This article is about Kratom and its potential as a valuable treatment for a variety of gastrointestinal disorders such as IBS, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Crohns.
- How Kratom has been safely used as a traditional medicine for a variety of gastrointestinal diseases for thousands of years.
- The pharmacological action of Kratom and its ability to modulate the immune system and gastrointestinal function.
- The role of serotonin in gut health and why this may explain the benefits of kratom for gut health.
- Success stories of people using Kratom for gastrointestinal diseases like ulcerative colitis and crohn’s.
I first discovered this amazing plant called Kratom when I was visiting Bali, in April 2017. It was for sale at a local market. It was packaged like loose tea and the label listed many health benefits such as soothing stomach disorders, lowering blood pressure, relieving stress and anxiety. It sounded too good to be true and after questioning the seller, I discovered that it has been used as a traditional remedy for thousands of years in the native countries of Bali, Malaysia and Thailand.
I immediately wanted to try it and took my first dose of tea that I brewed using the leaves. I and my friends who tried it were amazed at how it made us feel. It gave us a slight euphoria combined with a relaxation response in the body. It also took away any negative thinking that can lead to procrastination. We are all busy entrepreneurs and were extremely pleased at how much work we ended up getting done after just the first dose!
I started to take a small dose of 2g each morning of Kratom powder of the Green Malay strain.
Instead of making a tea, I just mixed it with water and drank it like a green juice.
I use this as a natural nootropic, as way to get more focused and productive. I find it is much more effective than coffee for this purpose and does not have any of the jittery side effects that coffee has.
After a few months of regular use I noticed that my bowel movements had become very regular and consistent. Having been a sufferer of ulcerative colitis, on occasions I would get loose motions or a feeling of not fully emptying my bowels. I would also sometimes get pain in my gut that is associated with this autoimmune disease.
Kratom seems to make all that go away, so I began to recommend it to some of my clients who were suffering from ulcerative colitis. They reported the same incredible benefits as I experienced, including the significant increase in productivity and motivation.
History Of Kratom Use As A Traditional Medicine
Kratom has been safely used in Thailand and Indonesia as a traditional remedy for stomach aches and diarrhoea for thousands of years.
However it was banned by the Thai government who openly mention that it was not due to it being a potential substance of abuse, but rather because it impacted tax revenues from their monopoly of the opium trade:
In the words of Police Major General Pin Amornwisaisoradej, a member of the House of Representatives from Lampang in a special meeting on 7 January 1943: “Taxes for opium are high while kratom is currently not being taxed. With the increase of those taxes, people are starting to use kratom instead and this has had a visible impact on our government’s income.”
In low doses opium tincture was also traditionally used to relieve diarrhoea and stomach upsets. In fact in the UK you can still purchase a morphine (opiate) syrup under the brand name J Collis Brownes Mixture that is indicated for use as a cough suppressant and to relieve diarrhoea.
However morphine has far more side effects and much less addictive potential than the naturally occurring plant, Kratom. Kratom is even used as a method to wean off opiate addiction.
A paper by the Transnational Institute goes into depth at the traditional use of Kratom in Thailand for medicinal purposes and makes a strong point for decriminalisation of the plant.
‘There is a general consensus among community members and leaders, academics and policymakers, as well as public health and law enforcement representatives in southern Thailand that kratom use and dependence carry little, if any, health risks. In general, people reported that kratom (use and dependence) is less harmful than heroin, yaba, cannabis and even alcohol.’
The Transnational Institute (TNI) is an international research and advocacy institute committed to building a just, democratic and sustainable world. For more than 40 years, TNI has served as a unique nexus between social movements, engaged scholars and policy makers.
Pharmacological Action Of Kratom
Kratom has both opioid and psychostimulant-like subjective effects. The phytochemicals isolated from various parts of the kratom tree include over 40 structurally related alkaloids.
This alkaloid is the one responsible for analgesic activity that has been linked to kratom use mostly due to its potent opioid agonist property.
Although mitragynine can act on the mu (μ), kappa (κ), and delta (δ) opioid receptors, it is structurally different from morphine and other components from the opioid family.
Serotonergic and adrenergic pathways have also been involved in the effects of mitragynine, mostly due to its broad affinity to different receptors.
Kratom has an interesting and distinctly different range of effects based on the dose taken.
At low to moderate dose (1–5 g) it has a mild pleasant stimulant effect; at moderate-high dose (5–15 g) the compound has opioid-like analgesia and sedation.
The antispasmodic, gut-soothing and anti-diarrhoeal effects work at the low doses of 1-5g, as well as the nootropic effects of more motivation, anxiety relief and anti-depressant.
