Maeng Da Kratom—Origins, Alkaloid Profile, Dosage and More

December 17, 2019 Articles, Kratom Alkaloids, Kratom Blends, Kratom Capsules, Kratom Extracts, Kratom Legality, Kratom Products, Kratom Research, Kratom Reviews, Kratom Strains, Kratom Tea, Kratom Vendors

Kratom comes from Mitragyna speciosa, an evergreen tree from the coffee family of plants. Indigenous to Thailand, the leaves of the Mitragyna speciosa tree have been chewed by the natives of Southeast Asia for centuries.

When Thai authorities decided that Mitragyna speciosa use was posing a threat to the opium industry, they placed a ban on kratom. But that didn’t stop Easterners from enjoying this Ayurvedic herb. In due time, kratom was harvested all across Southeast Asia from Indonesia to Myanmar and parts unknown.

This natural substance was used for a variety of applications in its native land before finding its way overseas. In the 2000s, the Western world was introduced to kratom and it swiftly became an in-demand item at vitamin stores and smoke shops.

Today Americans can find kratom for sale in a variety of forms; kratom powder and kratom capsules are but two of the most common forms of the plant matter. As users have sought out stronger kratom strains, shrewd kratom vendors have concocted a number of more powerful solutions. This is why you hear a lot of chatter about UEI (Ultra Enhanced Indo) and FST (Full Spectrum Kratom Extract).

Whether these extracts and kratom shots are really more powerful than traditional kratom strains is something that is largely debatable. Some swear by them while others write them off as tainted garbage.

The same is true of many kratom strains. This is due, in no small part, to the varying consistency (or lack thereof) of each kratom brand. For example, you can buy Super Green Malay from five different vendors and no two batches will be the same. Color, texture, taste and freshness tend to be different on a case by case basis.

There are many reasons for this dearth of consistency. Sourcing plays a major role in determining the freshness and potency of kratom powder. If a vendor gets their kratom leaf from a disreputable source then there’s no saying how good it may or may not be.

Legitimate vendors are selective when it comes to the batches they source from overseas. They personally sample and test products before offering them to customers. In this way they are able to ascertain whether their kratom has been grown in appropriate conditions, whether the plant material came from a mature tree and how it measures up to other strains.

By submitting each batch to a third party laboratory, they are able to find out the precise concentrations of kratom’s key alkaloids (mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine). Furthermore, they are able to prevent disaster if their batch tests positive for unacceptable levels of bacteria or other contaminants.

While there are many trusted vendors on the market who follow quality control protocol, there are very few who aren’t guilty of over-hyping their products. Nowhere is this more accurate than in the case of Maeng Da.

Maeng Da kratom is, by far, the most talked-about kratom “strain.” Aside from the much sought-after White Sumatra or Elephant kratom, it is the biggest bestseller that the industry has seen in 2019.

You’re probably wondering why I put quotations marks around the word strain. We’ll get to that in a second. But first, let’s talk about geography. 10,045.42 miles—that’s the distance between La Guardia Airport and Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. The former is one of America’s busiest airports while the latter is Indonesia’s busiest airport. Obviously it should go without saying that the average American doesn’t have the luxury of traveling 10,000+ miles to visit a kratom plantation in-person.

If they did, they might be surprised to learn some of the tricks of the trade, particularly the tricks that are being played on American consumers.


A lot of kratom bloggers will tell you that MD kratom is an “ancient” and well-regarded kind of kratom. They will also tell you that it has its origins in Thailand. Not only is it impossible for it to be ancient if it comes from Thailand (see Thai kratom ban above), it is also misleading to say that it is well-regarded since this implies that people know the truth about this so-called strain.

You wanna know a secret?

Maeng Da kratom doesn’t exist.

You read that right, Maeng Da is not an actual strain in the genuine sense.

So what is that green vein kratom powder that you bought under false pretenses? Well, technically it is Maeng Da, only the name really doesn’t mean anything.

Several years ago, kratom vendors started grappling with customers who would come to them looking for something stronger than their standard powders. This was no doubt the result of chronic kratom users developing a tolerance to traditional kratom tea.

In an effort to compete for the largest profit, one kratom vendor decided to take Green Vein Thai and slap Maeng Da on the label. This is how they pushed it as a new and exotic strain. The seller’s plan worked like gangbusters. The mysterious Maeng Da moniker, which allegedly translates as “pimp grade,” captured the imagination of unsuspecting consumers who bought the hype hook, line and sinker.

Today virtually all kratom brands offer some form of Maeng Da, whether it’s in powder, capsule or liquid kratom extract form.

Maeng Da is said to be the strongest kratom strain around, but many in the kratom community would beg to differ. As a matter of fact, Horned Leaf kratom, Elephant kratom and Sundanese strains have all been proven to contain higher concentrations of 7-hydroxymitragynine. Each of these legit strains have a storied history of being very potent.

So the question remains…is Maeng Da really powerful?

That all depends on where you get it from and who you ask. A multitude of vendors offer Maeng Da that is, indeed, quite strong. However, its strength is often comparable to other true strains.

