What are the most popular types of kratom? If you’re new to the world of kratom, how do you navigate the different strains, categories, and types to know precisely what you’re getting into with every product you buy? If you want to learn about the strongest kratom, click here.
Unlike types of coffee (such as Sumatran, Espresso, etc.), kratom has its entire catalog of strains and profiles, of which there are many. To start your journey of becoming a connoisseur of “kratom-dom,” we’ll explore the many categories of kratom out there, including:
- Including types of kratom named for their place of origin.
- Including types of kratom defined by leaf vein color.
- Including types of kratom by the format of usage.
Popular types of Kratom – Named for their place of origin
Here are some well-known strains based on place of origin:
Bali is an island in Indonesia. Kratom from Bali makes up some of the most popular worldwide strains and is known to be very effective, with high potency.
Depending on the leaf vein color, each strain from Bali will have varying effects, though supporting discomfort issues and energy levels are a couple of its best-known claims to fame.
Malay kratom means the strain was likely grown in Malaysia. Kratom from these trees is known to be very potent, possibly even more potent than Bali kratom. Malay kratom may be the source of most kratom powder which is one of the highest dose ways of experiencing kratom’s effects.
Like Bali kratom, Sumatra kratom is also from Indonesia, specifically from the island of Sumatra. Depending on the specific strain (typically leaf vein color category), Sumatran types are best known for helping you relax and sleep better or boosting your energy levels.
The island of Borneo is the third largest in the world, and home to different kratom strains known for having the longest-lasting effects— winning in the “endurance” category, so to speak. It can be consumed as a tea, powder, and other forms.
Indo kratom is a catch-all term for kratom strains originating and cultivated in Indonesia, though they are not specifically Sumatran or Balinese. Some will say it is an excellent strain for beginners: having potent effects that aren’t likely to be intense or overwhelming but definitely noticeable and appreciated by veteran users as well.
As the name suggests, Thai kratom is grown in Thailand. There isn’t an underlying description or set of traits distinct to Thai strains of kratom in general, so users will have to follow the sub-categories of Thai kratom: either White Thai kratom, Red Thai kratom, or Green Thai kratom, each having very different effects from one another.
Considered a highly sought, enigmatic, and peculiar (yet hard to find) strain, Vietnam kratom has a unique stamp in the kratom world. It is hugely popular among users— most likely caused by stories about incredible soil in the Vietnamese tropical environments where it grows. While it may only be hype, many reports say that Vietnamese kratom is one of the best strains you can get, though why it is may be unclear.
Hulu kratom is a strain grown in the Hulu Kapuas Regency of Indonesia and grown explicitly in portions of the region known to be sacred, along the banks of a notable river— said to increase the potency of the kratom tree. Hulu kratom is indeed revered as highly potent though the specifics of its effects depend on what leaf vein color strain you obtain.
Another popular strain, Papua, originates in its namesake country of Papua New Guinea. It is a newer strain but is slowly making its way towards taking the world by storm as a new and highly sought high-potency kratom. Like many other types, its specific effects depend on its color leaf category.
Sunda is also a new strain rapidly growing in popularity. It is grown in a small cluster of islands in Southeast Asia near Indonesia. Since it is so new, not much is known about its distinctness based on its origin, so many users are excited to try it.
Popular types of Kratom – Named for leaf vein color
Place of origin is only one approach to exploring kratom. Going by leaf vein color adds a whole other layer of categorizing kratom strains, with most strains being delineated first by place of origin and then color next.
In the end, this creates dozens if not hundreds of potential combinations and strains, with the following leaf vein color categories adding yet more complexity— and each color typically signifying a stage of maturity in the kratom leaves harvested from the tree.
White vein kratom strains feature the signature pearly white center leaf vein and are delicate. They are typically the least mature stage of leaves harvested from kratom. In essence, these are practically the “young” new leaves (not unlike white tea to green tea— white tea being the young leaves of the green tea plant).
White vein kratom is best known for its “uppity,” energy-boosting, coffee-like stimulant effects, according to the Center for Advancing Health (CFAH.org). However, this makes it less supportive of nervous discomfort.
Red vein kratom strains consist of leaves harvested at full maturity. The center vein is a very distinct, vivid red color, no matter the place of origin. It is very high in kratom’s naturally occurring active plant compound, mitragynine, an alkaloid.
However, red-leaf vein strains are considered more mellow and balanced. They contain the full suite of kratom’s active compounds: those responsible for mental clarity as well as nervous system support, soothing qualities, sleep support, and more.
Green vein kratom is also considered another balanced strain. It is the plant’s leaf-growing stage in between white and red, meaning that these leaves are only semi-mature. Its most vital characteristic is being a mood booster, alongside nervous system support and the other trademark benefits of the kratom experience.
A specific drying process of kratom leaves at the green vein stage produces yellow vein kratom strains. However, some don’t consider yellow one of the “main” or “primary” types of kratom leaf vein color categories, and more so a combination of the red and green categories.
