First, it Belonged to the Natives:
You can find The History of Kratom in the flooded wetlands where it grows wild. Mitragyna Speciosa was born in Southeast Asia. Some natives consider its leaves sacred, while others are grateful for its medicinal properties.
In the tropical and subtropical regions of Southeast Asia and Africa, Kratom is a part of ceremonial and medicinal practices. Tribal societies used it as a mild stimulant by chewing its leaves. Natives also eat it, smoke it, or brew it into a tea with other plants.
Then, Came the Scientists:
The first person to formally write about Kratom was Dutch botanist Pieter Willem Korthals in 1839. His finding described Kratom as an opiate alternative by the natives.
In 1859 George Darby Haviland officially classified the species name as Mitragyna Speciosa. Now we call it Kratom because, well, it’s much easier to say!
Scientist L. Wray sent samples of Kratom to Edinburgh University in 1907. Finally, in 1921 Fray isolated the Mitragynine Alkaloid and gave it the name “Mitragynine.”
Next, Came the Law:
The history of Kratom continues… Just over 20 years later Kratom became illegal, in Thailand, on August 3 of 1943. Passing the Kratom Act 2486, the Thai Government bans the planting of this sacred plant. The reason?
Thailand was already in turmoil during the 1930s, and late into that decade brought another World War. Luang Phibusongkhram ruled Thailand, who took power using the same propaganda techniques spouted by Hitler and Mussolini.
The Government promised it’s citizens a fully democratic election sometime in 1940. But by 1939, they started arresting political opponents, monarchists, and democrats. The government rigged their trials, leading to execution. These were the first political executions in over a century.
Mass Media Used and Abused it’s Power to Shape Support for the Regime
Phibusongkhram passed several strict laws, giving the government power of almost unlimited arrests and complete press coverage.
Opium trade on the black market was one of the largest in demand. In addition to the ban on Kratom, the Thai government passed laws that levied duties and taxes. Across the board from growers to manufacturers to the distributors, shop owners, and even the end consumer.
The outcome of the laws caused citizens to work in the fields, anywhere from 16-18 hours a day. Kratom became banned, but luckily not forgotten. The workers would often chew the plant as it helped ease sore joints and muscles from the intensive labor. As a bonus, the chewer feels instant euphoria, a boost of energy, and a sense of calmness.
The Kratom plant stayed illegal until a Christmas miracle arrived on December 25, 2018. Kratom was granted legal status in Thailand. Inevitably, the door for medical usage and research will be open. It will lead to the end of the stigma and fear incorrectly given to the plant, throughout the history of Kratom.
Now, Comes Popularity:
The American Kratom Association (AKA) estimated in 2016 three to five million active Kratom users in America. Kratom is legal under federal law in America but regulated on a State by State basis.
The American Kratom Association, founded in 2014, works hard to preserve and protect consumers’ freedom in the United States. They provide support to consumers through education. Another goal is to demonstrate responsible use and practical knowledge of Kratom. Finally, to protect natural resources by advocating for sustainable harvesting techniques and reforestation efforts. Get involved on their website for more great information about the history of Kratom and its mission.
The history of Kratom is a winding path, and it is yet to conclude. Kratom’s history in the United States is short, and there are surely many more developments to come. To learn more about the science of Kratom, and U.S. government involvement, head on over to our blog on Kratom facts and science.