Citation: turnpike. "The Traditional Way: An Experience with Kratom (exp63602)". Erowid.org. Aug 9, 2007. erowid.org/exp/63602
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I stumbled across reports for kratom while researching the plant online. I didn't realize it had become so popular worldwide. I've lived in Thailand for the last 11 years and started using it here like the local people use it, that is just chewing the fresh leaves from time to time for an energy boost.
Reading reports I see there's a bit of misinformation about kratom. Yes it grows in Malaysia and to a lesser extent in Indonesia. I used to live in Malaysia and it's quite popular there, but in Indonesia I never met anyone who uses it. For sure it's more commonly used in Thailand than in the other two countries, and it seems to grow wild much more here as well. The name itself, 'kratom', is Thai (means 'hut', a reference to the shade of the broad leaves), which tells you something.
Anyway no one I've met in Thailand takes it as a tea or as an extract. I've heard of people taking it as a tea, but in areas where it's grown a lot - Minburi in central Thailand for example - everyone just chews the fresh leaves.
It's mostly used by the Thai Muslim community, because this (and ganja) isn't expressly forbidden by the religion, i.e., they don't drink alcohol but lots of Thai Muslims use kratom and quite a few also smoke ganja.
Yes it's illegal in Thailand since '85 but I've never heard of anyone getting busted for it here and it's sold in markets in Minburi, Surat Thani and other Muslim centres quite openly. The price varies from about one baht (about 3 US cents) per leaf up to five baht. Never heard of the 'rifat' strain, no one here uses that term. They talk about two kinds, 'white vein' and 'red vein'. Some folks claim one is better than the other but I can't tell the difference.
My usual dose is one to two whole leaves. I get a fine buzz from just half a leaf (the leaves are huge -- about 6-10 inches long). As has been noted it has the peculiar effect of being both stimulating and sedative. Rather than cancel each other out, the two effects seem to run parallel. I like to stash a handful of fresh leaves in the glove box of my car and when I get sleepy while driving, I chew one. I don't usually chew both leaves at the same time. Rather I chew one first, wait a half hour and chew the second. The effects last about an hour for me, sometimes a bit longer if I haven't had any kratom for a week or two.
One important thing to note is that, for me at least, I don't notice any increase in the effects if I chew more than two leaves. It's just a waste of foliage for me.
People here always tear out the long center vein before chewing. So do I, it's woody and unpleasant to chew on. Like the Thais, I keep a quid in my cheek and squeeze the quid gently against my gums so that the juice comes out. I do swallow the juice and so do the Thais. When the cud is reduced to a dry, flavorless pulp, I spit it out.
I was introduced to the stuff through my Thai wife's family. My father-in-law has a couple of huge trees out in back of his house in Minburi, one of them must be 50 feet tall, the other maybe 15 feet. Easily a lifetime's supply of leaves there. I've never actually had to pay for them as a result, I get stacks of them from my father-in-law, tied in neat bundles with bamboo string. I usually can't get through the whole stack before they start going moldy. I did try drying them once. The effect seemed the same but it's not pleasant chewing on the dried leaves, I only tried it once, as long as the fresh ones are available I won't do it again.
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