Kratom leaves are used as medicine in some cases, and as a recreational drug otherwise. But, do you know how hard is kratom on the liver? Kratom is scientifically known as Mitragyna speciosa, and is included in coffee family.

Kratom is also known as thang, kakuam, thom, ketum, and biak. Since recent times Kratom came into popularity as people began to use the leaves as pain relievers, or some for their opioid addiction.

As is for every other herbal product, the myth that herbal products do not cause any side effect made people use it without thinking how hard is kratom on the liver.

In this article we will cover up things about Kratom, and how it may affect your liver.


What is Kratom?

Side effects of Kratom.

How hard is Kratom affect the liver.

Is the liver damage reversible?

Complications and risks.






It is a kind of herbal extract that comes from evergreen tree, known as Mitragyna speciosa, leaves and is most commonly grown and found in Southeast Asia. These Kratom leaves can be brewed and drank, swallowed in dry form, or the leaves can be chewed.

There is a liquid form that is sold in markets and is used for muscle pain treatment, to stop diarrhea, to stop cramps, and for appetite suppression.

It is supposed to be a member of coffee family, and kratom leaves have effects that are mind-altering. These leaves are used as a sedative or a stimulant. Kratom leaves have 7-α-hydroxymitra-gynine and mitragynine, that when taken, attach themselves to the nerve cells on the same parts where opioid receptors are.

When Kratom leaves are taken in low doses, it may act as a stimulant, which leaves the consumer feel energetic. At higher than that dose, it may act as a pain-reliever and brings euphoria to those who consume it.

If taken at very high doses, it may act as a sedative, leaving consumer sleepy. The effects are seen within 10 minutes of ingesting the leaves, and symptoms may last anywhere between 1 hour to 6 hours, all depending on the dosage you have consumed.

There are reports that people use this for opioid withdrawal, be it morphine or heroine, or other substances.

Overall, consuming Kratom leaves cause an increase in alertness, an increase in energy, help in pain management, calmness, euphoria, and sedation. But with this said, FDA does not approve Kratom leaves to be used for any such purpose because of the side effects it has shown to cause.



Kratom is not a well-researched substance, and is (no matter what) a dangerous substance to be taken. As per the mechanism of action of these Kratom leaves, they work on opioid receptors in the brain.

As with all the opioids, Kratom leaves may also cause dependency, and addiction. These leaves, when stopped consuming when, will thereby result in withdrawal symptoms.

In the United Stated, many reports have been received over these years about the possible side effects and dangerous effects of Kratom leaves, including death.

Many of these reports were about seizures, high blood pressure, liver injuries, and many other side effects.

Possible side effects that Kratom leaves may give are:

  • Dry mouth.
  • Nausea, and vomiting.
  • Liver damage.
  • Sore muscles.
  • Muscle pain.
  • Dizziness.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Delusions.
  • Depression.
  • Problems in breathing.
  • Seizure.
  • Coma, and possibly death.



The mechanism of liver injury caused by Kratom leaves is still unknown and Kratom is not a well-researched substance. But reports have been received where it has been seen that consuming Kratom leaves at low doses for a brief period may cause liver damage.

But mostly it is seen taking Kratom leaves with other substances, or having a medical condition underlying in you may put you at more risk of liver damage.

What is seen happen with Kratom leave consumption is medically known as Drug-induced liver injury (DILI), or herbal-induced liver injury (HILI).

Liver injury caused by Kratom can be acute (ranging from anywhere between acute jaundice, or acute hepatitis). Drug induced liver injury can manifest itself as cholestasis, or hepatitis. Cholestasis is when bile flow from your liver decreases or blocks, and hepatitis indicates that your liver is inflamed.

In hepatocellular injury or hepatitis, a few enzymes might be elevated in your blood. The elevated enzymes are Aspartate transaminase (AST), and serum bilirubin. In cholestatic injury or cholestasis, Alkaline phosphatase is increased, and bilirubin might be increased as well.

If these tests remain increased or elevated for less than three months, it is known as acute injury, chronic if they remain so for more than three months.

