Mitragyna speciosa leaves, with their complex and rich chemical makeup, could easily have various practical applications in modern medicine, or become source of new and useful chemicals, which could be isolated from its specific psycho-physiologically active constituents.
Mitragyna speciosa Kratom is traditionally used as medicine South-East Asia, mostly for its pain killing properties, anti-diarrhoeal action (due to Kratom’s antinociception and inhibition of gastrointestinal transit, linked to opioid receptor stimulation) and for minor infections due to its immune system boosting / infection fighting properties. It is also commonly used as an ointment or poultice for wounds and as a cure for fevers. Mitragyna speciosa Kratom is also a cough suppressant, and a slight stimulant, which combined with its analgesic properties make it a little similar, and perhaps more effective to some modern O.T.C. cold medications.
As for the pure alkaloids, high amounts of mitragynine, behind some of Kratom’s analgesic effects are present in Mitragyna speciosa Kratom leaves, making it practical to extract. Mitragynine is weaker than morphine, but as explained, it does not induce as significant dependence issues as opiates – giving it potential for use as a low grade analgesic useful in treating minor to moderate pain, an analgesic some have compared in strength to codeine or propoxyphene.
The 7-hydroxymitragynine alkaloid present in Mitragyna speciosa Kratom, however, is said to have much stronger analgesic effects per weight than morphine, yet is much less abundant in most forms of Kratom. It might not be as practical to extract this alkaloid from the Mitragyna speciosa plant, but if mitragynine could be converted into 7-hydroxymitragynine, this substance might become a useful replacement for opiate medication used in serious pain management, yet with less potential complications.
Overall, Mitragyna speciosa Kratom alkaloids are very effective pain killers, roughly comparable in potency, but not necessarily in analgesic quality, to codeine. They are active orally, and unlike opioids, the cough suppression effect is not associated with emesis and dyspnoea (difficulty breathing). Kratom alkaloid’s respiratory depression is also weaker than that of codeine.
Kratom alkaloid’s opiate-like analgesic effects appear to be mediated mostly by delta and mu opioid receptors, and this activity is said to be selective for supraspinal opioid receptors (this was observed in mice).
Some research has already been done with regards to this painkilling, cough suppressant potential, but neither Mitragyna speciosa Kratom nor its alkaloids have yet been properly introduced into western medicine. Mitragyna speciosa Kratom through its array of secondary immune boosting chemicals such as ajmalicine, epicatechin and the various Uncaria alkaloids, has a clear potential advantage over current opioids, since these associated chemical have an antioxidant activity, cardiovascular benefits, and are immuno-stimulants, with ability to help fight off various viral and bacterial infections.
Used a replacement for codeine or opioids, Kratom’s immune enhancing qualities could help ease coughs while also fighting whatever infection is causing them, control pain for people recovering from surgical operations or injuries while also reducing the chances of local infections.
Other potential medical applications of Mitragyna speciosa Kratom and its extracted alkaloids could be found in more psycho-pharmaceutical uses, such as anxiolytics or antidepressants for mood and stress control, and for the treatment of A.D.H.D. or A.D.D.