Guide to Kratom

What is kratom, and why is there so much to learn about it?

Kratom itself is a tropical tree that grows in certain Asian countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Borneo. The leaves of this tree can be harvested and dried, and these dried leaves are what people are referring to when they talk about "kratom."

In regions where the tree grows native, these leaves have been used for hundreds of years as a traditional botanical. Teas that are made from the leaves were also used in many different types of ceremonies.

Today, traditional usage of these leaves is less common, and kratom use is not as common as it once was in those areas. In the last ten to twenty years, however, kratom use around the world has increased exponentially.

How Does A Kratom Tree Grow?

As mentioned, Kratom is a tropical tree that is native to countries like:

  • Thailand
  • Myanmar
  • Borneo
  • Indonesia
  • Philippines
  • Malaysia
  • Papua New Guinea

In these tropical regions, the conditions are perfect for Kratom tree growth, and the trees grow wild. With the right conditions, the trees can grow very tall. They average around 50 feet in height, but they can even soar to heights of 80 feet or taller!

Now that you know a bit about where kratom comes from, you might be interested to learn more about why people consume kratom and kratom products.

Kratom leaves contain two compounds which set it apart from other leaves:

  • Mitragynine
  • 7-hydroxymitragynine

Both of these compounds are active alkaloids that occur naturally in kratom leaves, and they may have specific effects in the body when kratom leaves are consumed. Due to the recent popularity of kratom and limitations of research, these compounds aren’t as thoroughly studied as compounds like CBD and THC that are found in another plant, marijuana.

Still, there are a few things that are known about how alkaloids like mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine appear in kratom leaves and how they may affect the body.

Kratom Leaf Variation

Different kratom plants have different amounts of mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine in their leaves. The primary alkaloid, mitragynine, is usually present in amounts of up to 2%, while 7-hydroxymitragynine, also known as 7-OH, shows up in much smaller concentrations.

Soil components, nitrogen availability, carbon dioxide levels, temperature, and sun exposure can all have an effect on the alkaloid level in kratom trees. Like any plant, changing the environment the tree grows in will change how it forms.

Depending on how kratom is grown, what the conditions are, and how it is harvested, the amount of alkaloid concentration present in the final, dried leaf may vary. These variations allow for different varieties and strains of kratom to make their way to the market, and they can all have very different chemical compositions.

Kratom’s Potential Effects

While there are some limitations on what we can and cannot say about kratom due to its status as a food and tea product, we can share why people choose to use kratom.

Kratom is used around the world by many different kinds of people for many different reasons.

When you’re shopping around for kratom products, you’ll notice that there are many different country names, strain names, colors, and other variations tossed around:

  • What’s the difference between Super Malay and Green Bali?
  • Does it matter if I buy white or green?
  • Should I try all of the strains right away?

There is a good chance that you’re going to have a lot of questions as soon as you start scrolling through available kratom products, and we get it! There are a lot of different strain and color names, and they can be overwhelming.

Let’s break down what these words usually mean, and why they aren’t as important as you might fear they are.

Kratom Colors

Kratom is known to come in a few different colors:

  • Red
  • Green
  • White
  • Yellow

Traditionally, these names referred to the color of the veins on the kratom leaf, which often correlates to how mature the leaves are. Ranked by maturity, the colors are typically ordered from red, to green, to white. Yellow kratom is usually a mix of multiple leaf types, and its name does not directly reflect on the vein color.

Each color of kratom strain has a different amount of alkaloids, but the amount is not always directly correlated to the color.

The color used in kratom names today represents the type of leaf, when it was harvested, how it was processed, and how it is being marketed.

Kratom "Location" Names

Many kratom strains have the name of a country in their strain name, but some of those named countries don’t allow kratom to be exported. What’s the deal?

While kratom exportation is banned in some regions, that was not always the case. Certain characteristics of kratom leaves were discovered before those bans, and even after the bans, some specific strains seemed to be linked to those regions.

As kratom made its way out of traditional use in Asia and into a worldwide industry, kratom importers and vendors needed to find a way to differentiate the strains that they were selling. That is when the names came to be.

