Millions of Americans are using an herb named kratom for chronic pain, anxiety, depression, fatigue, opioid withdrawal and more. The herb, grown in southeast Asia, has been safely used by natives for centuries.
The FDA and DEA are trying to ban kratom, claiming it is addictive and dangerous and has no known medical benefits. Several states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin, have already banned its use, possession and purchase. Some cities and counties in other states have also banned it. Bans are being considered in many other states. Because of the efforts of the FDA, the government of Indonesia, where 95% of kratom is grown, have announced a planned ban on its export within a few years.
Here are the stories of three kratom users who say kratom gave them their lives back. They all suffered from complex, severe pain lasting many years.
I am a nurse who suffered a bad accident that nearly killed me. It left me with several injuries and permanent debilitation. I have Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Degenerative Disk Disease, torn disks, TMJ, bursitis, and ligamentous laxity. I also have PTSD. I suffered for more than 20 years, at the mercy of western medicine. The only option I was offered for pain relief was morphine/opioids.
I wasn’t able to enjoy life as a mother or caregiver for all that time, due to negative side effects, such as increased brain fog, lethargy, and drowsiness caused by these FDA approved drugs. I was homebound most of the time and could not participate in many functions. However, that all changed after I found Kratom, an herb grown in southeast Asia. I got my life back. It gave quality back in my family’s life as well.
Now, I can sleep better. I am not weighed down with fatigue anymore. My pain is well controlled. I have mental clarity, with zero change to my personality.
Instead of taking 30 mg of morphine a day, I wake up and stir 1 tsp of pure leaf Kratom Powder into hot bubbling water and make myself a cup of Super Green Malaysian Tea.
Kratom does not impair or intoxicate you. Instead of feeling sleepy and lethargic from prescribed opioids, now my state of mind and mental capacity is crystal clear. I no longer have to fight my way through crippling fatigue. I am no longer at risk for respiratory depression, associated with FDA approved opioids.
For eight years I suffered terribly from fibromyalgia, arthritis, spinal stenosis, frayed meniscus, shoulder tendinitis and sciatica. This was despite taking 11 medications including prescribed dilaudid and fentanyl. I was bedridden most of the time and used a wheelchair and walker. I rarely left the house. For three years, I couldn’t even go visit my mom after she went into a nursing home. I missed out on ALL the activities my kids had at school and had no relationship with them.
Then, five years ago, I discovered kratom and it changed my life! It takes away about 75% of my pain. I now take ZERO medication and even my doctor approves of kratom. I bicycle several miles a day through a nature preserve near our home or walk two miles a day. I go out to places several times a week for dinner, coffee, etc. I went on a family camping and road trip from Michigan to Wyoming for the solar eclipse where I even did some rock climbing!
I’m now able to be there for my family. After starting kratom, I was able to see my mom often which was so important as she died March 23. I have been able to get to know my kids and establish a relationship with them. I am so lucky they all go to local colleges or I never would have gotten to know them. My daughter got married Nov 1. I danced till 11!
When I turned 16, my first real job was as a lifeguard. I went in, to get a little boy, and I got my foot caught on the outside of the pool. I dislocated my ankle, and the cast was put on too tight. It cut off the circulation and killed the nerves. The nerve damage spread, it’s now full body CRPS (CAUSALGIA), including trigeminal and ocular nerve damage. The nerves in my brain are also being affected. It’s shutting down my organs one by one and it will eventually kill me.
It has caused me to have gangrene, pulmonary embolisms (2), sepsis, blood poisoning, infections so bad I’d spend 2 months in the hospital, and 4 months in a nursing home- with debris removal occurring 2 times a day, every day. A wire brush scrubbing on my bones because I’ve had 11 bouts of osteomyelitis. Pic lines for 6 months to a year.
Because of the damage to my sympathetic nervous system, I have such brittle bones that my vertebrae are either broken, fractured or collapsed. I have an artificial hip and I’ve been told my other hip and knee need to be replaced. I’ve had over 200 surgeries, and been subjected to many experimental procedures. I have had three amputations.
I’ve had Lumbar sympathectomies, brachial plexus surgeries, contrast therapy, desensitization therapy, physical therapy and psychological counseling. I have been on every medication, and learned self-hypnosis, biofeedback, visualization and any form of dissociation that I could do. I’ve been put on meds that NEVER underwent clinical trials for the conditions that they’re prescribed for.
I was compliant on my opioid PRESCRIBED medications for almost 30 years. No request for early refills, no lost prescriptions, no failed hoop jumping. I HATED WHAT THEY DID TO MY HEAD! It was always a battle within: don’t take them and pain becomes out of control and hard to get on top of. Take them and my mind was numbed, not the pain. My world became veiled by a grey, mind-numbing fog. No colors, no beauty, no joy. I lost all hope. Then they cut off my opioids and forced me into a horrible withdrawal.
Then I found something better: kratom. Kratom lets me have a clear head and helps with the pain far more than the opioids. After being bedridden for the past 10 years, now I can get myself out of bed, into my wheelchair and into the front room. I have been sincerely smiling, laughing, trying to find a way to do a hobby or something. At least I have a desire to try.
I take a total of 1 1/2 tsp a day, of kratom, not all at once. It doesn’t get rid of all of the pain but I am able to tolerate what I have, far more than I ever could have on the pills! I can once again see beauty, feel joy and experience the intense differences between colors.
Help the American Kratom Association Preserve Access to Kratom
The American Kratom Association is in the forefront of efforts to preserve access to kratom. They have advocated in every state and locality that has proposed or instituted a ban. Please consider supporting this worthwhile organization and helping to preserve/restore Americans’ access to this remarkable herb.
Cindy Perlin, LCSW is a chronic pain survivor and the founder and CEO of the Alternative Pain Treatment Directory. She is also the author of The Truth About Chronic Pain Treatments: The Best and Worst Strategies for Becoming Pain Free