Kratom: Herbal Medicine or Nacrotic Drug

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Duangkaew Panyaphu
Sumethee Namkeard
Witapa Inchai
Kulsiri Yossathera

Abstract

Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa Korth.) is an endemic plant species of Southeast Asia. The main constituents in kratom leaves are alkaloids, especially mytragynine and its derivatives, which possess psychological activities as well as nociceptive activities similar to those of morphine. This plant has been widely used throughout Southeast Asian countries asa herbal drug for decades. Kratom has been incorporated into many Thai traditional recipes for the treatment of diarrhea, cough, fever, muscle aches, opium withdrawal, diabetes and hypertension. It is also found in materia medica of Thai traditional medicine. In Thailand, kratom is used in men to combat fatigue and enhance tolerance to hard work under the scorching sun. Recently, there have been reports of kratom abuse, where kratom is mixed with other psychoactive substances, known as a kratom cocktail, 4x100. Thus, many countries have classified kratom and its constituents as controlled substances and narcotic drugs and imposed strict regulations on the production, utilization and distribution of this plant and its products. Nevertheless, the additional pharmacological and toxicological properties, methods of extraction with higher yield and the development of new pharmaceutical products of kratom and its constituents are continuously explored in many countries. Therefore, Thailand should review the role, regulation, and value of kratom especially in terms of herbal medicine.

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References

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