Kratom, botanically known as Mitragyna Speciosa is a plant that has been used for decades in its native lands of Southeast Asia and harvest of kratom for medicinal purposes. Due to these therapeutic effects, the herb has gained popularity all over the world.
Similarly, it gained an immense amount of fame in the U.S as well. Although most of the states have legalized the use of this herb, there are a few exceptions that have banned its sales or even consumption.
The herb is being sold and consumed in various forms that include dried powder of the leaves, capsules, tablets, and even brewed tea. But due to this raging popularity, people have started to grow their Kratom plants as well.
They grow them by either purchasing seeds of the herb or live plant cuttings. To grow the plants is one job, but the harvest of Kratom is a whole another situation. Let us go further deep in this article and see what you would require when you harvest your bunch.
Factors That Have An Effect On The Harvest Of Kratom
Sub-optimal conditions like the lack of sunlight and excessive watering can easily damage your plants and thus yield a low-quality harvest. This condition will not be favorable for anyone who is growing these plants with a lot of affection.
This is why you should act like a farmer but treat the early stages of the plant just like your baby. It needs to nurture and grow in nutrient-rich soil with high-quality fertilizers. Only these top-notch conditions would produce a harvest that will match your expectations.
You will need to regulate your light, temperature, soil, and water settings daily and adjust them according to your plant’s needs. And make sure that you do not use any harsh chemicals or pesticides to grow your herb.
Life Cycle Of The Leaves Before The Harvest Of Kratom
The plant grows in a life cycle that is based on its level of maturity. During each phase of its life cycle, the herb goes through a series of maturity levels that are identified through the different colors of the veins that are present on the leaves.
These veins are the identifying structure that tells you whether it is the right time for the harvest of Kratom leaves or not. 3 phases in this life cycle decide the maturity of the leaves.
- The first phase is when the veins on the leaves turn white; this is the earliest phase of maturity and thus you can harvest them to make fresh dried powder labeled as white vein powder.
- The white vein leaves have a higher percentage of mitragynine than 7-hydroxy mitragynine. For people who prefer the effects of this alkaloid, they harvest the leaves at this stage
- The leaf then ages to a more developed and mature level, and the veins turn green. This phase can be sought as the midpoint of this life cycle.
- This middle-aged leaf vein has a balance of both the alkaloids present in the Kratom plant
- The end of this life cycle is marked by the red vein of the leaves. This phase is when the leaves are fully matured and have developed into their ultimate form.
- There is a great shift in the alkaloid content from mitragynine to 7-hydroxy mitragynine.
- This vein is the most potent among the other two.
Process Of Harvest Of Kratom Leaves
To make the harvest fruitful and the damage minimum, we will tell you the same method that the traditional farmers use. Carefully trim your leaves with your branch left behind.
The branches can grow another set of leaves once the plant completes another life cycle. This will allow another harvest of Kratom leaves, thus making the process easier for you.
It is based on your experience and knowledge whether you want to leave the stems intact or prune the leaves along with them.
Sorting The Leaves
After the leaves have been harvested, they are sorted according to the colors of their vein. These sorted leaves are then dried and processed further to make Kratom powder and eventually different Kratom products.
When the leaves are harvested at the peak time, there is a greater percentage of leaves with red veins in comparison to the white and green ones. This is why people carefully time their harvest of Kratom leaves. This makes sure that they receive each vein in equal quantities.
Drying The Harvested Leaves
The harvest of Kratom leaves is now complete and once they are sorted accordingly, the leaves are now all set to be dried. These leaves are spread evenly over a large surface area and then exposed to factors that will dry them up completely.
You can either place these leaves indoors under an industrial fan or leave them outdoors, under direct sunlight. The time you give them to dry is directly proportional to their potency levels.
Sunlight is a less tacky and more manageable way of drying your leaves up. As you have little worry to do about mold or mildew spores. But you need to keep an eye on the weather conditions. Any amount of moisture can either cause mold or increase the time it takes for leaves to get dried up.
Increasing The Potency Of The Harvested Leaves
There is an additional step that can be added before you dry your leaves. This step is the fermentation of the harvested leaves. For this step, you need to wrap your leaves in burlap bags and store them in a dark cool place to ferment.
People usually carry out this step with the red veins, to further enhance their potency. The potency is increased by modifying the molecular makeup of the alkaloids present in the leaves.
Crushing The Dried Harvested Leaves
After raiding the leaves of all the moisture that they had, the leaves are now all set to be crushed to form Kratom powder. The finer your powder is, the less time it will take to absorb in your body. Some people cut the dried leaves into coarse amalgams which are later on used for steeping to make tea.
Earlier the powders were crushed by hand using a mortar and pestle, but nowadays there are different types of machinery available to conduct this task.
Third-party Lab Testing
When this whole procedure is complete, the companies that produce this powder on a commercial level send their samples to be tested in a laboratory. This way if the product is adulterated in any form, it can easily be identified.
If you grow Kratom in your backyard, you will now have to worry about these testing procedures, since you are consuming your homegrown products yourself.