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If you are looking for a kratom benefits pain reliever, mood booster or energy-provider, you may be considering the leaves of the plant Mitragyna speciosa, better known as kratom. This plant-based herb is sold in a variety of forms, from pills and powders to teas. But “natural” doesn’t always mean safe, especially when it comes to a product as potent and misunderstood as kratom.

The CDC warns that there are no clinical trials that demonstrate kratom’s benefits, and the herb can be dangerous at high doses. There are frequent calls to CDC poison centers related to kratom use, and the drug has been linked to salmonella outbreaks in multiple states. And since kratom isn’t regulated by the FDA, it can be difficult to find trustworthy information about how much and how often to take it.

“Finding the Perfect Match: How to Choose the Best Kratom Capsules for Your Needs

In small doses, kratom acts as a stimulant and can improve concentration. At higher doses, it becomes a sedative and promotes feelings of well-being and relaxation. It also boosts the levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which helps with feelings of reward and pleasure.

Some people who use kratom report mild side effects, such as constipation or lethargy. But these are usually short-lived and resolve within a day or two. The biggest risks seem to be from using too much or taking it with other medications or substances, and from consuming contaminated kratom.

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