Kratom is a fairly new addition to Western Culture and has quickly become available in Europe and the US. Hailing from South East Asia, this wonder plant is often sold in powdered extract form.
But why kratom? Why does it hold such a special place in the mysticism of South East Asian cultures? We explain the history behind kratom uses in religious ceremonies.
Where Does Kratom Come From?
Part of the coffee plant family, kratom is a tree commonly found throughout South East Asia, particularly Thailand, the Philippines, and New Guinea. Throughout history, it has been an integral part of religious ceremonies.
Its full genus is Mitragyna speciosa, and the leaves of the kratom tree contain two compounds.
Kratom may enhance a heightening of the sense. In the west, it is commonly available in the ground down, powdered form, though you can also find it in capsules.
There are geographical variations of kratom, such as Green Borneo kratom. This plant has a slightly higher alkaline content that can provide energy and positivity. Red kratom provides calmness and sedation while white kratom has a similar but less potent impact than green.
Kratom Uses in Buddhism
Kratom was sought after by Monks who wished to speak with the gods. Although there are many veins of Buddism, some of which do promote the use of drugs, in many places kratom is not classified as such.
In ancient buddhist practices they said it would help a person feel closer to the constant cycle of death and rebirth integral to Buddhist culture. Buddhism also has a history of using botanicals to heighten the senses. Ancient monks are known to have used the Blue Lotus plant for the same effect.
This was believed to promote a mild psychotropic state.
Kratom and Islam
Although not cultivated or widely used in the Middle East, kratom is used heavily in South East Asian Muslim areas. The Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat areas of Thailand, close to the border with Malaysia, use kratom as a substitute for some things which the religion forbids.
Spirituality and Its Links to Kratom
Those who seek to become more spiritual have a penchant for liking kratom. Some say its qualities are similar to the leaves of the coca plant or khat. Tantric spirituality as practiced on the Indian subcontinent is rooted in the belief of self-worth.
In Thailand, it was often used as a method to welcome guests into the home and was an integral part of ritual worship. Thai culture also uses it as a replacement for other restricted herbal supplements.
This has been in both ritual worship and in the routine of daily life.
Kratom and the Journey to the West
The genus Mitragyna was given its name by a Dutch Botanist named Korthals. The leaves of the plant bear a resemblance to a mitre, the sceptre used in Christian religious traditions. It is possible this is where Korthals derived the name.
It is speculated the name could go even further back in western history and may have been applied by Roman Mithraic cults. In ancient Greece, sportsmen would be given a mitre crown to wear on their heads when they won an event. The shape closely resembles the leaves of the kratom plant.
The two cultures are intrinsically linked, so it would not be out of the question for them to have shared common knowledge.
The plant itself is quite bitter and is often combined with sweeteners or sugar. This may go some way to explaining why the plant has only become popular in the west recently. Regardless, the New York Times recently posed the question that it was nature’s answer to breaking harder habits.
Everyday Uses In South East Asia
Despite its link to spirituality and the opening of the mind, daily kratom use in South East Asia is huge. Many use it as a daily supplement.
Many traditional workers and craftsmen use kratom, such as fishermen, agricultural workers, and workers on rubber plantations. Workers who buy kratom believe that it provides a closer union and joy in one’s work, creating pride in the daily routines of life.
Learn More About Kratom
A recent Netflix documentary ‘A Leaf of Faith’ showed just how well established kratom is becoming. In the documentary, athletes, war veterans, and even UFC commentators discuss the rise and wide spread love for kratom. Things like this Netflix documentary will help kratom education get to the masses.
If you are interested in spirituality, the delicate balance of nature, and the love of kratom, we have a plethora of information available on our website. Click to find out even more about this wonder plant that has taken the world by storm.