Shrouded in controversy, kratom has been subject to unprecedented government efforts to subdue its use and sale. However, with overwhelming anecdotal evidence supporting its effects, consumers aren’t backing down. In places though where kratom is banned outright, naturopaths have found alternative ways to enjoy its benefits.
Sakae Naa is a plant that’s gaining popularity for its uncanny similarities with kratom. Much like kratom, Sakae naa grows endemic to Southeast Asia and has been found to produce effects that closely resemble those of kratom. But is it a viable substitute? Here’s what you need to know.
The Combretum quadrangulare, or sakae naa, is a type of small tree from the Combretacaea family. It grows wildly throughout Southeast Asia, especially in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand. While modern communities in these countries are only starting to learn about Sakae Na, natives in the provinces have long used the stuff in folk medicine.
Just like the leaves of the kratom plant, Sakae Naa leaves are plucked fresh from the tree and chewed as is. This traditional method of use has been utilized by natives for centuries to alleviate discomfort and ease the body into a state of relaxation.
Unlike kratom which is highly documented through research and anecdotal reports, Sakae Naa isn’t quite as well published. For that reason, it might be a bit of a challenge to truly determine how it works. However, there are some sources that detail the tree’s effects when introduced into the body.
Sakae naa produces a range of benefits for the human body through its distinct chemistry. The tree’s leaves are rich in triterpenoids and flavonoids which are both highly regarded in naturopathic medicine. Triterpenoids, according to studies, may have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anti-viral effects. Flavonoids, on the other hand, are also abundant in hemp and are known for their antioxidant properties.
When taken into the system, sakae naa may produce a reaction that is similar to that of coffee. The plant may cause the following effects:
It’s not entirely clear how higher doses of sakae naa can affect the body. However, some reports document the following side effects when taken in larger amounts:
Keep in mind that just like any other herb, the effects sakae naa can vary from person to person. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you manage your dose and start with small amounts if you’re not sure how your body might react to the herb the first time around.
Looking at the effects of sakae naa, it’s easy to see why some locals in Southeast Asia might substitute it for kratom. But then again, there are still some major differences between these two herbs that might affect the way you enjoy or use them.
|Effects||Either uplifting or subduing||Uplifting only|
|Main active compound||Alkaloids (mitragynine, 7-hydroxy mitragynine)||Triterpenoids, flavonoids|
|Alleged benefits (based on speculation; NOT confirmed)||May help with opioid dependence||It May help with viral and bacterial infections|
|Varieties||Red, white, green, yellow, gold, black, etc.||None documented|
|Method of use||Powder, crushed leaf, capsules, tea, resin, extracts, concentrates, shots, food, etc.||Leaves only|
|Risk of dependency||Low||None|
|Availability||Extensive (head shops, online vendors, gas stations, etc.)||Limited|
Perhaps the biggest difference between the two herbs is the fact that some varieties of kratom may be able to produce the opposite of wakefulness. Red vein kratom is known for its ability to induce a feeling of calm, which can help people who might want to relax and unwind at the end of a long day.
On the contrary, sakae naa is known only to produce energizing and stimulating effects. For that reason, it might not be ideal to use the herb too late into the evening as it has been known to interfere with sleep patterns.
It’s also worth mentioning that while kratom has often been paraded as a potential solution against opioid dependence, sakae naa poses a completely different proposed purpose. The tree may be an effective solution against various forms of infection, but this has yet to be proven.
That depends. If you use kratom for its awakening, and energizing effects, then yes, sakae naa might be a suitable alternative. However, if you’re more interested in red vein kratom for its soothing effects, then you might not be able to achieve that with sakae naa. It’s also worth stating that sakae naa produces milder effects which might not cut it if you’re a veteran kratom user.
Sakae naa without comparison is obviously a promising herb. Offering unique benefits and showcasing the potential for actual medical use, the herb may soon find its own place in the world of naturopathic medicine. As a kratom substitute, it may be able to provide similarly, but not exactly the same results. However, if you were looking for a nice little pick-me-up to start your day, sakae naa might be worth a try.