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Exploring the Traditional Uses for Kratom

With centuries of reported popularity, kratom history is vast and fascinating. The knowledge we have regarding kratom has changed so much over the last centuries with the ability to conduct more specific research, but there is still much to be learned by those who first wrote about and spoke about kratom. For someone new to kratom, hoping to learn more before ordering the supplement for the first time, studying its history can provide a unique perspective on the plant. Moreover, kratom connoisseurs may simply be curious about how this plant came to be so popular. Join Royal Kratom in exploring the many traditional uses for kratom. 

Where Does Kratom Come From?

A tropical evergreen tree, kratom is indigenous to many nations in Southeast Asia: Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, and Myanmar. So, most of kratom’s history stems from these regions. The kratom tree itself, Mitragyna speciosa, is a member of the Rubiaceae family—also known as the coffee family. Similar to other members of the coffee family, kratom contains a mix of all-natural alkaloids. These organic chemical compounds are naturally found in the plant, such as caffeine in coffee. In kratom, the primary alkaloids are mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. 

Nowadays, uses for kratom may look different because we have access to this specific information. This allows us to better understand kratom and its potential uses to make an informed decision on purchasing this herbal product. However, centuries ago, those who used kratom only had word-of-mouth and traditional medicine experts to inform them about kratom. While the historical claims made about kratom’s potential uses may not apply to what we know about kratom and medicine today, it’s still fascinating to understand the long history of this unique leaf.

Traditional Uses

In many Southeast Asian cultures, uses for kratom in folk medicine date back to at least the 19th century. Throughout early kratom history, they believed that chewing the kratom leaves could potentially soothe discomfort, boost energy, increase appetite, or even encourage sexual desire. In addition to chewing the kratom leaves, early cultures used the leaves and their extracts to help heal wounds. These leaves were applied to a wide variety of ailments, ranging from coughs to diarrhea and other intestinal issues. 

For example, if someone was struggling with low energy levels, a traditional healer from this region centuries ago may have given them some white vein kratom. Traditional uses for kratom also included discomfort relief. If somebody else was feeling some aches from long hours working an arduous job, like farming, that same healer may offer some red vein kratom. However, these are all traditional, historical uses for kratom. Nowadays with modern medicine, there are specific treatments that are proven successful to address many of these issues. You can still buy kratom online if you’d like to support your wellness or learn more about this all-natural herbal supplement.

Kratom and Labor

Aerial view of an Asian pagoda temple


This all-natural supplement’s popularity throughout kratom history was not limited to health uses for kratom. In fact, many workers—especially those in tedious, strenuous professions—believed kratom would help them get through their workday. They claimed that kratom helped keep them alert, thus preventing exhaustion from setting in. Moreover, they found that kratom could improve their mood, assisting with typical stressors of their job. 

Additionally, similar to its uses as folk medicine, many manual laborers believed it would help them get through their difficult, long shifts. In this traditional use case, green vein kratom was most popular due to its reputation for being uplifting and soothing. Again, traditional uses for kratom gained popularity based on word-of-mouth rather than actual evidence or research. Historically, many Malaysian and Thai laborers and farmers claimed that chewing kratom leaves would make them work harder. Thus, chewing kratom leaves became a popular tradition among many Southeast Asian farms long ago.

Kratom in Social Gatherings

Another interesting tidbit of kratom history is its ritual applications. In Thailand, kratom was an important aspect of their ritual worship of their gods and ancestors. Additionally, they would offer it as a snack to new guests entering their homes. In these cases, the kratom would be combined with some sort of sweetener to alleviate its bitter flavor. Among the various uses for kratom throughout history, these socio-religious ceremonies are probably the most unique.

However, kratom was still popular outside of religious worship. Oftentimes, those same farmers and laborers who would chew kratom leaves during their workday would return home and drink kratom tea socially. In some Muslim communities in Southeast Asia, kratom as a drink became a popular substitute for alcohol. Many claimed red vein kratom can encourage relaxation, which made it popular to drink in the evenings to socialize and wind down after a long day of strenuous labor over the centuries.

Discover More at Royal Kratom

Early cultural uses for kratom included traditional wellness, labor, religious, and social contexts. Kratom’s history is fascinating to explore, especially to compare and contrast why people purchase kratom today. With modern research regarding kratom and its properties only recently picking up, there’s still much more to be discovered about kratom and how it’s used. However, if the plant’s long history says anything about its future, it’s that kratom is here to stay, even if it’s not always used in the same contexts.

Keep up with Royal Kratom’s blog to keep up with all the latest updates about kratom research, regulations, historical uses for kratom, and more. Our industry experts are eager to share everything we know with our customers. Shop your favorite kratom strains from Royal Kratom, and enjoy free same-day shipping and a 30-day satisfaction guarantee.