Kratom Heart

Kratom Heart


Is Kratom use toxic for my heart? Can using Kratom kill someone? How could a natural medicinal plant be harmful?

Kratom and heart, these two words may not be thought of being related to one another in any term but they are. Kratom use has been associated with an increase in heart rate or tachycardia, hypertension and even sudden deaths due to cardiac arrest.

There is enough evidence that suggest that despite being used in traditional medicine for centuries, Kratom can be harmful and is thus, banned and considered illegal in many countries. In this article, we'll be talking about kratom, its uses as well as harmful effects.


What is kratom? How is it used?

Uses of kratom

Dangerous effects of Kratom

Kratom and cardio toxicity



What is kratom? How is it used?

Kratom or Mitragyna speciosa is a tropical evergreen plant, found in Southeast Asia, and is indigenous to countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and Myanmar.

Kratom leaves are either chewed in fresh form or dried and used to make tea. It may also be present in the form of supplemental pills, capsules, powder and resins. Extracts of kratom may also be available in solution form.


Uses of kratom

Kratom plant and its extracts have been used in traditional herbal medicine for centuries. According to anecdotal reports and the beliefs of traditional herbal medicine, kratom along with its extracts is expected to be an extremely useful plant, beneficial in many areas. It must be noted however no scientific evidence till date is present to support any of these believes.

Some of the expected and believed uses of this plant are as follows:

  • Kratom when used in high doses, has opioid like properties because of which it has been used as an analgesic to relieve pain such as musculoskeletal pain or heal wounds or even as an anesthetic. It is believed that it’s opioid like properties make it a better alternative to relieve the withdrawal symptoms of many potent opioids in opium addicts trying to get rid of their addiction.
  • It also acts like a stimulant when used in low dosage and thus has been used to increase energy, appetite and also as an aphrodisiac. Kratom has been commonly used by laborious workers as a mood enhancer. Kratom users report to experience positive mood, euphoria, increased sociability, working capacity and alertness after its consumption, which may persist for two to five hours. Thus, also used for recreational purposes.
  • Leaves and other extracts from kratom plant are used to relieve diarrhea, treat coughs and intestinal infections.
  • It is also believed that kratom and its extracts are useful as anti-inflammatory, antipyretic and hypoglycemic agents.

Until now there has not been any scientific study which would confirm these beneficial uses of kratom plant.

However, there are some studies and reports which do suggest and indicate that kratom is not as safe as its users may consider it!


Dangerous effects of Kratom

The common side effects associated with kratom use are:

  • Dry mouth, constipation, nausea, vomiting, itching, increased urination, decreased appetite and erectile dysfunction.

Complications associated with using kratom have been reported to involve multiple organ systems including central nervous system, cardio-respiratory system, endocrine system, renal system and also liver. The adverse complications that are associated with kratom use include:

  • Altered mental status, anxiety, delirium, hallucinations and psychosis.
  • Abnormally fast beating heart, high blood pressure, arrhythmia and cardiac arrest
  • Respiratory depression or even arrest, seizures and even coma.
  • It can also rarely cause liver toxicity damaging the liver. It can cause hepatitis, raised hepatic enzymes, cholestasis, enlarged liver or hepatomegaly and acute liver failure.
  • Hypothyroidism, acute renal failure.
  • Kratom use during the period of pregnancy has been associated with neonatal abstinence syndrome in babies born to these mothers. It means the baby is born with withdrawal symptoms of kratom that requires treatment.
  • In rare occasions, it can also cause muscle pain and rhabdomyolysis which is a condition in which muscles begin to disintegrate and die.

We must understand that not everything that is natural is safe to use. Kratom use, unlike any other narcotic substance such as heroine, hashish or cocaine, is not associated with a stigma in general population. People tend to use it as a herbal medicine or simply tea, which makes it more dangerous.

