Exploring Kratom’s Ethnobotanical History

As more people learn of Kratom and its research potential, questions are being asked about its history. If you want to better understand Kratom and its role as an ethnobotanical, it helps to look at its history and ethnobotany in general.

Ethnobotanicals: What Are They?

Ethnobotany is an academic field of research that brings into conversation the history of indigenous communities worldwide and countless plant species. Many plants have had significant roles in the traditional medicine practices of these communities. Their role in the daily lives of these peoples is what characterizes them as ethnobotanicals. 

Not all of these plants are meant to cure diseases or fend off illnesses, but instead are used to maintain good health, often being consumed daily with multiple purposes. For example, a community’s staple ethnobotanicals may be used to eat and drink or as a topical wound treatment. 

Kratom’s Traditional Uses 

The Kratom plant, mitragyna speciosa, grows widely throughout Southeast Asia. For centuries, the indigenous communities throughout Malaysia, Indonesia, and other Southeast Asian countries have incorporated the leaves into their daily cooking and health customs. Most commonly, the leaves were chewed or muddled into hot water for tea.

In many of these places, these traditions are still carried out today. While most Kratom you see available for research is more refined, these methods are still useful in extracting the active compounds from the mitragyna speciosa leaves. 

The first reports of the use of Kratom leaves came from soldiers fighting in the Vietnam War. These soldiers learned of the leaves’ active components from the indigenous peoples and used their tactics, chewing on the leaves, to promote alertness during long watch periods.

How You Can Support Ethnobotany

When Kratom enthusiasts and researchers delve into the plant’s past, there is a common urge to support the traditions and origins which have been instrumental in making it so popular. You can promote Kratom’s ethnobotanical history and ethnobotany by purchasing from reputable dealers. 

Many ethnobotanicals grow in underdeveloped regions worldwide. Large corporations often see this as an opportunity for quick profits, taking advantage of the farmers. Kratom is cultivated by farmers who have been living on the land for generations, so researchers must support distributors that are fairly compensating these farmers. 

Some Kratom businesses run shady operations, cutting their product with chemical additives and not establishing relationships with the farmers. With these producers putting the communities in danger, you must support fair trade businesses so that less reputable companies don’t continue to grow. 

2 Steps To Show Your Support 

  1. You can start by purchasing your product from a dealer that ensures the Kratom is pure and fresh. If their products are pure, it means no contaminants have been used, which is a characteristic of an ethical company.
  1. Ensure your supplier is giving back to the growers in Southeast Asia. Not only should they be preserving the land through non-invasive operations, but they must also be generously compensating the farmers so they can earn a living and afford to maintain the long-term prosperity of their communities. 

If you find you are still looking for ways to help, conduct some studies. As Kratom is available in the USA for research purposes, you can learn more about the plant by taking matters into your own hands.

When researching, always develop a scientific method and document any results that stand out or are repeated. You can share these experiences with online communities or organizations like the American Kratom Association.

With more researchers learning about Kratom and its origins, the more likely its reputation will improve in the eyes of regulatory bodies like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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