COVID-19 grips the world in a stranglehold and many people are scrambling to find answers and help. Everyone wants to think there is some magic supplement that will bolster the immune system enough to fight the potentially fatal virus so they run internet searches about kratom and COVID-19 to see if maybe the ancient herbal supplement holds any promise. However, please be aware that there are no firm answers at this stage as researchers scramble to understand the coronavirus and develop a potentially life-saving vaccine.


The FDA and FTC on Kratom and COVID-19


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) view kratom as a dietary supplement. The FDA is an outspoken opponent of kratom. Their website makes no secret of the fact that they believe Mitragyna speciosa has the potential to cause addiction in users which creates physical dependence and the possibility of abuse. Currently, the FDA recognizes no approved uses for kratom, and they will allow no retailers or brands to boast that kratom can ‘cure’ anything. In recent months, they have started to crack down on claims made by retailers and brands concerning kratom and COVID-19.


The FDA works to examine all claims made about dietary supplements, including kratom. The claims can appear on the labels or packaging. They also oversee the purity, safety, content, and manufacturing of the herb. Any adverse reactions and other concerns occur in relation to the coronavirus.


The FTC categorizes kratom as a dietary supplement. They act as a watchdog for any bogus claim that might emerge about the tropical herb such as kratom and COVID 19 myths. The FTC maintains a complaint department where they encourage consumers to report potential health claims made concerning kratom. The FCT’s complaint department evaluates the complaint and may investigate to take further action against potential fraud


FDA and Kratom Confiscation


The FDA has a reputation for seizing kratom shipments as they enter the United States. Typically,  seizures occur because of impurities in the products. Without a doubt, such concerns only drive home the fact that you should only purchase kratom from a reputable retailer and make sure you are buying a quality brand.


The FTC and Truth About Kratom and COVID-19


The FTC’s main job is to seek out the truth and accuracy about kratom and COVID-19 health claims and other statements made concerning the dietary supplement and public health. The FTC works to monitor not only television and radio but also print advertisements, online marketing, radio, and even social media in an effort to spot unsupported claims and falsehoods. Nothing should proclaim that kratom acts as a cure-all used to treat COVID-19 or other health disorders. All unsubstantiated allegations are taken very seriously by the FTC who will respond alongside the FDA.


Understanding Kratom


As people research holistic health options during the pandemic, many are just becoming aware of kratom. Although the herbal dietary supplement is legal nationwide, it remains a bit obscure and many are just now learning about the plant.


Kratom is fashioned from the cured leaves of the Mitragyna speciosa tree which is a tropical tree that belongs to the coffee family of plants. It grows well throughout Thailand and much of Southeast Asia. Historically, locals have chewed the leaves to combat fatigue from their long days of labor and to improve their work productivity. Also, after a long day of work, many individuals use kratom tea to relax or to socialize with friends. Even during festivals, kratom is a famous addition. Local naturopathic doctors often prescribe kratom to battle fatigue, diarrhea, and pain. Most within SE Asia, view kratom as a viable and preferable opium substitute.


The Compounds of Kratom


Scientist scramble to learn about COVID-19


You might be wondering, what makes kratom so special? Maybe it really is all hype and there is nothing to really influence the user? Of course, the FDA’s hard-nosed stance on the herbal dietary supplement in the USA has a huge impact on how many view kratom. However, all anyone can do is try the herb themselves. They can also learn about it from naturopathic doctors or other users to determine its potential.


Within kratom, are two compounds that occur predominately in the fibers of the leaves: Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. Depending on the strain, many may relax the user and promote a feeling of pleasure or decreased pain perception. Many feel that a low dose offers alertness and a high dose creates a greater sedentary response. In Western countries, opioid addicts passionately believe that kratom can help kick their addiction. Also, it appears to lower the impact of the withdrawal symptoms. However, such things remain speculation despite the herb’s growing popularity for such purposes.


Clinical Trials


Kratom has not been evaluated extensively in clinical trials so the health effects and impact remain relatively unknown. This is especially true for kratom and COVID-19.


The American Kratom Association (AKA) About Kratom and COVID-19


The status of kratom in the USA remains precarious as the FDA continually works to discredit the dietary supplement. Recently, as COVID-19 spreads across the United States like wildfire with cases increasing on a daily basis, the American Kratom Association (AKA) issued a very strong advisory to the kratom consumer community requesting that they cease circulating claims about kratom and COVID-19. Many brands and retailers have actually posted or states that kratom is an effective treatment for COVID-19. Sadly, they have no concrete scientific research to make such claims. The FDA and FTC continue to watch and wait for such misnomers to appear. Currently, there is no effective treatment for CVOID-19. Kratom does not appear to have the ability to prevent the virus


Kratom and COVID-19: The Facts


If you want to learn about kratom and COVID-19 then start reading about current research. A few studies are being carried out throughout SE Asia that pertain to the tropical herb. Recently a leading researcher, Thamrin Usman, at the Tanjunagpura University located in Indonesia started to study tropical plants. He focused on the native plants from the West Kalimantan region. The goal of the study was to determine if there were any natural compounds found growing locally which could bolster the immune system. Of course, kratom’s alkaloids were some of the local compounds studied. Despite the studies and claims made by the researcher about kratom and COVID-19, the FDA and FTC continue to stand against kratom as a possible tool in the battle against the deadly virus.

However, perhaps the researcher’s work can increase awareness, so more studies are performed to either validate or refute the claims. Either way, kratom brands, and companies must walk a very fine line. The study was publicized by several kratom brands when it first emerged and the FTC quickly sent out warning letters to the brands stating that they were in violation of FTC by making claims about kratom and COVID-19.


The FDA and FTC Warnings


The aggressive stance of the FDA and FTC against kratom will remain in effect so potential users of kratom must take the time to extensively research any claims made about kratom and COVID-19 by looking closely at worldwide scientific studies and other research that is currently emerging about the virus, the body’s immune system, and how the herbal supplement might interact. Manufacturers, vendors, distributors, and even consumers cannot claims about kratom and COVID-19 or any other health-related conditions without facing serious ramifications. Creditable research must first take place by accredited scientists. However, every medical professional in the world scrambles to find answers  Perhaps, eventually, the scientific community sits on the cusp of discovering the benefits of kratom soon.

What Did the Studies Say About Kratom and COVID-19?


Learning about Kratom and COVID-19


The purpose of the study carried out by Dr. Usman was to offer advice to the locals regarding the outbreak of COVID-19. His focus was on ways to potentially boost the immune systems natural response by turning to ancient herbal medicines. He stated:  “By looking at the chemical structure of Chloroquine molecules which contain secondary and tertiary amine compound structures, it can be considered to use kratom leaves. Because Mitragynine compounds in kratom are secondary and tertiary amines.”


Using the Herbal Supplement Kratom


Ultimately, kratom users and advocates of the herbal dietary supplement must make their own choices about the use of the alkaloid rich plant. Many people use kratom around the world and have turned to it for centuries for a variety of uses. Hopefully, as the herb gains in popularity the scientific community will start to take notice and further research will emerge that validates or discredits the legends that surround the tropical tree and its potential.


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