What Is Kratom Tea? Benefits, Risks, And More

Written by Sindhu Koganti , BTech (Biotechnology), Diploma In Nutrition

Kratom tea is well-known for its stimulant and energizing effects. The leaves of the kratom tree have a long history in traditional medicine. They are loaded with alkaloid compounds, which are said to have anti-depressant, analgesic (pain-relieving), and anti-anxiety properties. So, taking kratom tea in limited doses may help alleviate pain and relieve anxiety.

In this article, we explore the health benefits of kratom tea, how to make it, and its potential side effects. Keep reading! 

What Is Kratom Tea?

Kratom tea is prepared by brewing kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) leaves or mixing their powder in water. It has been used in Southeast Asia for centuries. It is said that field workers used to chew these leaves to increase their endurance, energy, and heat tolerance and to relieve fatigue.

But, is kratom tea safe to drink? Check out the answer in the next section.

Is Kratom Tea Safe?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved kratom and its related products for medical use (1). But, it has been used in Asia to ward off fatigue, cough, diarrhea, and as an alternative to treat opioid withdrawal (2).

A review published in Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation suggests that kratom intake in small doses (1-5 grams) may act as a stimulant and an analgesic (pain killer) besides increasing energy levels. But, a higher dosage (5-15g) was shown to have a sedative effect, similar to that of opioid drugs like morphine and codeine. It makes people feel tired and euphoric, and may even cause seizures, coma, impaired memory function, and death (3).

That said, kratom tea may also have certain health benefits if taken in an appropriate dosage. Read on to learn all about them.

Health Benefits Of Kratom Tea

1. May Relieve Chronic Pain

The use of kratom is increasing rapidly, especially in the United States for managing opioid withdrawal and pain (2). Kratom (leaves or powder) tea contains more than 40 active compounds. Mitragynine, a major alkaloid compound found in kratom, binds to opioid receptors in the brain and helps relieve chronic pain (4), (5).

2. May Treat Depression And Anxiety

Kratom has anti-anxiety, antipsychotic, and antidepressant effects. Consuming it may improve your mood and treat depression and anxiety (6), (7). However, further research is needed to understand the benefit of kratom.

A study conducted at the University of Florida (USA) found that kratom has a similar effect as opioid pain relievers. It relieves pain and mood disorders (8). Lyophilized kratom tea (LKT) was also shown to help relieve pain and reduce opioid physical dependence (9).

Some people also use kratom to improve their sexual performance and enhance their physical endurance. However, more extensive and high-quality studies are needed to understand these mechanisms. Also, there is a need to set specific and credible guidelines for the management of kratom intake.

Making kratom tea is a quick and easy affair. Learn how to do it in the next section.

How To Make Kratom Tea

What You Need

  • 3 cups of water
  • Kratom powder(depends on usage)
  • Honey (optional)

Process

  1. Bring the water to a simmer in a saucepan.
  2. Remove the water from the stove and add the kratom powder. Allow the tea to steep for 15 minutes. You can steep for a shorter period for a mild tea.
  3. Strain out the kratom powder.
  4. Add honey or any sweetener of your choice to the tea.
  5. Serve at room temperature.
  6. You can also make ice tea by adding ice cubes.

Wondering how long kratom tea stays in your body and shows its effects. Find out in the next section.

How Long Does Kratom Stay In Your System?

A small dose of kratom tea (powder) starts showing its effects in around 10 to 15 minutes. The effects of higher doses may last up to eight hours, while the peak effects are believed to last for 1.5 to 2.5 hours after the intake.

It takes one day for your body to eliminate half of the kratom you consume and five days to completely drain it out from your body. It also depends on your body’s metabolism.

While kratom tea does offer some great health benefits, it also comes with its set of side effects. Find out if its side effects outweigh its health benefits in the next section.

