Kratom, an herbal drink that relieves pain and enhances moods for some enthusiasts, has slipped past the mainstream media for several years. Lately, though, news reports have begun surfacing across the country. Locally, CBS 11 News tackled the subject on Nov. 12 in a report called “Kratom –– Painkiller or the Latest Designer Drug?”
Kratom comes from the leaves of an evergreen tree found in tropical Southeast Asia. The crushed leaves have been used as home remedies for centuries for everything from depression to chronic pain to impotence. The herbal crowd has known about its medicinal qualities for years.
But kratom grew controversial once it began to be sold in head shops, increasing its reputation as a source for a recreational high that can become addictive. Sold in concentrated form, it has a stimulating effect that can be similar to energy drinks. Some manufacturers have been accused of using unlisted or questionable ingredients, although no deaths have been attributed to use of kratom.