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Top 10 Kratom Alternatives to Consider


There are many botanical products beyond kratom that serve similar purposes. Whether you take kratom to wake up, relax, or for any other reason, you will find that some alternatives to kratom serve just as well.

Plants like kava, akuamma seeds, and cannabis are all considered healthy alternatives to kratom. Like kratom, these plants have usage histories nearly as old as human history. Cannabis contains THC and CBD, chemicals like the alkaloids found in kratom. Meanwhile, akuamma actually contains alkaloids that closely resemble mitragynine, the major component of kratom.

You will also find that plants in the same genus as kratom, like Mitragyna hirsuta and M. javanica, serve as pleasant alternatives to the tropical plant. M. javanica grows near kratom, while M. hirsuta grows in distinct regions.

When exploring kratom alternatives, you should start small and with trustworthy vendors. Take your time to research vendors to find one that checks all your boxes. There are many botanical product vendors from which to choose, and choosing a trustworthy vendor ensures you get high-quality products.


Reasons to Explore Kratom Alternatives

image of reasons to explore kratom alternatives

Kratom is a wonderful plant, but there are many reasons why you might want to look for alternatives. For example, you might not be allowed to purchase kratom in your region because of local regulations. You also might not enjoy its effects in specific contexts, like at work or while socializing. Kratom might also not do for you what you want it to.

Moreover, you might just have trouble finding it, as there are times when kratom sells out online and at local vendors. For whatever reason, it can be good to understand other botanical products and how they relate to kratom to be prepared when the time comes.

You might also be drawn to other botanicals just out of a natural curiosity sparked by your enjoyment of kratom. After all, if kratom is so great, maybe its close relatives are. There are also plenty of plants that hold the same cultural space as kratom in other regions.

There are many reasons for exploring alternatives beyond kratom, so read further to develop a general understanding of your options.


Top 10 Kratom Alternatives

There are many kratom alternatives throughout the world of botanical plant products. The ten popular alternatives listed here should cover anyone’s needs, though you might find that your favorite botanical is not mentioned. Think of this as a good place to start researching kratom alternatives.

  • Akuamma

image of akuamma powder

Akuamma is a plant grown in West Africa. Like kratom, people have used akuamma plant material for medicinal, spiritual, and social purposes throughout time. It became popular in the last century when people outside of Ghana learned that it is one of the most popularly used materials in Ghanaian hospitals. Throughout time, people have carried the belief that akuamma is useful in treating viral diseases like malaria. Whether this is true or not, akuamma indeed contains various alkaloids. Akuammine, the most prevalent alkaloid in akuamma, is strikingly similar in structure to kratom’s mitragynine.

For the most part, akuamma is milder and shorter-lasting than kratom. It can be useful if you want a shorter relaxation period. Like kratom, people use akuamma for help with focus and feeling calm. Akuamma is steadily growing in popularity and you are likely to find it sold alongside kratom. It can also be a useful alternative where kratom is illegal, as no regions have banned akuamma use at this time of writing.

  • Cannabis

Cannabis is easily the most recognizable botanical on this list, dwarfing kratom in popularity. Cannabis goes by many names, including marijuana, weed, ganja, and smoke. People like cannabis because its effects range from mild to intense. Like kratom, cannabis has natural chemicals that induce relaxation and mental focus. Cannabis also has a history of medicinal use, and today, it is one of the most widely studied plants for medicinal purposes.

Cannabis tends to have a longer-lasting effect than kratom. Its use is also banned in many regions, so it might not work as an alternative when kratom is hard to find. That said, there are some regions where cannabis, but not kratom, is legal.

Cannabis should be used when kratom feels overstimulating. It can also be more enjoyable, though this comes down to personal preference. Since people take kratom and cannabis for similar reasons, you should try each in small amounts, if you can, to decide which one is right for you.

  • CBD

image of cbd

CBD is one of the chemicals found in cannabis. Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive. It produces many of the relaxing and restorative effects associated with cannabis, while THC produces the cannabis “high.”

That said, CBD is also used to generally refer to products that contain a high proportion of CBD to THC. Some cannabis cultivars were bred specifically for trace THC, so people who do not like THC’s effects can still enjoy the beneficial properties of CBD. CBD is much milder than kratom. It can be a great alternative for people that want a relaxing effect without altering their state of mind. CBD is closer in effect to a nice herbal tea than it is to kratom. As a result, it can serve as a helpful alternative.

Unlike kratom and THC, CBD is legal in most regions. You can find it at convenience stores, apothecaries, and pharmacies. It is also often sold wherever kratom or cannabis products are sold. Even some restaurants carry CBD-infused menu items. This accessible botanical is affordable and a wondrous alternative to kratom or THC.

  • Guarana

Guarana is a natural energy drink much like coffee. It comes from the seeds of the guarana tree, native to the Amazon rainforest in South America. You will often see guarana listed in energy drink ingredient lists. Naturally high in caffeine, it can be easier to use guarana to make caffeinated beverages than pure caffeine.

As an alternative to kratom, guarana is best used as a substitute for white vein kratom. White vein kratom users tend to prefer the more uplifting and focus-inducing side of kratom. For many kratom users, however, the relaxing side can be too much. Guarana is more about clear focus with its high caffeine content.

