Benefits of Kratom

A Brief History of Kratom: Who Discovered It and When?

kratom history - Kratom Exchange

There are 3 to 5 million kratom users in the United States alone.

You may have heard about this controversial plant. It has helped millions of people keep their daily pain in check without having to resort to prescription drugs.

But where exactly did the plant come from? Who discovered its benefits? When did people begin packaging and selling it?

While using kratom to help with pain is relatively new in North America, it has a long and abundant history in other parts of the world.

In this blog post, we’ll go over a brief history of kratom. We’ll look at kratom history from its discovery to the plant alternative hailed by millions around the world.


In order to dive into kratom’s history, we have to take a look at what it is exactly.

Kratom is a plant, also known as Mitragyna speciosa. The leaves are dried out and crushed into pills or powders for use of pain relief.

The plant is indigenous to Southeast Asia. It is most commonly found in Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia. The trees flourish in tropical landscapes, hence their discovery there.


Kratom has been around for an indeterminate amount of time. This is because it has been used and chewed by populations in South East Asia for centuries. There hasn’t been a lot of recorded history on kratom prior to the Dutch making their way to Malaysia.

The first known mention of kratom in Western literature was by Pieter Willem Korthals. He worked for the East India Company and observed individuals chewing the herb.

In order to help relieve the pain of monotonous tasks of hard labor, or to relieve pain in general, many people were observed to chew it all day. They also often brewed it into teas to help relax.

It has since been banned in Malaysia and Thailand, and most kratom manufacturers now get their plants from Indonesia.


Before westerners arrived in Southeast Asia, there had been a long history of kratom use by native individuals. As mentioned previously, kratom might have helped with the chronic pain of hard labor. However, people also used kratom for other reasons.

Kratom was also used as a way to help combat fatigue and increase appetite and sexual desire. It was thought that chewing on them would best create this effect.

The leaves or the extracts from the leaves were also placed on wounds. This would help heal them, as well as work as a topical anesthetic.

Coughs and upset stomachs were also treated with kratom. Individuals found that the leave extracts could help with diarrhea and stomach bugs.

Thailand also used the leaf as part of a ritual in ancestor worship. They would often combine the kratom leaves with something sweet. It would be given out as a snack before ritual ancestor worship.


In 1907, British botanist L. Wray decided he wanted to harness the power of kratom and see if it could be used as an herbal alternative in the United Kingdom and the Western world. He sent samples to a colleague at the University of Edinburgh, who was able to isolate the strains that they could use medicinally.

By 1921, some of the psychoactive strains of the plant were finally identified. In 1930, I. H. Burkill stated that the plant could be used to help relieve symptoms of diarrhea and other stomach issues.

Individuals in Southeast Asia were already well aware of this fact. However, it took the westerners quite a while to catch up.

In 1943, the Thai government banned kratom. 


Today kratom is banned in many countries or a controlled substance. It is currently illegal in Thailand and Malaysia but does remain legal in Indonesia.

Within the United States, there has been widespread controversy surrounding the plant. Today, kratom is legal in many states. Some, however, still lists it as a Schedule I substance. Before you purchase kratom, you should be aware of your country and state’s laws regarding possession. Online shops like Kratom Exchange allow you to buy kratom online. You should always buy your kratom from a trusted vendor with a track record.

While some states classify it as legal for all over the age of 18, others do not.


Like many things, kratom history is fraught with political issues and struggles. One of the reasons kratom has become illegal is not necessarily because of its danger to the population, but because of the fact that it limits the sale of other drugs. Many people prefer kratom over other pills or substances that each country can legally tax or receive profit from. This creates a complicated situation.

Have a look at our products to find the perfect kratom for your needs.


About Eric Rollings

An advocate and enthusiast of natural remedies, first discovered kratom nine years ago when searching for solutions to his social anxiety and ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). Struggling with these challenges led him to explore alternative treatments, ultimately finding comfort in the traditional Southeast Asian botanical, kratom. Since then, Eric has dedicated himself to understanding and promoting the responsible use of this herbal supplement. His personal journey has inspired him to engage with various communities, sharing his knowledge and experience, and he has become a respected figure in the field. Through seminars, writings, and active participation in online forums, Eric continues to spread awareness of kratom, hoping to assist others who face similar struggles. His passion and dedication have made him a prominent voice in the natural health community.

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8 thoughts on “A Brief History of Kratom: Who Discovered It and When?

  1. John says:

    I’m one of those people that are so frustrated that kratom doesn’t do anything. I pack empty capsules full also I mix powder with warm water. I get nothing no pain relief no energy no euforia. I’ve tried green sumatra,red bali,white indo. Nothing

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