The Study of Mitragyna Speciosa: Getting to Know the Plant

Mitragyna Speciosa, widely known as Kratom, is a plant from the Rubiaceae family, native of South East Asia, Indochina and Malesia floristic regions. The plant is botanically related to the genera Corynanthe and Uncaria, as well as sharing similar biochemistry. According to there been many studies conducted on Mitragyna Speciosa in Asia, such as 7-hydroxy speciociliatine compound identification by Kitajima et al. in 2006, and analgesic evaluation, mitragynine and 9-methoxy mitralactonine identification by Takayama et al. in 2000. Most of the studies used gas chromatography and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) techniques to study its metabolites and compound structures.

Maeng Da Leaf

Despite its long history in Southeast Asia, the attention and interest towards Mitragyna Speciosa in the West has only started to develop in the 1970’s. A search of the US National Library of Medicine’s PubMed database in February 2012, using the keyword “kratom,” yielded 35 published articles and reviews, 86% of which were published in or after the year 2004, 11% between 1988 and 1997, and 3% was published in 1975. A further search in the same database, using the keywords “Mitragyna Speciosa,” yielded a total of 65 published articles. 75% of them were published within the past 10 years.

Recent studies have used a variety of methods including hot plate and pressure or inflammation tests in mice and rats, isolating a wide variety of chemical compounds from Mitragyna Speciosa. It has shown to exhibit opioid-like activity on the smooth muscle systems of animals and in ligand-binding studies, as well as showing itself to be sensitive to inhibition by opioid antagonists. Ligand-binding studies and those using opioid antagonists indicate that these effects are mostly mediated by actions on μ- and δ-type opioid receptors. The plant also indicated some anti-inflammatory activity.

There are more than 40 chemical compounds within the leaves of Mitragyna Speciosa, including alkaloids. Further studies by Chintrakarn et al in 2005 indicates that more than 25 alkaloids have been isolated from the leaves of the plant with mitragynine being the most dominant. Other notable alkaloids are mitraphylline, specifying, and 7-hydroxymitragynine, currently widely considered as the primary active chemical in the plant, as well as mitragynine pseudoindoxyl. The chemical structure of mitragynine incorporate the nucleus of the tryptamine. Some studies also consider the phenolic methyl ether to be stronger in analgesic paradigms. Various aspects such as the protein binding properties and other properties such as the elimination or metabolism is not yet known.The amount of mitragynine within the leaves depends highly on many factors. One of the major factor determining the amount of mitragynine in the leaves is the location of the tree. When trees are grown in Southeast Asia, the levels of mitragynine have a tendency to be higher. As the plants are grown elsewhere, such as lower level grounds and greenhouses, the level of mitragynine would lower, even disappear completely.

The Australian Journal of Crop Science tried to explain this phenomena by researching various ways in which Mitragyna Speciosa cope with environmental stresses. To cope with heat stress, plants implement various mechanisms. This study observed those same characteristics in the plant, and the information gained during this study significantly adds to the understanding of the molecular genetics of Mitragyna Speciosa. I’ve concluded someone of my own studies and kratom was provided by Kratom Emporium, where i bought kratom for a good price, and the quality was great.

Thank you for reading and watch out for the next post!