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Aug 02

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What is Ketum?


Ketum is a tree native to Southeast Asia (Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar [Burma], Indonesia, and elsewhere). Its botanical name is Mitragyna speciosa. Ketum is in the same family as the coffee tree (Rubiaceae). The leaves of kratom have been used as an herbal drug from time immemorial by peoples of Southeast Asia. It is used in folk medicine as a stimulant (at low doses), sedative (at high doses), recreational drug, pain killer, medicine for diarrhea, and treatment for opiate addiction. The trees are reaching 50 + feet and about 15 feet wide. The parts used from the tree are the leaf and stems. Ketum is also known as Kratom, Kakuam, Kraton, Ithang and Thom. More than 25 alkaloids have been identified with the top three being: mitragynine, paynanthine and speciogynine. Mitragynine is believed to be the primary acting alkaloid and is specific to Mitragnya speciosa.

Here is few Scientific classification:-

Kingdom: Plantae
M. speciosa
Binomial name:
Mitragyna speciosa

There are about 25 alkaloids that have been identified in this species of tree, including mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. Mitragynine is believed to be the alkaloid responsible for most of the plants narcotic effect, but it is still unknown as to how the other alkaloids affect humans. 7-hydrohydroxymitragynine is of particular interest because it has been shown to have opiod agonistic properties, as well as profound analgesic effects. Studies involving rats have suggested that 7-hydrohydroxymitragynine is significantly more effective with regards to analgesic effects than morphine. 7-hydrohydroxymitragynine also appears to be absorbed orally better than morphine. It is likely that 7-hydrohydroxymitragynine plays a significant role in the effects of the Ketum plant when consumed. Ketum also contains the alkaloids paynanthine, speciogynine and several less abundant alkaloids.


Chemical properties:

Even through Mitragynine is an opiate withdrawal suppressant, its effect are not reversed by the opiate antagonist nalorphine. The opiate effects from Ketum are mediated by the delta and mu opiod receptors. Mitragynine in low doses produces a yohimbine-like attaching to alpha-adrenergic receptors(and partial attaching to the delta opioid receptors) - hence the stimulating effects at low doses. At higher doses, attachment to the delta opiod receptors increases and in very high doses we see attachment to the mu receptors - hence the sedative effects. Mu crossover is reportedly increased if opiate drugs are present.

Other effects of mitragynine are a reduction in smooth muscle tone, central nervous system depression and local anesthesia. Acute side effects include increased urination, dry mouth, loss of appetite, and constipation coupled with small, very dark stools. As with opiates, Ketum in large doses can cause nausea and vomiting. Heavy use can also result in a prolonged sleep - that being said, some find Ketum stimulating and have trouble sleeping.

Thought to be the primary alkaloid in Ketum, 7-hydroxymitragynine, interacts with the three major opiod sites: Kappa, Delta and Mu. 7-hydroxymitragynine binds preferably to Mu's with a pKi value of 8.01+/- 0.02. Its only recently that 7-hydroxymitragynine has been thought to be the primary active. Previously, the majority of research has focused on the whole Ketum plant and mitragynine. Subsequently, less is know of 7-hydroxymitragynine and research continues.

One last chemical in Ketum worth a shout is (-)-epicatechin. This is the chemical found in Dark Chocolate, Green Tea and Cranberry juice.(-)-Epicatechin has a wide range of benefits from reducing cancer risks, reducing the effects of free radicals on the body , and is a very powerful antioxidant - helping to prevent fat cells from oxidizing and blocking arteries. It helps with urinary infections and is beneficial to diabetics because it mimics insulin. It helps with blood sugar levels, inhibits alpha-amylase and prevents growth of bacteria such as E-Coli.   


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