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Kratom is commonly consumed as a liquid extract, powder, or in capsules.

Curious about kratom? You’ve come to the right place. Understanding what kratom is and where it comes from can be key to using it correctly. Since kratom comes in different forms, it’s important to find what’s right for you.

Read on for a beginner’s guide, including details about different kinds of kratom.

What is Kratom? 

Kratom comes from the leaves of the kratom tree, which are native to Southeast Asia in areas such as Thailand and Malaysia. These trees are part of the coffee family, which may explain why kratom is described as invigorating at lower serving sizes. Kratom extracts are concentrated forms of the substance extracted from the leaves of the tree.

Making Sense of Mitragynine

Like many other trees and plants, kratom is also known by its botanical name, Mitragyna speciosa. It was named for a powerful alkaloid called mitragynine that is thought to be responsible for many of kratom’s potential beneficial properties.

Mitragynine interacts with the body’s opioid receptors. These receptors are responsible for mediating chemical changes related to pleasure and pain relief.

Potential Uses

Since ancient times, field workers in Southeast Asia have been known to use kratom in small serving sizes to boost stamina and productivity while also relieving fatigue. In higher serving sizes, kratom had historical significance and was used as part of socio-religious ceremonies. While not used in the Western world this way, in Eastern cultures kratom was used for the purpose of spiritual transcendence.

Although kratom has not been indicated for any specific medical condition, many people use it as a form of biohacking. Taken in lower serving sizes, kratom is described as energizing. At higher serving sizes, users report more soothing experiences.

Strains and Veins

Similar to substances like cannabis, kratom comes in different strains. Each strain is prized for its potential effects, and many times selecting a strain is a matter of personal preference.

The three major strains of kratom are named according to color. Red, green, and white veins are strains that share the same potential benefits. However, users may prefer one strain over another according to desired effects.

For example, red vein strains are thought to be stronger and more soothing, thanks to typically containing a higher amount of the alkaloid 7-hydroxymitragynine (which is also responsible for the reddish color). White veins generally have higher levels of mitragynine, the alkaloid thought to be associated with more energizing effects. Green vein strains are considered a “happy medium” between red and white veins.

Strains are also often named according to their area of origin, such as:

  • Red Bali
  • White Thai
  • Green Malay

The words vein and strain are often used interchangeably, although strain technically refers to the type of kratom while vein is used in conjunction with color. In fact, two different veins can be mixed together to create a unique strain. For example, once you’re more comfortable with the proper serving size, you may choose to blend Green Thai with Red Thai.

Different Kinds of Kratom Products

Today, kratom is available in many different forms—from tablets to to-go packs. Powders, liquids, and capsules are among the most popular products and are considered some of the easiest ways to consume kratom.


Kratom powder is created when the tree’s green leaves are dried, then crushed or powdered. Typically, they are green or light brown in color, depending on the strain.

Sometimes, these products contain powders created from other substances, so it’s always a good idea to look at the label before you buy. Words like “raw leaf” or “pure” may be able to alert you to a purely kratom product.

Keep in mind that containers of powder generally contain more than one serving per container. In other words, you’ll usually need to scoop out a smaller amount to achieve the appropriate serving size.


Kratom liquid extract is made using an extraction process that isolates active alkaloids (such as mitragynine, mentioned above) from the raw leaf kratom. As a result, a more concentrated liquid is created. This liquid extract can either be consumed in small amounts on its own or added to another beverage.

As a note, kratom liquid extracts are different from kratom teas, which are typically made by mixing raw leaf powder into boiling water. The potency of kratom tea is generally determined by how concentrated the powder used to make it is.

Liquid kratom is well-liked, especially since the amount you choose to consume can be tailored to your liking. As long as liquids are measured out according to direction, they can be beginner-friendly. Like powders, many liquid kratom bottles contain more than one serving, so it’s important to check the label in order to portion it properly.


Capsules are considered a convenient form of kratom due to their ability to be easily taken on-the-go. Beyond being portable, capsules are virtually flavorless, which is great for people who appreciate potential benefits but don’t necessarily love the taste. They are also a great format for beginners, since capsules deliver the same amount of kratom each time.

While commonly confused, capsules and tablets are two different forms. Capsules come in some sort of casing (usually gelatin or cellulose), while tablets use a binding agent to stick together.

How To Find Kratom That’s Right For You

Like supplements or other substances on the market, not all kratom is created equal. Some vendors lower the quality of their product by adding unnecessary additives.

On the other hand, reputable brands provide pure kratom products. Often, you can recognize a reputable brand through their third-party testing, which means the company takes extra measures to ensure safety for their customers.

Another way to recognize if a company is reputable is to see if they are an American Kratom Association (AKA) Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) Qualified Kratom Vendor. This accreditation reflects a commitment to the current best standards of manufacturing, and certifies that the company is compliant to these standards.

MIT45 is an AKA GMP Qualified Vendor, participates in third-party testing, and conducts an extra step called the Triple Purification Process. In other words, MIT45 takes pride in bringing you the safest, most pure product.

Quick Tips for First-Timers

If you’re just starting out with kratom, keep in mind that a little goes a long way. The general rule of thumb is to start small and work your way up. Before you purchase, it’s also helpful to look at the label and understand the percentage mitragynine content (which indicates potency) and strength (i.e. “extra strength” may not be appropriate for beginners).

In terms of serving size, an introductory or “beginner” serving is considered to be 0.5 to 1 grams (or a ½ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon if you’re measuring out your own liquid or powdered extracts). A low serving size is 1-5 grams, at which level users report having heightened energy and focus. Depending on the user, more than 5 grams may cause more calming effects, which may not be desired depending on what you use kratom for.

The more severe unwanted effects often occur at higher amounts, and dependency is more likely to occur with frequent use. In other words, it’s best to limit intake to low serving sizes and only take kratom when you need it if you want to avoid serious effects. Luckily, when kratom is used according to direction, most unwanted effects are mild or can be avoided altogether.

Still Have Questions?

Our FAQ page contains answers to many common questions you may have, along with answers related to buying kratom (such as shipping or return policies).

For more specific questions regarding your individual health experience, it’s best to meet with a holistic health practitioner to see if kratom could be a good fit for you. Be sure to tell your healthcare team about any medications or supplements you’re already taking to avoid potential adverse interactions.

In Conclusion

Kratom comes in various strengths, sizes, and strains. While capsules are preferred for convenience, powders and liquids are also popular forms. Working with a reputable brand and your healthcare team can help you find the type of kratom that’s the right fit for you.


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Annika Weeks

Annika Weeks ("Anni") is a registered nutrition and dietetic technician (NDTR). With expertise as a health professional and experience as a patient in the healthcare system, she hopes to bridge gaps by creating more credible nutrition, health, and wellness information online.