Kratom does possess opioid like properties and its long term use can cause addiction and is associated with withdrawal symptoms like weight loss, loss of appetite, reduced sex drive, muscle pain, insomnia, depressed mood, anger, diarrhea, restlessness and much more that would eventually lead to reuse.


Kratom and cardio toxicity

In a vast study conducted by Leong Abdullah and Darshan Singh, of Sains University, Malaysia although no definite proof of cardio toxic effects of Kratom were found, however many adverse cardiac issues were associated with this plant use.

Mitragynine is the main alkaloid found in kratom, composing 60 percent of it. It shares affinity with the opioid receptors in our body like other narcotics.

Major effect of kratom use on heart includes increased heart rate or tachycardia, hypertension and its related cardiac changes and sometimes even arrhythmia and cardiac arrest. Kratom also has the potential to induce ventricular arrhythmia in the form of ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation, that can also result in cardiopulmonary arrest (i.e., both your heart activity and respiration stops). Kratom may also increase the risk of myocardial infarction.

The harmful effects of Kratom use also increase and become potentially more dangerous when used along with other illicit substances or even certain medications such as beta blockers, calcium channel blockers etc., as active metabolites of Kratom slow down the metabolism of these substances by inhibiting the liver enzymes, increasing the possibility of toxicity.

The US Food and drug administration (US FDA) banned the use of Kratom for any medical and therapeutic purpose after around 36 deaths were reported in US due to Kratom abuse that had led to sudden cardiac arrest and thus death of these people.

The US FDA and many other countries including UK, Australia, Sweden, Denmark, Myanmar and many more have recognized the harmful effects of Kratom and thus classified it as a controlled substance.

Many studies show the dose dependency of adverse effects of Kratom which means it can cause serious side effects at larger doses. But since its dosage is not standardized in the market, we don't really know how much mitragynine (the active alkaloid in Kratom) is entering our body. It's opium like property makes it equally addicting causing abuse, dependence and even death.

Due to lack of proper research regarding the efficacy as well as the adverse effects of Kratom use, it is highly suspected to be beneficial.

The side effects following its use are more dreadful than the benefits it provides.

It was expected that kratom may provide a better alternative for opium addicts, to cure their withdrawal symptoms but since it also leads to addiction, it can hardly help.

Also, we saw that even though the harmful effects of Kratom on heart are not well understood until now due to lack of proper methodology, there are enough evidences and reports that suggest its multi organ toxicity.

Many of us believe that every natural herb is supposed to be safe. We all think that even if it may not benefit us, at least it won't hurt us either and this is a very wrong way of thinking. Nature is not all bed of roses.

We get both a poison as well as its antidote from the nature itself. Many herbs contain potent toxins and if we consume them on mere assumption that since its natural, it must be safe, we're putting our health and sometimes our lives in danger.

There are many natural herbs which have been used from past hundred centuries but very little is known about their efficacy making it difficult to trust such methods of treatment in today's modern world where detailed mechanism of each and every drug is discussed before it can be used and brought up in the market.

The advancement in scientific world has led to tremendous development in health sectors and it is important that we trust our scientific community.

We do not deny the benefits of herbal medicine as even the contemporary chemical drugs are nothing but extract derived from nature only. What we are trying to imply is that it is always better to use anything, especially when used for the body, with proper knowledge and evidence. No one would want to experience an unexpected event especially something like death that will put an end to all our endeavors.

Kratom like any other herbal medicine interacts with other substances and drugs by increasing their concentration in the body and thus increasing the risk of toxicity. Also, Kratom unlike commonly used herbs can lead to addiction and abuse.

There has been a constant debate on whether or not Kratom can been added to the list of "safe to use herbal medicines" and this debate is still on going. But since none of the debaters have provided concrete evidences neither for nor against Kratom use, therefore, for the time being, it is better to avoid this substance until enough knowledge is made available. Considering the case reports of its adverse effects, we can say for sure it's not worth risking your health when you can find better and safe alternatives than Kratom.

We conclude this article with this saying:

 Better be safe than sorry!

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