A name is just a name, so “Malay” kratom may not be made from Malaysian kratom trees. Still, that specific strain will always carry similar characteristics. The name is more about consistently labeling a strain for what it is and less about what the name represents.

A Word of Caution

Just as mentioned above with the confusing location-named kratom varieties, there is still some discussion about whether or not kratom vein color actually makes a difference in the final product.

There is, of course, a difference between these products. In addition to them looking different, kratom consumers can recognize the difference between color varieties that they use regularly and another option.

It is possible, however, that the processing and drying method contributes more to the color than originally believed. That doesn’t make a big difference, though, but keep it in mind while shopping around. Don’t feel like you have to stick to one color just because you liked it first!

At the root of it all, each name indicates the plant, alkaloid content, and processing method for a specific kratom strain. Unique names separate these items, and there is overlap between them.

The background of Kratom is interesting, but the thing that you are probably most interested in for today’s article is how to safely buy kratom. As kratom is a somewhat unregulated food product, it is important to buy with the right amount of caution.

When buying any food or tea product, you want to be sure that you are choosing the right product for your needs and also paying attention to where you buy it from. If you choose the wrong vendor, you may end up with a sub-par product that can cause you more harm than good.

The same can be said when you are shopping for kratom products.

You want to be sure that you are following the appropriate procedure to buy only high-quality, reliable kratom products.

We recommend paying attention to the following steps and points when you are shopping around for your next serving of kratom.

Step 1: Learn A Bit of Background

If this is your first time trying kratom, we always recommend that you do some personal research. All herbal foods and teas are going to affect people differently, so you need to be aware of what the potential effects are.

Lucky for you, you’re in the right place to learn just that!

Today’s buying guide can serve as a great introductory course to kratom. Through this article and the other information in our Resources Blog, we hope that you can learn all that you need to know about kratom before buying.

Step 2: Consider The Different Strains

Kratom plants may contain different amounts of alkaloids depending on where they are grown, and the final kratom teas may differ because of how they were harvested, processed, and dried.

That is how different kratom strains came to be!

Each strain is known for having different chemical makeup as well as different potential effects, so you will want to consider which types of strains you want to try. It’s okay if you want to experience all of the strains!

The only way to find out which strains are going to be beneficial for your personal use is by trying them, but try to start with a short list of what sounds most useful to you. This short list will help you select what to buy more easily.

Step 3: Choose a Vendor

It’s time to choose a vendor, and we believe that this is the most important part of buying kratom.

Since the kratom industry is still somewhat unregulated, there are, unfortunately, bad vendors out there that want to take advantage of people. These unreliable vendors sell untested or adulterated kratom, and the contamination can cause people to become sick or ill.

For that reason, you want to make sure that you are always choosing to purchase your kratom from a reliable vendor.

In particular, you want to look for a vendor that does the following:

  • Has an open lab testing policies and is willing to share their testing procedure
  • Follows Good Manufacturing Practices, established by the FDA
  • Registered as a GMP Qualified Vendor through the American Kratom Association

Of these three things, we believe that vendors who are registered as GMP-compliant with the American Kratom Association are the most reliable. This program was specifically designed to ensure that safe kratom can make it to the market for kratom consumers, and the company that runs the program is fully devoted to consumer safety.

Any vendor that takes the time to become GMP-compliant is serious about your safety, and that’s a good vendor to purchase from!

Here at Kraken Kratom, we are proud to be a GMP-compliant brand.

Step 4: Store Your Kratom Properly

Once you receive your kratom tea powder, leaves, or capsules, you will want to make sure that you store it properly. If stored improperly, the kratom may lose its effectiveness or become unusable, so take care to do this.

Ideally, kratom should be stored in an airtight container in a dark area. We recommend putting kratom into a tinted glass jar if possible but putting it in a glass jar in a dark area of your cupboard works, too.

You also want the kratom to be kept dry and cool. If your kitchen tends to get very hot, try to choose a cool closet or other dark, cool location in your house. You can even split up your supply if needed. Keep what you’re currently using somewhere convenient, and keep the rest in a cool, dark place.

It’s time to find out more about specific kratom products and how they are used. We’ll be introducing some of our most popular products in each category as you learn more about kratom and its consumption methods.

