We will explain kratom alkaloids which are the natural phytochemicals responsible for the unique effects of kratom.
What are Alkaloids?
Plants, like all living things, contain a variety of natural chemical compounds. In the study of plants, we refer to these as “phytochemicals” (literally, “plant chemicals”). Alkaloids are a special class of organic chemical compounds. They are found in a wide variety of plants, including poppy, ergot, and mitragyna speciosa (the evergreen tree from which kratom is derived).
Of the large numbers of phytochemicals, alkaloids are somewhat unique. Alkaloids tend to have strong physiological effects on the human body when ingested, even in low doses. Depending on the alkaloid content in a given plant, these strong effects can vary widely — from anti-inflammatory to pain relief to mood-elevating effects and more.
The potency and diversity of alkaloid effects have led to extensive clinical research and the development of several alkaloid-based drugs. Two of the most popular alkaloids, for instance, have very different effects when ingested.
Caffeine, an alkaloid commonly found in coffee beans and tea leaves, is used worldwide for its mild stimulant effects. By contrast, morphine is an alkaloid found in opium poppies grown for narcotic drugs, and it causes a strong sedative and pain killing effect. Different plants produce other alkaloids — but most discovered alkaloids, have a significant impact on organisms, like humans, that ingest them.
Although alkaloids were initially believed to be produced only by plants, recent lab research has uncovered that they are naturally present in some specific animal species!
The Most Common Kratom Alkaloids
Again, different species of plants have different alkaloid concentrations, and certain unique alkaloids are found in only one or two plant species.
When it comes to kratom, university led research has discovered at least 28 different kratom alkaloids. Of these, it is believed that mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine have the most impact when ingested.
- Mitragynine is the most abundant kratom alkaloid, making up roughly 66% of total kratom alkaloid content. However, this concentration varies based on several factors, including growing conditions, environmental conditions,harvesting time, and strain of kratom. Lab Tests on kratom samples from different strains show that mitragynine levels tend to be higher in white and green vein kratom strains. Mitragynine levels tend to be lower in red Malaysian kratom strains.
- 7-hydroxymitragynine is a much rarer kratom alkaloid, producing only 2% of total alkaloid content. It tends to be the fourth most abundant alkaloid found in kratom, though its concentration varies significantly based on a number of factors. Red vein kratom strains contain higher than average levels of 7-hydroxymitragynine content. The strain containing highest levels of 7-hydroxymitragynine is highly potent red vein Maeng Da.
As the growing kratom plant matures, the balance of its alkaloids naturally changes over time. For example, mitragynine levels are highest when the plant is not yet mature, while 7-hydroxymitragynine levels gradually increase as the plant grows and matures.
This gradual change in kratom alkaloid levels also causes a visible change in the colors of the plant. As the levels of mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine shift, the veins of the kratom leaf change color. At its yougest stages (when mitragynine is most abundant), the veins are white. They then gradually become green. When the plant is fully mature (and has the highest detectable 7-hydroxymitragynine levels, the veins become red. In this sense, the balance of kratom alkaloids is directly responsible for the different potency and effects of various kratom strains. In fact, all kratom strains are basically the same, distinguished only by the total alkaloid content that determines both their color, potency and effects.
What are the Effects of Kratom Alkaloids?
As with most chemical alkaloids, the total alkaloid content of your favorite kratom strain can have a significant impact on your system. Unfortunately, however, the FDA has blocked kratom vendors from openly discussing the effects of kratom or its alkaloids.
Consumers report taking white maeng da kratom for a wide variety of health reasons, and the total alkaloid content of each strain determines the effects that a user will experience. Experienced users tend to find a strain of kratom that is effective for their needs.
We strongly recommend new users to research the health effects of kratom alkaloids before making a purchase. Many online kratom communities are existing for this purpose, including the American Kratom Association and Reddit’s Kratom Community.
Other Kratom Alkaloids
Although mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine have received the most clinical attention, kratom contains at least 26 other alkaloids. While many of these chemical alkaloids are unique to kratom, some are also naturally produced in other plant species.
So far, only very limited university research studies have been done on these common alkaloids. But as more attention is paid to the many possible health applications of kratom alkaloids, we’ll likely come to a better understanding of how these common alkaloids work within the body.
Significant kratom alkaloids at least 1%
- Paynantheine: The second most abundant kratom alkaloid, it makes up 8.6-9% of kratom’s total alkaloid concentration.
- Speciogynine: The third most abundant kratom alkaloid, making up 6.6-7% of kratom’s total alkaloid concentration.
Minor kratom alkaloids less than 1%
- Mitragynine oxindoles A and B
- Corynoxeine: Also found in certain varieties of Chinese Cat’s Claw
- Speciophylline: Also found in Chinese Cat’s claw
- Ciliaphylline: Found most prevalently in young twigs and stem bark of mitragyna speciosa (the kratom tree).
- Rhynchophylline: Also found in Chinese Cat’s claw It has a similar chemical structure to mitragynine.
- Isorhynchophylline: Also found in the Uncaria family of plants, where it is the most prevalent alkaloid.
- Ajmalicine (Raubasine): Also found in devil peppers and bright eyes.
- Akuammigine: Also found in the seeds of Picralima nitida (akaumma).
- Isomitrafoline: A newly isolated kratom alkaloid; very little is known about it.
- Corynantheidine: Also found in devil peppers and members of the pausinystalia plant genus.
- Corynoxine A and B: Also found in certain varieties of Chinese Cat’s Claw (Uncaria tomentosa).
- Epicatechin: Also found in dark chocolate, green tea, and grapes.
- Mitraversine: Also present in kratom’s sister plant, mitragyna parvifolia. Has a very similar chemical structure to mitragynine.
Kratom Alkaloids, the Bottom Line
When it comes to getting the effects you want out of your kratom powder, alkaloids are the key. The special blend of alkaloids in kratom varies from strain to strain, and these critical differences are (along with dosage amount) responsible for the many discovered of effects that users report from kratom use.
Although kratom contains almost 30 in total, the most plentiful alkaloids are 7-hydroxymitragynine mitragynine, paynantheine, specigoynine . Taken together, these make up approximately 84% of kratom’s total alkaloid concentration. Of these, current research shows that mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine contribute the highest level of kratom effects.
The balance of kratom alkaloids varies significantly between different strains or colors of kratom. Even within a particular strain, however, levels of a given kratom alkaloid can vary significantly. These variations are typically based on human factors such as weather conditions, time of harvest, and the mineral content of the soil in which the plant is grown.
Because total alkaloid content varies so widely, even within kratom of the same strain, it is recommended to find kratom that has been organically grown so as to maximize alkaloid yield.
At Tropic Health, we bring you nothing but the highest quality. Wehave relationships with Southeast Asia’s most experienced and knowledgeable kratom farms. Each of our farmer families was chosen based on their proven expertise with the strains in which they specialize. We certify and lab test every batch of our kratom to verify its alkaloid levels and to ensure that it is free from contaminants. We work extremely hard to find the best kratom in southeast asia so we can guarantee you can have a satisfying kratom experience every time.