If you are looking for a milder caffeination, however, bear in mind that guarana has twice as much caffeine as coffee. It is hard to overstate how easy it is to become overstimulated when using guarana as an alternative to kratom.

image of guarana

  • Kanna

Sceletium tortuosum, the scientific name for kanna, grows in South Africa, where people have used this plant throughout history. Kanna is a succulent plant, meaning it grows well in arid conditions and can be grown at home. The plant is considered important to culture, spirituality, and medicine.

Unlike kratom, people mainly chew kanna’s stalk and roots. Kanna also imparts effects with its alkaloids, like kratom. Unlike kratom, mesembrine, the primary kanna alkaloid, is thought by scientists to work as a selective serotonin uptake inhibitor. Because of this, people mainly use kanna to loosen social inhibition and boost confidence. While kratom is more relaxing, people prefer kanna for its party potential.

Kanna is a wonderful alternative to kratom in that it offers different effects. However, kanna is no easier to come across than kratom. It has yet to reach the same popularity as kratom, so it is one of the more difficult alternatives to find.

  • Kava

Like kratom, kava is also native to the Southeast Pacific Islands. Its origin country is likely New Guinea, though possibly elsewhere. New Guinea is one of the few countries where kratom grows natively. While kratom belongs to the same family as coffee, the madder family, kava is closer to the peppers. Kava is in the Piperaceae family, which includes black pepper and peppercorn.

Kava has a long history of use, potentially longer than kratom. Kava has been used throughout time as part of Austronesian spiritual rituals and social gatherings. Its effects are considered sedating, which makes it a stronger alternative to red vein kratom than other kinds of kratom. Unlike kratom, kava is harvested for its root, which contains the majority of its alkaloids.

Just as people in the past chewed kratom leaves and we now take dry kratom powder, people used to chew kava roots but now take dry kava powder. There are many similarities in these plants’ effects and history of use, so your choice of plant will come down to personal preference.

image of kava

  • Mitragyna hirsuta

Mitragyna hirsuta is another plant in the Mitragyna genus, which contains kratom. Like kratom, Mitragyna hirsuta comes from places like Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia. Its Thai name is kra khum thok. Unlike kratom, Mitragyna hirsuta grows slower and smaller. It can serve as a better ornamental plant for this reason, too.

In many ways, its history closely resembles kratom. Throughout time, native peoples have used kra khum thok in social and religious gatherings. Unlike kratom, which contains mitragynine, kra khum thok largely owes its effects to the mitraphylline alkaloid. Like kratom, the popular way to consume kra khum thok is by chewing the leaves.

Essentially, Mitragyna hirsuta is a direct alternative to kratom. It might not be as abundant, but its uses have been and are pretty much the same. If you enjoy kratom, you might want to check out kra khum thok just for the novelty of trying one of your favorite plant’s close relatives.

  • Mitragyna javanica

Mitragyna javanica is the scientific name for kra thum na, another Southeast Asian tree in the same genus as kratom. Like kratom and kra khum thok, kra thum na has an active alkaloid called mitrahavine. This nitrogen-bearing chemical is milder and shorter-lasting than mitragynine.

This plant became a popular alternative to kratom when it was banned in Thailand. As with the other Thai plants, people have chewed kra thum na leaves throughout history in similar contexts that they would kratom.

Like Mitragyna hirsuta, Mitragyna javanica can best be thought of as a direct alternative to kratom. Whether you are enjoying its dried leaf powder or chewing fresh kra thum na leaves, you are sure to find many similarities between kratom and Mitragyna javanica.

image of mitragyna javanica

  • Sakae Naa

The Sakae Naa tree is native to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand, much like kratom. Unlike kratom, this tree grows to a short height of ten meters. Throughout history, the Sakae Naa tree has been used as folk medicine. People think that its alcoholic and chemical components have antibacterial properties.

Throughout history, shamans have also used Sakae Naa. It became especially popular, like kra thum na, when kratom use was banned in Thailand. Though its chemical composition is different from kratom, it is worth doing further research.

Another benefit to Sakae Naa as a kratom alternative is that it tastes slightly better. Sakae Naa is even more understudied than kratom, though, so do start small if you want to try it as a kratom alternative.

  • White Willow Bark

The white willow tree, or Salix alba, has bark that people associate with many beneficial properties. The tree is large like kratom, though it grows in more northern regions. You can find white willow in western and central Asia and Europe.

The bark has been used throughout history for various effects. The bark contains salicin, which carries salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is the common name for aspirin, which comes from research on white willow bark. Whether or not white willow is helpful for anything beyond medicine, some people take aspirin daily like kratom. Definitely consult with a medical professional before taking any daily supplement. It might be worth exploring white willow if the effects of kratom are overwhelming. As an alternative to kratom, white willow bark tends to have milder effects.


Parting Words on Kratom Alternatives

Kratom is a wonderful plant with many alternatives to its different use cases. If you like to explore or want something besides kratom, there are many botanical options from which to choose. Hopefully, this guide helped clarify some about the wide world of herbal supplements. Before diving headfirst into any botanical product, it can be helpful to have some basic knowledge of the kratom alternatives you want to try.

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