This medicinal plant is said to help with alcoholism

This medicinal plant is said to help with alcoholism

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Kratom tree leaves are said to reduce alcohol consumption

An American research team recently investigated the potential effects of kratom on people with alcohol problems. It was shown that the plant ingredient of the Kratom tree can be effective in reducing alcohol consumption. However, kratom itself is not entirely harmless.

As part of a study, researchers from Purdue University investigated whether the plant active ingredient kratom can be used to treat alcoholism. The scientists presented their results in the "British Journal of Pharmacology".

What is Kratom?

Kratom is usually used to refer to the leaves of the Kratom tree (Red Sentole, Mitragyna speciosa), which grows in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Kratom is often offered in the form of powder or as capsules. Low doses should have a stimulating effect, higher doses should be calming or anesthetic. In Southeast Asia, kratom is used in places as an opium substitute.

How does kratom work?

The effect of the leaves, which can last up to one and a half hours, should develop around ten minutes after ingestion. In addition to the effects mentioned above, increased attention, increased sociability and even greater sexual desire are also reported. After taking a large amount (ten to 25 grams of dried leaves), a dream-like condition should occur, which can last up to six hours.

Alcohol drugs are virtually non-existent

Alcohol, along with tobacco, is one of the most abused substances worldwide. In the United States, nearly 15 million people are addicted to alcohol or have problems with alcohol. In Germany, around three percent of adults are considered alcoholics. "A major challenge is that alcohol consumption disorders cannot be adequately treated with currently available medication," explains research director Professor Richard van Rijn.

New ways to reduce alcohol consumption

Due to a lack of drug support, the team around van Rijn examined whether kratom is suitable for support to reduce alcohol consumption or to give up entirely. "There are few generally effective drug therapies to treat alcohol consumption disorders, so finding new and better treatments to help people manage their disease is critical," the professor emphasizes.

Effective, but not entirely sure

In collaboration with researchers from Memorial Sloan-Kettering and Washington University, the Purdue scientists investigated the possible effects of kratom and its components on the body and the ability of the leaves to reduce alcohol consumption. “Our work shows that kratom can be effective in treating alcohol consumption disorders yourself,” summarizes van Rijn. The researchers say that the intake is not entirely safe.

Attention: These dangers exist when using kratom

The consumer advice center warns of kratom income. Undesirable side effects could include constipation, loss of appetite, liver damage, seizures, hallucinations and confusion. Some deaths have also been reported in the United States. There is also a risk of dependency. In addition, kratom in combination with high doses of caffeine can lead to high blood pressure and, in combination with alcohol, can cause breathlessness.

What is the legal situation?

Kratom is currently not covered by the Narcotics Act in Germany. Kratom can therefore be purchased, for example via the Internet. Here, too, the consumer advice center warns that there are no standardizations for the products. The drug concentrations are unclear, and products with massive salmonella contamination were found. Some products also contained problematic high levels of toxic heavy metals such as lead and nickel. (vb)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • Richard M. van Rijn, Anna M. Gutridge, Meridith T. Robins, among others: G protein ‐ biased kratom ‐ alkaloids and synthetic carfentanil ‐ amide opioids as potential treatments for alcohol use disorder, British Journal of Pharmacology, 2019, bpspubs.onlinelibrary.
  • Consumer advice center: Kratom - Significant risk (accessed: November 13, 2019),

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