There’s a fairly long – and ever-growing – list of symptoms and conditions for which kratom could be a suitable treatment. Could kratom help with arthritis joint pain and stiffness?
What Causes Arthritis?
Arthritis, an autoimmune disease that presents as pain and inflammation in the joints of the body, occurs when the immune system misidentifies the joints as foreign substances such as bacteria or a virus, and begins attacking them in the same way – by causing inflammation. This reaction means tissue inside the joints (synovium) thickens causing pain and swelling.
Alkaloids and Arthritis
The active ingredients in kratom are “alkaloids”, but the ones with which kratom advocates are becoming increasingly familiar – namely mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine – are far from the only ones out there.
Of course, we have opiates, alkaloid compounds that are derived from the opium or poppy plant. Within the opiate family are psychoactive like codeine and morphine. But the list is still far from complete.
Nightshades – produce that includes eggplant, tomatoes, and sweet peppers – contain some alkaloids such as glycoalkaloid solanine, which can cause inflammation in people with certain chemical makeups. That’s why, if you visit a naturopath and begin an elimination diet, you’ll notice these foods you’d think are quite healthy will generally be on the list of things to cut out of your diet.
But all alkaloids are not created equal. Obviously, since otherwise, we’d run the risk of getting high off of, or addicted to, cherry tomatoes (though, if I’m being honest, I’m probably a little bit addicted to those candy-like gems anyway). Just like not all alkaloids make you high, some alkaloids can have anti-inflammatory properties, too. In fact, alkaloids like isoquinoline have been found to reduce arthritis induced in rats.
So what about the alkaloids in kratom?
The Anecdotal Evidence for Kratom and Arthritis
There is evidence that alkaloids in kratom such as epicatechin (also found in dark chocolate!) and rhynchophylline offer anti-inflammatory benefits in patients with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.
The scientific study around kratom is still in its very infant stages, due largely to the ever-looming threat of DEA or FDA crackdowns, but the anecdotal evidence from patients trying their various symptoms with this ancient holistic herbal remedy cannot be discounted just because they aren’t published in a medical journal. Here’s what some people have to say about kratom and arthritis:
- On a Reddit feed where an arthritis sufferer asked about kratom, responses are very positive. A fellow sufferer swears up and down that kratom made an unbelievable difference in their life on both counts; she notes that she has not taken any prescription pain medications or NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) since beginning to use kratom and that the plant entirely controls pain and inflammation. Another respondent uses kratom to reduce extensive inflammation in her back. A third commented that while she still takes a specific drug for her arthritis, she has been able to almost completely eliminate NSAIDs from her treatment plan. There are even more positive responses in this thread.
- A 2016 study explored the results experienced by patients with chronic pain conditions following kratom treatments. The online survey pulled in responses from more than 6,000 kratom users and the results were very positive. 90% called kratom “very effective” while another 7% found it “somewhat effective”.
92% of the respondents who were using kratom to treat rheumatoid arthritis found the plant “very effective”, as well as 90% of those suffering from osteoarthritis.
- A commenter on erowid.org (a site that shares experiences of those who use psychoactive substances) discussed her use of kratom for rheumatoid arthritis back in 2008. She says she finds “decent pain relief and a wonderful mood lift…this seems to carry over, and I feel good the next day as well, if not longer.” This patient used kratom approximately three times per week, and planned to continue.
- Following the DEA kratom ban scare in 2016, the arthritis blog creakyjoints.org encouraged readers to write in if they would be negatively affected by the potential ban. Though unfortunately, there are no responses to the post, the mention does point to growing mainstream acceptance of the product in medical niches.
Evidence like this, not to mention other examples of kratom relieving inflammation in people with fibromyalgia and other autoimmune diseases.
Discover Natural Health with Kratom
Kratom is widely accepted as a natural alternative to potentially addictive and deadly pharmaceutical pain medications like narcotics. If you’re looking for an herbal remedy to replace (or prevent the need for) prescription drugs, take a look at some Original Harvest Kratom strains. For inflammation, we would recommend: