

Very similar to Vietnam based on geographical location, climate, and reputation with consumers, but it’s plausible a unique strain was developed in this country. 

Leaf-Shaped Strains

Rather than effects and alkaloid composition, these types of kratom get their name from the shapes of the leaves themselves.  

Elephant

This strain (or strains) is known for its oversized leaves with a shape that resembles elephant ears.

Horn/Horned:

This type of kratom has leaves with jagged edges that resemble the horns or a large animal. 

Super

This kratom has over-sized leaves that are distinct from Elephant or Horn shapes. Most often combined with other sub-types in product offerings, ie Super Enhanced Indo kratom.   

Branded Categories of Strains and Veins

This is something of an umbrella category including names for kratom blends, harvest times, enhanced processes, and branded marketing strategies.  

Yellow

This can be kratom leaves that are

Gold

This can be used to label an enhanced kratom process, or simply indicate that the brand thinks the kratom is one of the best products in their lineup. 

Dragon

Another common marketing strategy sometimes used to describe the color of the kratom as dragon scales. At one point, it was likely an attempt to gain customers from a now defunct brand. It sounds cool, we guess? 

Kratom is Nature's Secret to Enhanced Well-being

Our premium kratom products, sourced directly from the lush landscapes of Southeast Asia, are more than just a choice—they’re a lifestyle. Each Kratom leaf is meticulously selected to ensure the highest quality.