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Leaves of Mitragyna Speciosa
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Since ancient times, kratom leaves have been commonly used for medicinal purposes. Botanically they belong to the Mitragyna speciosa tree of the Rubiaceae family. It has its origin in the tropical and sub-tropical regions of Southeast Asia; mainly in Thailand as well as in Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia etc. and Africa. The initial and official documentation about this plant was done in the 19th century by the Dutch botanist P.W. Korthals. He examined the stigmas in the first species and found that their shape was very similar to a bishop's mitre; and hence named it accordingly.
Fresh kratom leaves of Mitragyna speciosa are generally chewed continuously throughout the day, by manual laborers or workers to get a refreshing effect. The yellow color flowers of the kratom tree grow in clusters; whereas the evergreen and glossy leaves are usually dark green in color; and often grow up to 7 inches (180 mm) in length and 4 inches (100 mm) in width. The stem is straight and branching, whereas the leaf is almost oval in shape.
This medicinal Kratom leaf of the Mitragyna speciosa tree is also known as biak, ithang, kakuam, krahtom, ketum, or thom; in different South-East Asian languages and locations. These Kratom trees are also known for their fine timber. They are mostly 12–30 ft tall and 15 ft wide, and can even grow taller from 40-100 ft under better conditions. Wet and humid, fertile soil, with medium to complete sunlight, within an area protected from strong winds; are the ideal conditions its growth.
These leaves regularly shed and get replaced, however sometimes leaf shedding also occurs due to climatic conditions. The leaf fall is more plentiful during the hot and dry climate of the year; and there is ample growth of new leaves during the rainy season. It has also been observed that, if they are not grown within their natural tropical environment, the leaves usually fall with colder temperatures mostly around 4 degrees Celsius. Recently, Kratom is even used by young people to make a refreshing drink, using tea made from its leaves.
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