Whether you’re just researching, new to supplementing with kratom or a regular user, the question of what the best form to ingest kratom is an important one.
Kratom leaves in the USA are most commonly found in powdered form, but capsules and extract are also widely available.
Each has pros and cons, and there’s no “right answer” for everybody.
But hopefully, by the time you’ve finished reading this article, you’ll know more about the difference in dosage forms and have a better idea about what will most suit your own specific needs.
Before we get deeper into dosage forms, in case you’re not familiar.
The plant Mitragyna speciosa or kratom is a Southeast Asian tree related to the coffee shrub. It has been used as a folk medicine for centuries in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and other countries in that area.
Depending on the vein color and the region, the content of the active alkaloids varies resulting in a wide range of effects which has contributed to kratom’s popularity as a medicinal herb and nutritional supplement.
Kratom has several active constituents, and the two most important are considered to be mitragynine and 7-hydroxy-mitragynine.
These two compounds are found in greatest amount in the mitragyna plant and are responsible for much of the “magic” in the effects of kratom.
The many health benefits are, such as immunostimulant activity and antibacterial and antimicrobial effects. In addition to plain ground kratom leaf powder and kratom capsules, some vendors offer extracts of kratom.
There are as many types of kratom extract as there are varieties of kratom itself, it seems.
There are dry powdered extracts, some of the most potent extracts may even result in a crystalline substance if they are nearly entirely composed of mitragynine or 7-ho-mg.
There are also liquid extracts such as alcohol, oil or glycerine based tinctures similar to cannabis extract tinctures. Rarer, perhaps due to how quickly they can dry out and lose potency, are resin extracts.
Not all extracts are created equal, however. Depending on the method of extraction they may be “fractionalized” (only containing a portion of the plant’s contents due to the way it is extracted).
In other cases, there are what is known as full spectrum Kratom extracts which in many cases may be more effective because there are many other alkaloids, flavonoids and other plant compounds apart from the two main alkaloids that contribute to kratom’s effects.
Extracts are far more potent than plain powder and should be used sparingly and safely if at all.
A good extract from a trustworthy vendor should explain the form it comes in (powder, crystalline, tincture, etc.) as well as whether it is a full spectrum or fractionalized extract.
Extracts, especially liquid extracts, are often the fastest alternate means of ingesting kratom.
If you choose to purchase potent kratom extracts, it is best to use them rarely as extracts have been shown to build up tolerance much more quickly than with plain leaf kratom powder or capsules.
In Indonesia and other places that kratom goes wild, it’s not uncommon for kratom leaves to be chewed on and consumed whole.
In other cases, fresh kratom leaves are sometimes brewed into a sort of tea. It is even possible to chew the dried leaves using what is called the “quid method” where the plant material is chewed slowly in the same manner as chewing tobacco allowing buccal and sublingual absorption of the active constituents through the cheeks and under the tongue.
Unfortunately, for those outsides of the tropical climates of the Southeast Asian jungles where kratom goes wild, consuming fresh leaves is not an option.
As a result, as with many other herbs and spices, kratom is “cured” through a process of drying and then ground and milled to a fine powder.
The most common form of kratom outside of the jungle is plain ground powder. In general, the plant has its stems removed and is deveined before it is ground.
The veins and stems contain lower amounts of active alkaloids such as mitragynine and 7-hydroxy-mitragynine, so removing this makes the resulting milled final product more potent. In fact, often even in the native region, the central veins which give the leaf its color are removed.
Kratom Powder Consumption Methods
Kratom leaf powder can be ingested in multiple ways. Some choose to make a tea by boiling the powder.
One benefit of brewing kratom or many other herbs is the extraction of the constituents into the water, which allows for easier absorption and quicker, sometimes even stronger effects.
For some, the stronger taste of kratom isn’t pleasant; however, so the “toss and wash” method is prevalent with many kratom consumers.
“Toss and wash” consists of taking your dose of kratom and tossing it back in your mouth and washing it down with some liquid.
For this purpose, water can be used, but due to the hydrophobic nature of the plant powder, it often takes a bit of water to wash it all down.
Many people prefer to wash it down with a more viscous liquid like orange juice which, by the way, may actually potentiate the effects somewhat making the entire experience slightly stronger.
Soda water or any other carbonated beverage can also help wash down the kratom powder a bit more efficiently than water alone.
Other methods include mixing your kratom powder into kefir, yogurt or apple sauce as a means to mask the taste of the kratom powder.
Chocolate milk, hot chocolate powder or cappuccino mix can also be used to blend with kratom powder.
Regardless of the method of consumption, one crucial thing to always remember is to start small and titrate up as necessary.
Kratom is generally considered safe but overdoing it can result in nausea or even regurgitation if you overindulge.
