What Are Alkaloids?
Alkaloids are unique compounds containing nitrogen atoms in a negative oxidation state, giving them alkaline properties. This is the reason why alkaloids have therapeutic properties. Plants containing more than 0.001% of alkaloids are considered alkaloid sources. We consume several products that regularly contain alkaloids, such as tea leaves, cacao seeds, potatoes, and tomatoes. When ingested, alkaloids have strong physiological effects. Throughout the history, they have played a prominent role and have been widely used for treating:
- Neurological disorders
- Infectious diseases
- Metabolic disorders
Common Alkaloids Present In Kratom
According to the studies, at least 28 different types of alkaloids are present in kratom. However, the two main alkaloids are Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. Both of them are responsible for the significant effects of kratom. Let’s discuss them and other available kratom alkaloids in detail.
- Mitragynine: It is found in abundant quantities in young kratom, and its concentration can go up to as high as 66% of the total Kratom alkaloid concentration. Several factors can affect the concentration of Mitragynine, such as growing conditions, harvesting time, and kratom strain.
- 7-Hydroxymitragynine: Less common than Mitragynine; this makes up only 2% of the total kratom alkaloid concentration. It is the fourth most abundant kratom alkaloid produced when Mitragynine is converted to 7-hydroxymitragynine through oxidation. It is commonly found in red vein kratom strains and highest in Red Vein Maeng Da. It is known for its relaxing effects, effective sedation, and pain relief.
- Paynantheine: It is the second most abundant kratom alkaloid and makes up about 8.6 to 9% of the total kratom alkaloid. It is believed to act as a muscle relaxer. It is commonly found in Red Maeng da, Red Borneo, and Red Bali Kratom.
- Speciogynine: There is very little information on this alkaloid, irrespective of its being the second most abundant kratom alkaloid. Preliminary research suggests that it serves a function similar to Mitragynine but has lesser psychoactive properties. It primarily works as an analgesic.
- Mitraphylline This alkaloid consists of less than 1% of the total kratom alkaloids and acts as an antihypertensive, muscle relaxer, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, and anticancer activities.
- Isorhynchophylline: This alkaloid has immunostimulant, antihypertensive, and neuroprotective properties. It makes up less than 1% of the total kratom alkaloids.
- Others: Though the list is long, some other alkaloids in kratom include – Corynoxine, Epicatechin, Isomitraphylline, Rhynchophylline, Ajmalicine, Akuammigine, Ciliaphylline, Corynantheidine, Corynoxeine, Isomitrafoline, Isopteropodine, Speciofoline, etc.
The effects and benefits of kratom are due to the kratom alkaloids. Each kratom strain, from red to white, green, and gold, has a unique blend of alkaloids. The presence of different alkaloids is responsible for the different effects.