Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is an herb that acts as a stimulant in low doses and has sedative effects in higher doses. It is reported to reduce pain, improve mood and boost energy.
The FDA advises consumers not to use kratom and warns of risks of addiction, psychosis and death. Alternatives for pain relief include yoga, acupuncture, massage therapy and CBD products.
The kratom plant, Mitragyna speciosa, contains alkaloids that can have stimulant, sedative or opioid-like effects. It is used as a pain reliever, to help with opioid withdrawal symptoms, to reduce anxiety and depression and to treat other health conditions. It has not been clinically studied, and there is little information about its safety or effectiveness. It is not recommended for people who have serious heart, liver or kidney problems. A person who has experienced an episode of tonic-clonic seizures should not use kratom.
Depending on the dose, kratom may cause side effects like nausea, stomach upset, changes in blood pressure and heart rate, dilated pupils, tremors and loss of coordination, jerky muscle movement and sweating. In addition, long-term kratom use can lead to addiction. In some cases, a high enough dose can induce opioid-like symptoms that may include drowsiness, euphoria and numbness of the lips, tongue and throat.
In studies done with rats, kratom has shown antidepressant properties and it reduced hunger by lowering corticosterone levels. The kratom plant has also been used as an analgesic, an astringent, a cough suppressant and an antidiabetic.
While kratom has been used in the past for pain relief, researchers don’t know if it is safe or effective for this purpose. The most effective way to manage pain is with a prescription from a doctor.
Ginger Root Powder
The plant Mitragyna speciosa, also known as kratom or red mahuang, is native to Southeast Asia and cultivated in tropical regions around the world. Its leaves contain psychoactive alkaloids that have stimulant and opioid-like effects, depending on dosage. Low doses may induce euphoria, increase work capacity and alertness, improve social abilities and decrease fatigue. Larger doses produce sedative and pain-relieving effects similar to opioids.
The FDA spokesperson says patients who have opioid use disorder should see their health care professional and seek treatment for addiction. “There are three FDA-approved products [buprenorphine, methadone and naltrexone] that are effective in treating opioid use disorder,” the spokesperson says. “We encourage primary care providers to help their patients make informed decisions and think twice before suggesting kratom as an opioid replacement therapy.”
In the United States, 91 people died of kratom-related overdose in 2016-2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A kratom overdose is a medical emergency that may lead to seizures, respiratory failure and death, especially if combined with alcohol or other drugs of abuse. Symptoms of overdose include muscle weakness, slow or labored breathing, vomiting and dehydration. Kratom can also exacerbate the effects of other “drugs of abuse,” including benzodiazepines, stimulants and opiates, Dr. Dwenger adds. It can cause nausea, vomiting and seizures, even in small amounts, and is not recommended for people with certain health conditions such as liver or kidney problems.
Black Pepper Extract
The kratom plant (Mitragyna speciosa) grows in tropical climates and is harvested from the leaf, which can be dried, ground or chewed. It is consumed for its stimulant, opioid and sedative effects. It has been used to treat pain, depression and withdrawal symptoms from opioids. Kratom is sold online and at some brick-and-mortar stores. It can cause side effects including loss of appetite, fatigue and tremors. One substance in kratom leaves, mitragynine, interacts with the body’s opioid receptors to produce euphoric and pain-relieving effects; other chemicals, such as 7-a-hydroxymitragynine, bind to the stimulant receptors in the brain to produce invigorating effects.
In a study published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, Griffin and colleagues tested 15 different products labeled as kratom or that showed up when searching for “kratom.” The researchers found all the samples contained mitragynine on their labels, but none contained the narcotic 7-hydroxymitragynine. They also found that the product’s effectiveness was largely determined by its dose. Higher doses produced more sedation and less pain relief, while lower doses were more stimulating.
Cohen recommends that anyone considering using kratom talk to a medical professional first. People with chronic pain might benefit from FDA-approved opioids, he says, while those struggling with anxiety or depression should seek help, which may include medication and psychotherapy. In addition, he warns that kratom may interfere with drug-metabolizing enzymes and increase the risk of overdose or death if taken with other medications or opioids.
Slippery Elm Bark
Slippery elm (Ulmus rubra) is an American native tree with wide-ranging health benefits. Its inner bark contains chemicals that accelerate mucus secretion, making it effective against stomach ulcers, colitis and diverticulitis. It is also helpful for indigestion and constipation. It is sometimes combined with other herbs to treat diarrhea and hemorrhoids. In addition, it may be helpful for psoriasis, and studies indicate that the mucilage from slippery elm coats the esophagus and helps prevent inflammation caused by reflux of stomach acid into the throat.
It is thought to be safe, with few side effects. However, more research is needed to determine its effectiveness. It has been used for centuries by Native Americans and early settlers as a soothing drink. Its mucilage is also used as a topical treatment for skin conditions, such as burns and sores.
You can brew a tea from the bark or purchase slippery elm supplements. The recommended dosage is about one teaspoon of powder or extract per cup of water, diluted to be consumed at room temperature. However, you should always consult the supplement label and follow the directions carefully. Dietary supplements are not regulated the same way drugs are, and some products might be falsely advertised or have negative side effects. It is best to choose a product that has been third-party tested for safety and quality. Kratom capsules