Potential Side Effects and Toxicology Of Kratom
The adverse side effects of Kratom reported includes elevated blood pressure, nephrotoxic effects, impaired cognition and behaviour, dependence potential, and hepatic failure.
The dose and duration of use that cause them is unclear in the reports. Scientific studies on liver and cardio toxicology appear to be only be in mice models at very high doses compared to what would be used therapeutically for gut disorders.
Serious long term side effects seem to only be present at very high doses of 10g+ used chronically over a long term period, however they are much milder and reverse quickly when use is stopped compared to opiates like morphine and oxycodone.
How Kratom Works On Your Gut To Relieve Diarrhoea, Stomach Cramps and Even Depression.
Kratom is an herb with a natural tendency to slow the movement of food through our digestive tract. The mechanism may be linked to its activity on serotonin and opioid receptors.
Your gut is actually where the majority of serotonin is produced in your body. Could this be the mechanism and reason why inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis are often triggered by periods of emotional stress?
An article from Scientific American states, the enteric nervous system uses more than 30 neurotransmitters, just like the brain, and in fact 95 percent of the body’s serotonin is found in the bowels. Because antidepressant medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) increase serotonin levels, it’s little wonder that meds meant to cause chemical changes in the mind often provoke GI issues as a side effect.
Irritable bowel syndrome which afflicts more than two million Americans also arises in part from too much or too little serotonin in our entrails, and could perhaps be regarded as a “mental illness” of the second brain.
The G.I society, an online publication reports: Scientific evidence strongly suggests that serotonin is one of the most important signalling molecules involved in the peristaltic reflex and that alterations in serotonin signalling may be responsible for IBS symptoms. Ninety-five percent of the serotonin found in the body resides in the gut.
In recent years, the discovery of new therapeutic targets capable of regulating serotonin levels and activity has made the pipeline for IBS very promising. By blocking or stimulating serotonin receptors in the gut, it is possible to treat abnormal bowel action in those afflicted with IBS.
Anti-inflammatory effects of Kratom Alkaloids For Relieving Inflammatory Bowel Disease
The alkaloids Epictechin and Rhynchophylline found in Kratom play the most significant anti-inflammatory role. These anti-inflammatory alkaloids have a longer half life than the opioids, meaning the anti-inflammatory effects last for longer. While the typical physical effects of kratom last only around 6-10 hours, the anti-inflammatory effects can last up to 4 days.
Gastroprotective effects Of Kratom To Prevent Gastric Ulcers
Kratom has shown to be extremely effective in reducing gastric acid and the size of ulcers in mouse models. Inflammation of the gut can also significantly increase the feeling and perception of pain.
Kratom and Bowel Cancer
As Kratom is from the same species of plant as coffee, it is rich in proven anti-cancer antioxidants called polyphenols and epicatechin, and also includes several terpenoid saponins, flavonoids, glycosides that are both therapeutic and anti-cancer.
Dr Sanjiv Chopra, who happens to be the brother of spiritual guru, Deepak Chora, is an expert on coffee and it’s cancer preventative properties. He states that studies clearly show that coffee protects against 5 major types of cancer including bowel cancer.
Kratom User Reports – Ulcerative Colitis, Crohns, IBD
Here are some quotes from Reddit, a popular forum where people share their views and results with various things:
Kratom helps me a lot with my ulcerative colitis. I can reduce my trips to the toilette about 50%
I have Crohn’s disease. Kratom has positively impacted my issues. I’ve had decreased diarrhea along with lessened pain and cramping. All in all Kratom has been a wonderful find in my many years of dealing with Crohn’s. Seems to also enhance my mood and outlook on life.
I have uc and just started taking Kratom in the last week. It’s definitely helped with the cramping and to be honest when I’m coming down I get hungry. What’s really stuck out to me though is my diarrhea. I’ve been in a flair for 2 years and it’s been solid for a week!
From Natural Health Blogs
Diane Clarke Butcher: “I have severe IBS with the possibility of Crohn’s. Crohn’s has been found, but for some reason the doctor says she doesn’t want to diagnose me with it. I’ve had symptoms for the last 4 years, have been in and out of the ER, doctors offices, time off work, and a continuing reduction in my quality of life.
“One year ago, I was introduced to Kratom and within a week of taking it, I saw improvement with my IBS/Crohn’s. I take 1 teaspoon twice daily. The intestinal spasms diminished, the many trips to the bathroom reduced to two per day, the gallbladder attacks stopped, and I felt healthier. I came off all of the meds that weren’t working and have continued to take Kratom daily. To me, it was and still is, a lifesaver.”
