Kratom is a tree native to Southeast Asia (Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Borneo, etc.). Its botanical name is Mitragyna speciosa. Kratom is in the same family as the coffee tree (Rubiaceae). Kratom, or mitragyna speciosa, is a plant that was discovered by a dutch settler in the early 1800s. After its discovery, kratom leaves quickly became known as a source of energy and endurance by the natives who chewed the leaves on long treks through the jungles of Thailand. The leaves were traditionally chewed raw but may also be brewed into a tea or dried and ground into fine powder. In southern Thailand, the use of kratom has been common practice by natives for thousands of years.
There is no stigma or discrimination attached to kratom use there, as its use is as common as drinking coffee in the United States. In fact, Thai employers in the 1800s were said to have preferred to hire workers who chewed kratom because they were found to be more focused and energetic. It is used in folk medicine as a stimulant (at low doses), sedative (at high doses), recreational drug, pain killer, medicine for diarrhea, and treatment for opiate addiction.