Powder Kratom

One of the most popular ways to use kratom is as a tea. Powders can be easily mixed into foods such as smoothies, salads, drinks, and more. Additionally, it is very easy to buy in bulk.

Using Powder Kratom

Many people use kratom powder by simply mixing it into their drink of choice. From water to smoothies to juice, it’s easy to simply mix a serving of kratom into these liquids.

Others go through a more complicated process to make kratom tea from this powder that they can then drink. The benefit of making a tea is that some of the excess plant matter is filtered out while brewing. Plant matter causes some people to have adverse effects, so it is worth trying both methods.


  • Cheap in bulk
  • Easy to take
  • Versatile
  • Easy to store


  • Can be hard to measure
  • Can be messy

Our Top Sellers:

Bali Kratom Powder: Our classic, premium Bali kratom. Our most popular kratom powder tea of all time.

Maeng Da Thai Kratom Powder (Red Vein): This is our original Red Vein strain of Maeng Da Thai Kratom. It’s freshly packaged and finely powdered, every single time.

Maeng Da Thai Kratom Powder (White Vein): The White Vein variation of our popular Maeng Da Thai Kratom.

Crushed Leaf Kratom

Kratom can also be bought in their loose leaf tea form, and kratom consumers then use the leaves to make their own kratom tea. This method of consumption is almost more traditional, as kratom was originally chewed by farmers in the fields in the whole leaf form.

Leaf kratom has been crushed and deveined, in most cases, so you can simply start brewing your tea.

How To Use Leaf Kratom:

Leaf kratom can be easily brewed into a tea, as explained by our guide here. This takes around 10 to 20 minutes, and the resulting tea can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days, so you don’t need to go through this process daily.

Many people prefer this method because they ingest less plant matter, and that can be easier on their stomachs.


  • Less plant matter in final tea
  • Can alter the flavor with honey, sweetener,
  • You control the brewing process


  • Time-consuming
  • Brewed tea can be bitter

Our Top Sellers:

Maeng Da Thai Kratom Leaf (White Vein): The leaf version of one of our most popular kratom blends.

Bali Kratom Leaf (OG/PC): Another high-quality leaf version of a popular kratom strain; an industry standard.

Kratom Extract

Another type of kratom that you will come across is the extract. Extracts are a distilled liquid version of kratom, which concentrates the amount of kratom so that each serving size can be smaller while still having the same amount of alkaloids.

Extractions use some type of solvent (ethanol, water, or CO2) to suspend the alkaloids. The alkaloids were pulled from the kratom, and some extracts also include other compounds from the kratom as well.

There are also powdered extracts. For these, the solvent is evaporated away, and this leaves you with a highly concentrated alkaloid powder. These are different than kratom powders as they do not contain the entire leaf, only the selected compounds.

How To Use Extracts

Liquid extracts are very easy to drop directly into the mouth or mix into another liquid. Powder extracts can be brewed into teas, put into capsules, or mixed into food items.


  • Incredibly easy to take
  • Very high alkaloid content
  • Can use less due to higher concentration


  • Other potentially beneficial plant parts aren’t included
  • Can be too strong for some people

Our Top Sellers:

Gold Reserve Kratom Extract: This is a 52% pure mitragynine extract kratom leaf blend that has around 11% in total mitragynine.

Kraken Reserve Liquid Kratom Extract: This impressive liquid extract has 35.33mg of mitragynine per 5ml serving for a total of 106mg per bottle.

Kratom Capsules

Capsules are simply a means of taking either powder kratom or powder extract kratom. Capsules can be filled by buying empty capsules, or you can buy pre-made capsules. Many people choose to make their own capsules because they can save money doing this, but it is time-consuming.


  • Can be used on the go
  • Can buy pre-made or make your own
  • Saves money
  • Easy to store


  • Not every variety available in pre-made
  • May need a capsule kit to make your own

Our Top Sellers:

Bali Kratom Capsules: These 00-sized capsules contain 750 mg of kratom; the average mitragynine content is 1.8%.

White Vein Borneo Kratom Capsules: These 00-sized capsules contain 750 mg of White Vein Borneo; the average mitragynine content is 1.4%.