One way to ensure you’re not taking too much is by starting slow with a small amount, if it’s not useful, in 45 minutes to an hour you can make more.
Remember that judging by volume is not always accurate. Depending on how finely ground the plant material, a teaspoon full of one kratom batch might be more or less than another.
Using a simple gram scale might be helpful here.
Kratom may be even easier and more convenient to measure, weigh, ingest and take on the go in capsules, however.
Using Kratom Capsules
Kratom capsules consist of ground kratom leaf powder encapsulated for simpler storage and usage.
Kratom capsules are famous for many reasons, not only does it make handling a lot simpler but for those who find the taste unpalatable, it eliminates that issue.
Capsules are also much more convenient if you’re on a road trip, carrying them to work, school, the gym or wherever you need them.
In addition to that, if you are purchasing kratom capsules from a trustworthy vendor, you can be sure of the quantity in each capsule which makes being certain of your dosage and normalizing the amount you take that much easier.
No need for boiling water, juices, yogurt or hot chocolate to cover the taste – Kratom capsules can take a lot of the worry and headache out of kratom consumption.
Most kratom capsules will be kosher and halal and depending on dietary restrictions and needs. You can also find a vendor who offers gelatin or vegetarian capsules.
Kratom capsules, however, will not be as quick acting as plain powder.
In addition to that, the cost of the pills and encapsulation process will contribute to the price so a package or bottle of kratom capsules will almost certainly cost more than the equivalent amount of pure kratom powder.
Kratom Powder, Capsules Or Extract: Pros And Cons
There’s no one way to use kratom and depending on your particular needs and the situation at hand, there may be more than one “right answer” as to what kind of kratom dosage form is best for you.
To make it easier to decide what form of kratom is best for what situation, here are some of the pros and cons.
Powdered Kratom Pros
- Most inexpensive form of kratom
- Fast absorption
- Can be blended with drinks, in yogurt or applesauce or brewed into tea
Powdered Kratom Cons
- Strong taste is unpleasant to some
- Can be messy and inconvenient if on the go
Kratom Capsules Pros
- Convenient, easily stored and perfect for travel
- No mess and no bad taste
Kratom Capsules Cons
- More expensive than plain kratom powder
- Takes longer to absorb and take effect
Kratom Extracts Pros
- Far stronger than pure kratom powder or kratom capsules
- Fast acting, especially in the case of liquid extracts and tinctures
Kratom Extracts Cons
- May cause tolerance to build up quicker
- Harder to measure dose and easier to overdo
Depending on the person and their needs at the moment, the question of which is better kratom powder, kratom capsules or kratom extracts may differ.
Capsules are often the most convenient, but definitely not the cheapest. As a result, capsules may be best saved for when you’re away from home or in a hurry and don’t have time to measure and prepare your dosage.
Plain kratom powder is the most inexpensive dosage form. As a result, it might be best to keep the bulk of kratom powder at home.
Another way to save money on capsules, by the way, is to buy a cheap consumer capping machine and spend some time encapsulating your kratom for when you’re out and about.
Meanwhile, if you can stand the taste of kratom, the quickest and strongest effects from the plain powder will be achieved by brewing kratom powder into a tea.
If not, however, the toss and wash method will still result in quicker action than utilizing kratom capsules.
Extracts, as we’ve mentioned, are best to be used only rarely. You can use small amounts of kratom extract to “enhance” your regular powdered material.
For those using kratom for chronic pain, for instance, a small amount of kratom extract might be used to enhance your regular pain maintenance dose in the case of “breakthrough pain.”
Remember to keep extracts stored and labeled properly.
Using kratom extract versus using kratom leaf powder is comparable to drinking a cup of coffee versus having a spoonful of caffeine anhydrous — though unlike with pure caffeine powder there isn’t a risk of heart attack or overdose death if you accidentally overingest.
Despite that however, it’s far easier to take too much kratom if you are using extracts.
Like with alcohol, for instace, too much kratom extract can can nausea, upset stomach and is generally unpleasant all around.
Kratom powder vs. kratom capsules vs. kratom extract: there’s no single answer and depending on who you are and what you need at the moment there may be multiple answers depending on the moment.
As we’ve shown in the article here, there are pros and cons to each dosage form and multiple means of consumption depending on your taste and desire.
Regardless of what means you choose to ingest kratom, the important thing is to make sure you use it responsibly and respectfully and in the accepted, recommended dosages.
If you’re considering using kratom or any other herb or supplement it’s important to always check with your personal care practitioner first.
Always check with your doctor, especially if you’re currently under a doctor’s care for any existing condition or are taking any over the counter or prescription medications.
Even natural substances can sometimes have side effects or interactions when used alongside other substances, so getting advice from a doctor is advised.