Exploring the History of Kratom and Where It Comes From

Welcome to Red Dragon Kratom! Even if you’re not actually a first-timer, you can still glean some important information from this article. Whether you’re a beginner or a veteran, you should strive to learn as much about Mitragyna speciosa as possible. After all, you can’t go wrong by staying informed on topics that interest you.


What Is Mitragyna Speciosa?

Mitragyna speciosa is a deciduous tree that’s native to Southeast Asia, particularly the countries of Indonesia, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, Myanmar, and Malaysia. If you haven’t already noticed, all of these countries are either partially or entirely in tropical areas. Unlike deciduous trees in temperate climates, Mitragyna speciosa doesn’t lose its leaves thanks to Southeast Asia’s year-round abundance of sunlight, warm temperatures, and heavy rainfall.

Typically, this relatively small tree stays between 15 to 50 feet tall though it can reach heights upward of 75 feet.


What Is Kratom?

“Kratom” is a multi-faceted term that can refer to the Mitragyna speciosa tree itself or its leaves. Generally, when English-speaking people say “kratom,” we refer to dried, powdered kratom leaves. Although colorations can vary from tan to red and dark brown, powdered kratom is typically green.

As you’ve learned in history class, Europeans colonized much of the world between the 16th and 20th centuries. Although there are still some colonies controlled by Western countries, most now-former colonies have long since earned their independence.

Back when colonialism was still running strong, a Dutch colonialist named Pieter Korthals first formally described kratom back in 1839. Although he originally named it Stephegyne speciosa, the scientific community has used Mitragyna speciosa since the taxonomist George Darby Haviland came up with this name in 1859.

When kratom was still new to the Western world, Korthals and company learned that Mitragyna speciosa leaves were widely used by Southeast Asian laborers to power through their workdays. It was also used for medical reasons, researchers found.

Although Westerners have long had the opportunity to learn about kratom’s existence, it was never imported in any significant amounts until recently. The United States got its first taste of kratom after the Vietnam War. After American soldiers had learned about kratom during their stays in Vietnam, some veterans brought kratom back to the United States with them.

Despite this initial introduction, kratom wouldn’t gain any sense of popularity in the United States until the past two decades. According to the American Kratom Association, some American head shop owners began importing kratom in the mid-1990s.

Based on personal anecdotes you can dig up across the internet’s many kratom forums, it’s clear that most current users didn’t start using kratom until after 2010. Even further, most of these people seem to have come across kratom in just the past few years.


Where Does Kratom Come From?

Indonesian kratom harvesters and processors widely agree that most modern kratom users live in the United States. Although people from all over the globe use this botanical supplement, the U.S. is easily the number-one importer of kratom on planet Earth.

Considering the broad economic potential of kratom, American consumers, retail vendors, and wholesalers have an incentive to grow Mitragyna speciosa themselves. Although you can find personal accounts of Americans growing lone kratom trees, there’s no evidence to support that substantial amounts of kratom are grown here in the United States.

Mitragyna speciosa loves warm, wet climates. It doesn’t grow well outside of tropical or subtropical areas. Although it can grow in places like Florida or Southern California, for example, there isn’t much kratom growing in the U.S.

Of the few countries where kratom is indigenous, Indonesia is the only place where it’s fully legal. Further, most wild kratom trees grow in parts of Borneo, the third-largest island in Southeast Asia, that Indonesia owns.


As such, it’s safe to say that most powdered kratom comes directly from Indonesia.

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