Taking kratom tea is an easy way to experience the plant’s invigorating and mood-enhancing effects. The leaf of the Mitragyna speciosa tree contains alkaloids that interact with opioid receptors in the brain, with the effect being dependent on the amount consumed. In low doses (1-5 grams), kratom acts as a stimulant, increasing energy levels and making people more alert and sociable. Larger amounts (>15 grams) have sedative properties, causing drowsiness and calmness. Some people may even lose consciousness at this high dosage.
In traditional kratom tea, leaves are placed in boiling water and allowed to steep for a period of time. Usually lemon juice is added to encourage the alkaloid extraction from the leaves. The resulting invigorating and euphoria-inducing drink has a bitter taste, which some people may mask with sweetener. The invigorating effects of a small dose of kratom are felt within 10 minutes and last for one to one and a half hours. Some users report increased work capacity, sexual drive and a sense of wellbeing.
In the United States, kratom is widely available in capsules, powders and extracts, as well as in a variety of health food stores. However, the plant is unregulated and there is little to no oversight or quality control on the growth, harvesting, processing, packaging and labelling of kratom products. There is also no way to know how much of each active ingredient is contained in a particular product, and it can be difficult to determine the correct dosage. FDA modeling has suggested that kratom could have opioid properties and exacerbate opiate withdrawal symptoms, while other studies have reported cardiovascular complications such as seizures and liver damage from long-term use.