To know how hard is Kratom on the liver, you might be surprised to know, that liver injury caused by Kratom leaves may present itself as cholestasis along with pruritis, liver injury that may look like viral hepatitis, or even acute liver failure.

In chronic cases. Liver injury caused by Kratom leaves may manifest itself as autoimmune hepatitis, primary biliary cirrhosis, sclerosing cholangitis, or alcohol-associated liver disease. In some cases, this liver injury may progress to cirrhosis.

Symptoms of liver injury include:

  • Malaise.
  • Low grade fever.
  • Anorexia.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Right upper quadrant pain.
  • Jaundice.
  • Acholic stools.
  • Dark urine.
  • Pruritis.
  • Organs may get bigger, especially liver (hepatomegaly).
  • Hepatic encephalopathy (in case of acute liver failure).

Death is also reported in many a case, all of which were Kratom abusers. Those taking mood stabilizers, or anti-depressants are at higher risk of experiencing serious complications because of Kratom leave consumption.  All these symptoms might be prevented by quitting consuming Kratom leaves, until proper research is done on it.



Liver damage caused by Kratom leaves might or might not be reversible. There are certain factors that affect the treatment outcome, including:

  • Underlying medical issues that are chronic.
  • The ability to stop consuming Kratom.
  • Presence of withdrawal symptoms once Kratom leaves are stopped being consumed.
  • Level of liver damage done by kratom leave consumption.
  • Duration of Kratom leave consumption.
  • Dose of Kratom leave consumption.

Whenever symptoms of Kratom induced liver damage are seen, you have to visit a doctor and get yourself treated for the same. Your doctor will keep you under observation, till your liver function tests reach the normal level again. If this liver damage is left untreated your kidneys might be involved and this might lead to kidney failure.

Along with medical intervention what is important is to stop consuming Kratom leaves.



Whenever you see symptoms of liver damage, you should visit a doctor.

These symptoms include:

  • Dark urine.
  • Nausea.
  • Right upper quadrant pain.
  • Vomiting.
  • Jaundice.

If you are still taking Kratom leaves, your doctor will ask you to stop taking it at all. To achieve this your doctor may taper the drug, that is reduce the dosage gradually to a point where you are no longer in a position to consume Kratom leaves. This tapering is done so as to not see the withdrawal symptoms.

Along with Kratom leaves, you will have to avoid anything and everything that may be harmful for your liver, including alcohol and certain medicines.



Other than other side effects, some severe complications that may occur with Kratom leave abuse include:

  • Overdose: happens usually with high dose of kratom leave use. It may cause in loss of consciousness and sedation (extreme). This complication occurs more in people who are already taking anti-depressants, or other sedative drugs.
  • Addiction: as is with other opioids, kratom leaves cause addiction. Those who take these leaves on continuous basis experience muscle aches, aggressive behaviour, nausea, diarrhea, irritability, and sleeping difficulties.
  • Liver damage: it is not well known how hard is kratom on the liver, but it has been seen in many cases that this kratom leave consumption has resulted in acute liver injury. Symptoms of this liver injury include pruritis (itchiness), fatigue, dark urine, and jaundice (skin and eye yellowing).
  • Death: some cases of death have also been reported. This is mostly seen in people who have underlying health conditions, or use other sedative drugs.


Herbal medicines are thought to be safe by almost everyone, which is wrongly thought. No doubt these herbal medicines might help when taken as complementary with other conventional treatments, but taken as such might be harmful for your health.

Moreover, substances well researched on are okay to be used, but those substances that have not been studied well are better to not be taken.

As is the case with Kratom leaves, as it is not well-studied, it causes severe complications and risks. Some risks, as discussed, include addiction, overdose, liver injury, and death (in some cases). Know the symptoms of these complications, so that whenever seen, should take your mind to see a doctor.

Because of the fact how hard is kratom on the liver, knowing the symptoms is important. Symptoms that might indicate liver injury due to kratom leaves include dark urine, jaundice, pruritis, nausea, and vomiting.


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