Risks Associated With Kratom Tea

Excess intake of kratom tea may cause side effects like (10), (11):

  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Itching
  • Sweating
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Increased urination
  • Constipation
  • Dehydration
  • Psychosis

Long-term consumption of this tea may be addictive (2). A study conducted on 2,312 persons linked its use with toxicities that caused agitation, tachycardia, drowsiness, vomiting, and confusion, seizure, withdrawal, hallucinations, respiratory depression, coma, and cardiac or respiratory arrest. The findings suggest kratom poses a public health threat due to its availability as a herbal supplement (12). Besides, one to eight weeks of its regular intake (powder or tablets) may lead to the onset of acute liver injury (13).

Trista Best (RDN) says, “An individual who has consumed this tea for a long period can experience withdrawal symptoms like rage, muscle aches, and insomnia. So the risks simply are not worth the perceived benefits.”

Kratom tea is restricted in many countries due to the limited research available on its health benefits. The FDA does not monitor the purity of kratom supplements. Besides, kratom may interact with some drugs (14). Hence, consult a doctor before consuming kratom tea or its supplements.

Kratom tea has a safer alternative with a similar stimulant effect. What is it? Scroll down to find out.

Best Alternatives For Kratom Tea

Kristin Gillespie (RD, MS) says, “For those seeking the stimulant effect of kratom tea, a great alternative is coffee (which comes from the same plant family). Coffee also has a natural stimulant effect but is felt to be much safer than kratom tea.” Drinking three to four cups of coffee a day is linked with certain health benefits (15).

The Final Takeaway

Kratom has long been used as a recreational and therapeutic herb to treat pain, anxiety, and depression and as a substitute for opium. It has stimulant effects if taken in small doses. However, its excess intake may cause moderate side effects like loss of appetite, hyperpigmentation, itching, and nausea to major side effects like insomnia, dehydration, and psychosis. In worst cases, kratom intake may even cause seizures, coma, impaired memory function, acute liver injury, or death. Besides, the FDA has listed kratom as a drug of concern due to its potential for abuse and addiction. Remember, it may also interact with certain prescription drugs. Therefore, consult your doctor before consuming this tea.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Is kratom tea stronger than kratom powder?

It highly depends on the quantity of powder you use to prepare your kratom tea. But, most people feel that kratom powder is stronger than kratom tea.

Does boiling kratom kill the alkaloids?

Yes. The alkaloids in kratom get destroyed by boiling. However, they won’t get destroyed if you simmer water at 180-190°F.

How does the taste of kratom tea compare to other herbal teas?

Kratom tea has a more bitter and earthy taste than other herbal teas. People usually add natural sweeteners like honey to kratom tea.

What is the difference between kava and kratom?

Kava tea is made with the root of the kava plant, while kratom tea is made from the kratom tree leaves.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. FDA and Kratom
    https://www.fda.gov/news-events/public-health-focus/fda-and-kratom
  2. Pharmacology of kratom: an emerging botanical agent with stimulant analgesic and opioid-like effects
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23212430/
  3. Biochemical Benefits Diagnosis and Clinical Risks Evaluation of Kratom
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5402527/
  4. Neurobiology of Kratom and its main alkaloid mitragynine
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0361923016300582
  5. Kratom—Pharmacology Clinical Implications and Outlook: A Comprehensive Review
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7203303/
  6. The Potential for Kratom as an Antidepressant and Antipsychotic
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7309668/
  7. Kratom use and mental health: A systematic review
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0376871617305586?via%3Dihub
  8. Patterns of Kratom use and health impact in the US-Results from an online survey
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28521200/
  9. Lyophilized Kratom Tea as a Therapeutic Option for Opioid Dependence
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33017752/
  10. Novel Psychoactive Substances—Recent Progress on Neuropharmacological Mechanisms of Action for Selected Drugs
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5563308/
  11. Kratom DrugFacts
    https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/kratom
  12. Kratom Use and Toxicities in the United States
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31099038/
  13. LiverTox: Clinical and Research Information on Drug-Induced Liver Injury
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK548231/
  14. Refined Prediction of Pharmacokinetic Kratom-Drug Interactions: Time-Dependent Inhibition Considerations
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33093187/
  15. Coffee consumption and health: umbrella review of meta-analyses of multiple health outcomes
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5696634/

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