Kelly Fitzsimmons: “I have IBS but that wasn’t why I am using kratom. It has helped alot, though, for my IBS. When I don’t drink enough water, then I have problems. Which has only been a few times. I use reds (red vein strains of kratom). They are great for all my chronic pain!”
Eric Morris: “I was diagnosed with C.diff in 2012 and had it for a while. After vancomycin treatment 2nd time it was gone..The post effects caused me to get onset Crohn’s. I had tried everything from Acidophilus to probiotics to you-name-it. Started taking Kratom about a year ago and have finally been leveled out. Get to go number 2 once a day, maybe twice. It has helped on my Mind, Degenerative discs and stomach issues… truly a miracle.”
Amanda Lewis: I was diagnosed with chronic colitis. Colitis effects the colon, where Crohn’s affects the large intestine, but it’s the same thing. I have intense stomach pains and cramping. The first time it flared, I had diarrhea for THREE WEEKS STRAIGHT!!! I went to the dr, they did the ct scan, and then gave me meds to calm it down. Then I got a sinus infection, and the antibiotic flared it right back up. I have had moments that I’m just sitting, all calm, and no urge to go to the bathroom, and yes, explosive diarrhea happens. No warning, no urge, nothing. Just comes out. I also learned to never trust a fart.
I started taking kratom for chronic pain: Fibromyalgia, neuropathy, and a few other reasons. I noticed that with the kratom, it calms diarrhea down immensely. It’s only flared once, since starting kratom in December. No more embarrassment, no more fear of “it” happening in public. And when it does act up, it’s not as urgent. there’s frequent movements, but nothing explosive, no running to the bathroom, and the cramping is really minor.”
The Renegade Kratom Protocol
- Take 1g of Green Malay Kratom, or a Red strain of Kratom for a more relaxing pain relieving effect . Mix with pure water and drink on an empty stomach within one hour of waking. Use a scale to measure quantities. A level teaspoon is around 3g.
- Gradually increase the dose to 1.5-2g each morning depending on how well you tolerate the kratom.
- Repeat the dose on an empty stomach in the afternoon or evening.
- Depending on the severity of your symptoms you can repeat the dose up to 3 times a day. But always take on an empty stomach where possible.
The Renegade Pharmacist’s Verdict
I took Kratom every day for 6 months at around 1-2g twice a day, then had a break for a week as I ran out. I had no noticeable withdrawal symptoms, apart from missing my morning productive buzz for the first few days. I had much better gut health, less anxiety and a significant boost to my productivity compared to any other nootropic I have used in the past.
The addictive potential and withdrawal symptoms of Kratom are more similar to coffee, as it is from the same species of plant, compared to opiates. If you have an addictive nature, you love coffee, or get hooked on doing anything, you are likely to get addicted to any drug/plant that makes your life feel and become significantly better. Especially if it stops the embarrassing symptoms such as chronic diarrhoea that you get from ulcerative colitis or crohn’s.
The role of serotonin in the gut and the brain is not well understood. This is why trying to create drugs that work on specific receptors leads to so many side effects. Kratom seems to have both a serotonin agonist role, as well as antagonistic. It works on opioid receptors too, so its role is more complex and more ingenious than any drug a human being can design. Nature knows best.
At low doses of 1-5g Kratom has been used therapeutically and safely for thousands of years. You would never drink an entire jar of coffee in one go, and so you most likely would not do the same with Kratom.
If you are someone who did, then in the words of the infamous comedian Bill Hicks, ‘Oh well, we lost a moron!’
The extreme majority are responsible enough to take something so valuable to their lives safely and responsibly. There is a few rare ‘bad egg’s who always spoil it for everyone else, giving the obviously corrupt government institutions like the DEA an excuse to control or ban stuff that helps so many people, in favour of far more harmful, yet way more profitable pharmaceutical drugs that have nowhere near the same wide range of health benefits.
There is thousands of years of history of use of Kratom as a safe and effective medicine for a variety of disorders. However more research needs to be done to please the authorities, but unfortunately the archaic system for scientific research, and the clearly obvious stranglehold drug companies have over it, may be a roadblock to this happening. I really hope nature wins.
Reversing Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease, Herbally
Gastroprotective effects of methanolic extract of kratom leaves on gastric ulcer and reflux esophagitis in rats
IBS and Serotonin
IBS and Serotonin: The Brain-Stomach Link
Think Twice: How the Gut’s “Second Brain” Influences Mood and Well-Being
Following “the Roots” of Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa): The Evolution of an Enhancer from a Traditional Use to Increase Work and Productivity in Southeast Asia to a Recreational Psychoactive Drug in Western Countries