As for the effects of yellow vein kratom, users report a pleasant mixture of relaxation, stress relief, and boosted mental clarity and mood.
Other popular types of kratom strains
A few types of kratom defy easy categorization. These strain names also have little to do with their place of origin or with color. However, some of these also do have leaf vein color categories. These other popular types of kratom strains are:
- Maeng Da. Considered a top-tier Thai-based strain of kratom (meaning “pimp” in Thai, meaning highest caliber). Famous for being an energy-booster and near “nootropic,”: meaning it boosts brain and nerve function in terms of memory, cognition, learning, and focus.
- Ketapang. This strain is Indonesia-based, with the most robust reputation for having a pleasant flavor, hard to find in other strains. It is simply less bitter. It strikes the perfect balance between energizing and relaxing effects.
- Bentuangie. Another Indonesia-based strain, Bentuangie, is fast becoming one of the most common and favorite kratom strains you can find. What’s unique about this strain is that it goes through a fermentation process, not unlike oolong tea. Its effects depend on what color you take: red, white, green, or yellow.
- Elephant. Elephant kratom is Sumatran in origin. It is only called Elephant because this type of kratom comes from a specific variety with enormous leaves reminiscent of an elephant’s ears. However, many claim it is a very potent strain, too.
- Dragon. It’s difficult to say what makes a kratom strain a “Dragon” strain. Red Dragon, White Dragon, and Green Dragon strains are becoming increasingly popular. Most sources would indicate that these are names for various proprietary blends of other strains, and each could be different depending on the company or source.
- Horn. “Horned” varieties are kratom products originating from kratom trees with spiked leaves (thus, “horned”). These include Green Horn, Red Horn, and White Horn strains (or Horned Green, Horned Red, etc.) The horned leaf edges supposedly contain more compounds than the rest of the leaves, so these strains are meant to be higher on the calm/relaxation scale than energetic.
Popular types of Kratom – Based on the format of usage
Once you know the effects you’re after, and you’ve lined up the proper combination of kratom place of origin and leaf vein color category— what’s next? The method of delivery.
Do you want a long-lasting experience? Something short and intense? Or do you want to save money and have your kratom go the extra mile? Here are the different formats of usage found among different kratom products, many sourced via Kratom.org guides.
- Capsules. This method provides a compelling delivery that helps you avoid unpleasant kratom taste (if you’re averse). People seeking a low dose will also appreciate this method. Those seeking higher doses may find this approach less practical and less cost-effective.
- Tablets. These are effectively the same as capsules, with the possibility of a different category name. Like capsules, they’re great for beginners, those after a low dose, and those who dislike the kratom taste— but not great for those after a high dose. (Tablet ingredients may increase the risk of gastric disturbance side effects).
- Gum. Gum can bring a strong dose with tasty flavor for users. However, not much is known about how it affects people uniquely. Most gum products (relatively new on the market) are made with kratom extracts.
- Tinctures. These are homemade preparations (which can sometimes also be purchased, though they tend to be called just “extracts”) in liquid form, consisting of kratom leaves extracted into an alcohol solution. The benefits are optimizing the use of your kratom and saving money, controlling dosage to a T (high or low— whichever you like), and helping your kratom last longer.
- Extracts. People buy extracts (or make their own) to create the most potent and unadulterated form of kratom you can take. These are typically liquid extracts (alcohol or other), though powder extracts are another popular form for high-dose use with kratom. Commercially made liquid extracts of kratom are more expensive, far more potent, and may have more side effects than powder extract.
- Tea. For those seeking the ritualistic and mellow way to consume kratom, drinking traditional kratom tea is the way to go. It may be cheaper than the above products (only requiring the purchase of some high-quality leaves) though it may not be the most cost-effective, as leaves post-tea-making may not always be reusable. Hot water doesn’t always do the best job extracting all the plant’s active compounds, compared to extract and other methods.
Frequently asked questions
- What type of kratom is best for relaxing?
You may want to opt for red-leaf vein kratom varieties of any strain or category. A Horned Red, or Red Horn, variety may have the most compounds that promote relaxation. Yellow vein types are recommended, too.
- What type of kratom is best for boosting energy?
Any white vein kratom of any strain is likely to be more stimulating. White Maeng Da may be one of the most stimulating combo categories or Bali White strain.
- What type of kratom is best for discomfort relief?
Avoid white leaf vein varieties, as these have the fewest compounds responsible for reducing nervous system discomfort. Go for red or green leaf veins instead.
- What type of kratom is best for mental clarity and focus?
Sumatran strains are known to be incredibly balancing (relaxing and energizing), which can help with mental clarity. Choose a red or green leaf vein strain— these are also famous for helping strike this balance, along with many Maeng Da and Ketapang-specific varieties.
- What type of kratom is best for beginning users?
Kratom experts may recommend the catch-all Indo kratom strains for beginners, especially in a capsule or tablet form, as they tend to be gentler. Green, red, and yellow strains will probably be the gentlest in this category, while Ketapang strains will be the easiest on the taste buds.