Kratom products consist solely of the tree’s foliage. These leaves contain protective alkaloids that keep them safe from pests. Yet, many commercial farmers still use pesticides.
Kratom is a substance from the leaves of Southeast Asian Mitragyna speciosa coffee trees. It recently entered the West and became accessible to curious consumers. It takes several clicks to try natural red Borneo capsules here. How will you know it’s pesticide-free, though?
Today, we discuss pesticide use in kratom cultivation. We also share shopping tips to help you bypass harmful chemicals in your consumables.
Pesticide Use in Kratom Cultivation
Young Mitragyna speciosa is susceptible to several pests, including aphids, larvae, and root maggots. The species’ preference for humid climates may also make it vulnerable to fungus gnats.
Mature kratom isn’t particularly vulnerable to pests. Its alkaloids serve a protective purpose, making the leaves unappealing to bugs and insects.
When kratom is native to an area, it develops a symbiotic relationship with the surrounding vegetation. Other plants attract pest attention while the tree is young. Once the alkaloid contents rise, the local termites, grasshoppers, and lacewings completely ignore it.
What Happens Outside Native Regions? Problems Arise with Monocultures
In single-plant setups, there’s no vegetation to draw attention away from kratom. Pests might attack before the trees’ defense mechanism develops, so farmers spray seedlings after sowing. They also use:
- Herbicides to clear the land of weeds
- Insecticides to kill caterpillars and bugs that eat kratom leaves
- Fungicides to prevent the leaves from developing brown spots
Many natural substances can play these roles. Neem oil spray repels most insects; coffee beans, tobacco, and water-alcohol solutions are also handy. Chemicals only make things more convenient at the cost of safety.
You can artificially make your garden biodiverse if growing kratom at home. Companion plants like mint, sunflowers, and food crops keep your trees safe until they develop alkaloids.
In reality, large-scale growing operations could employ the same basic principles.
Growing Kratom Without Pesticides
Eco-farming has gained traction in recent years. It enables crop production while protecting the planet, plants, and people. A part of it is pest deterrence without chemical input.
A kratom plantation might opt for organic pest control, using natural ingredients to make the leaves unappealing to bugs. The method is less invasive than chemicals and offers excellent efficiency rates.
If we go a step further, plantations could become small-scale ecosystems. They can include compatible plant and animal species to fight infestations and quality soil to boost the trees’ pest resistance.
Many of these chemical-free projects are still in their infancy. Although they show promise, pesticide-grown products remain more prevalent.
Pesticides and Kratom Products
Mitragyna speciosa doesn’t grow in America, so you’re more likely to purchase than grow it. Is kratom safe if treated with pesticides during cultivation? The safety depends on post-harvest processing and the strength of applied pesticides.
Farmers usually wash dirt and bugs off the harvest. The run-off should also remove pesticides and make the leaves safe for consumption. If they applied liberal amounts of strong chemicals, the foliage might’ve soaked them in.
Once harvested, dried, and ground into powder, the kratom leaf shows no sign of containing pesticides. You must rely on the farmer for safety, so let’s investigate the supply line.
The Indonesia Situation
Kratom trees used to grow in the wild, and farmers’ main task was to harvest their leaves at peak ripeness. Cultivation is a relatively new practice that emerged with increased demand.
Indonesia is the number one source of kratom in the US. Unfortunately, many regional farmers use pesticides banned in developed nations. That’s due to the rapid influx of companies trying to capitalize on this cash crop.
New-generation manufacturers seek to produce more kratom in less time. To do so, they use pesticides to protect seedlings and speed up growth. The chemicals can infiltrate the leaf vein and become unremovable.
Indonesian environmental pollution could also lead to contamination. Commercial palm trees are numerous in the country, and farmers use chemicals on their canopies. Pesticides return to the groundwater, and low levels reportedly occur in kratom leaves.
Due to these two factors, you can’t always avoid some contamination. You can minimize risk by cooperating with responsible wholesalers and reading test results.
Kratom Product Pesticide Testing
Kratom products vendors should only import from farmers who don’t condone harsh chemicals. While it’s ideal for cultivation to be fully organic, post-harvest processing can minimize harm if they use pesticides sparingly. Rinsing the leaves in warm water should be enough to clear the residue.
Companies that enforce these regulations will publicize this fact, which you can use to your advantage. Only purchase kratom products from vendors who:
- Provide comprehensive lab tests for every imported batch. Many perform a single test and stick it on all products, which is misleading. Look for unique QR or lab codes with each product.
- Provide tests from accredited labs, and avoid those claiming in-house testing. Ideally, the laboratory should be kratom-specialized.
- Cooperate with local farmers (not new foreign companies) and those that offer wild-harvested kratom.
The Bottom Line
Kratom products needs no pesticides to thrive. Some pests may harm young trees, but organic protectants can support them during the early stages.
Chemicals only get used because manufacturers want to produce as many leaves in as little time as possible. With know-how, you can avoid these companies and consume pure products.
Rely on natural pest repellants if cultivating the tree. Shoppers should stick to reputable retailers to bypass the kratom risks associated with negligent pesticide use.