Kratom typically comes in one of three forms: as crushed kratom leaf, as powdered kratom leaf, or as a kratom extract. While most kratom and herbal enthusiasts have a good idea about what crushed and powdered kratom is, many are not as clear about kratom extracts. This can be due to inexperience with plant extracts, confusing vendor marketing, or a variety of other reasons. We hope that after reading this article series, you will be better understand what is kratom extract, how it differs from plain leaf kratom, as well as learn some tips for when shopping for kratom extracts.
Plant extracts, of which kratom extracts are only one type, are concentrated forms of that plant in which certain beneficial parts of the plant, called alkaloids, are collected and other unwanted parts of the plant are removed. The process of collecting these alkaloids and removing the filler is called an extraction. The end result of the extraction process, the collection of alkaloids, is called an extract. While this may sound technical, in reality, many of us perform and use extractions everyday without knowing it. One well known example would be brewing coffee. Coffee drinkers use hot water to extract one of the most famous alkaloids, caffeine, from the coffee bean grounds while leaving the coffee bean husks behind. To a certain degree, all plant extracts are similar to this. They collect certain plant parts (alkaloids like caffeine) by removing the fiber and other filler material from the plant using some sort of extraction medium. In the case of coffee, the extraction medium is water, in other cases is can be alcohol, or even something more exotic like acetic acid (vinegar).
When creating a kratom extract, the alkaloids within the kratom leaf are collected and the leaf fiber is removed. There have been over 25 alkaloids identified in kratom and those alkaloids make up 0.5% of the leaf weight. The other 99.5% of the weight is made up of filler material (fiber, water, etc). To give you an idea of how much material is collected and how much in thrown away in a kratom extraction, picture this: If you were to have 1 ton (2,000 lbs) of kratom leaf and perfectly extracted all the kratom alkaloids out of it, you would be left with around 10 lbs of kratom extract when done. As you can see, extractions can be very effective in collecting the chemical ‘essence’ of the plant into a much more concentrated form.
While the kratom leaf has many alkaloids of interest to the herbal or kratom enthusiast, there are a two that are particularly interesting. The first, found only in the kratom tree, is called mitragynine. Approximately half of all the alkaloids in kratom is mitragynine. So, if we looked at the 10 lbs of kratom extract we created from the 2000lbs of kratom leaf, around 5 lbs of it would be mitragynine. Out of all the 25 of the kratom alkaloids, mitragynine has had the most study as it was long believed to be the primary active alkaloid in kratom. This study has shown that mitragynine has a novel effect of producing stimulation in small amounts while producing sedating effects at larger amounts . While mitragynine was thought to be the most active alkaloid in kratom, more recent research has shown that a large part of its activity is instead likely to originate from the alkaloid called 7-hydroxymitragynine. 7-hydroxymitragynine, accounts for around 2% of the total alkaloid content in plain leaf ( or 0.2 lbs of our 10 lbs of hypothetical kratom extract). Studies have shown the this alkaloid is around forty-six times more active the mitragynine and seventeen more times active than morphine. Needless to say, this potent alkaloid has a significant effect on the overall make-up of kratom. This collection of alkaloids, in differing amounts and with differing effects are what make up kratom extracts.
So, now that you know what is kratom extract and how it and other plant extracts such as kava extract are made, we hope you will continue on to the next kratom extract article which will discuss in detail: types of kratom extracts, tips and things to look for and avoid when out to buy kratom extract and finally, we will wrap up with an article on how to make your own kratom extract. Stay tuned!