The reality is that Maeng Da is a marketing tool. Nothing more, nothing less. Whether you’ll enjoy it all depends on whether you like green vein kratom. Chances are, it might be okay, but consumers should take dilatory steps when deciding on where to buy Maeng Da kratom and how much to spend. MD is not worth more money than other strains just because of the narrative that’s been created around it.


Users often base their buying decisions on the color of a given strain. But this is just one more area in which the industry can be misleading. The truth is, all kratom comes from red leaves. This is something that almost every vendor knows, they just aren’t in any hurry to share this information with the public.

No matter what you consider your go-to strain, it had its beginnings as a red.

The strain color is something that is added later through a process of drying the kratom leaves. The method of drying that is used will determine what the final color will be. Some suppliers dry their kratom leaf indoors while others prefer to expose their leaves to sunlight.

As with other agricultural crops, there are many factors that influence the product’s outcome. Fermentation is one factor that can alter the final results.

Those who rely on mineral-rich soil will likely yield leaves that test higher in terms of their alkaloid content. This is true of Maeng Da kratom as it is of any strain.

In terms of color, Maeng Da should be green because it is typically dried in a dark, low-temp clean room. Once this process is nearly complete, they are then transferred to an outdoor facility where they continue to dry in the open air for a minimum of one hour.


You can call it “pimp kratom” all you want, but this name was initially used by the natives of Southeast Asia as a pejorative. To liken this enhanced, “stepped on” bastardization of true kratom was to do something every bit as amoral as what a pimp does.

This kind of contempt is understandable when you consider how revered the Mitragyna speciosa plant is in Indonesia. The local people regard it as a sacred herb that has brought them centuries of joy and relief. It’s only natural that they’d be a tad dramatic about Westerners tinkering around with their beloved botanical.


It’s difficult to give a definitive answer where such comparisons are concerned. As we’ve mentioned before, the kratom experience is generally different for every individual who tries it. Things like body type, chemical sensitivity and metabolism all affect how one responds to a given kratom strain.

From a purely clinical standpoint, the odds would favor Red Bali as the stronger of the two since red strains are usually subject to a much longer window of drying time. This protracted drying process produces leaves that are far more potent than others.


Kratom contains more than 25 unique alkaloids, many of which occur in very small concentrations. Of these alkaloids, mitragynine, paynantheine and 7-hydroxymitragynine typically occur at the highest concentrations.

Total alkaloid concentration in dried leaf fluctuates between 0.5% and 1.5%, although the “enhancement” or extraction of concentrations from Maeng Da kratom can result in much larger volumes of these two indole alkaloids.


At larger doses, MD kratom may be useful as a nighttime tea. Again, the effects of Maeng Da depend largely on an individual’s physiological makeup and diet. Most users agree that brewing kratom tea on an empty stomach results in the most powerful aroma.


Figuring out the best dosage for your needs is something that takes some time. You’ll want to start at the lowest possible dosage before slowly graduating to a moderate dose after you’ve acclimated to kratom’s effects.

Since kratom’s legality varies from state to state, one should always do research before ordering their tea online or from a local shop. Be sure that you are within your rights to possess kratom.

A good starter dose is 1.5 to 2 grams since this will have the mildest effect and enable you to cross the threshold without the likelihood of kratom hangover. Microdosing is a viable way to avoid the development of tolerance.

Cycling your dosages is another important means by which to prevent abuse or addiction. By taking a two-day break in between each day of dosage, you will avoid chemical dependence on this powerful herb.

Once you’re used to kratom, you should think about dosing with no more than 3.5 grams per sitting. This is considered a moderate dose while 5-6.9 grams is regarded as a high dosage range. Anything more than 7 grams is widely considered ill-advised, although many seasoned users brew as much as 8-10 grams.


It should come as no surprise that kratom use has been associated with hospitalizations, overdoses and even death. Just like any other substance, it has the potential for abuse, addiction and adverse effects. This is why it should not be taken by those with preexisting health conditions, particularly those with liver disease, kidney problems, high blood pressure or heart disease.

Kratom is not approved for medicinal use by the FDA and is not intended for human consumption. It is often sold as a research chemical or, alternately, as a form of aromatherapy. It is not considered a natural supplement here in the United States.

Pregnant or lactating mothers should NOT take Maeng Da or any other form of kratom. There are numerous side effects that can occur when using kratom. They include all of the following:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Confusion
  • Stomach cramps
  • Dry mouth
  • Tongue numbness
  • Anxiety
  • Aggression
  • Delusion
  • Headache
  • Skin discoloration
  • Dilated pupils
  • Sweats
  • Frequent urination
  • Painful urination
  • Diarrhea
  • Drowsiness
  • Loss of balance
  • Thyroid problems
  • Hallucinations
  • Respiratory depression
  • Hot flashes
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Liver damage
  • Kidney failure
  • Brain swelling
  • Seizure
  • Death

It is worth noting that most of these side effects only occur at large doses or when kratom is taken in tandem with prescription medications. Those who suffer from mental disorders should consult with a specialist prior to considering kratom use as it may increase suicidal tendencies.

Bob Freville
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