Red Maeng Da vs Red Horn

September 15, 2020 Articles, Kratom Alkaloids, Kratom Capsules, Kratom Extracts, Kratom Products, Kratom Research, Kratom Reviews, Kratom Strains, Kratom Tea, Kratom Vendors

Contrary to popular belief, Red Maeng Da and Red Horn are two kratom strains that are more alike than they are unique from one another. Although Maeng Da is widely considered the strongest strain on the planet, Red Horn Kratom has found favor among a growing number of botanical enthusiasts.

Today I’ll walk you through the surprising similarities and glaring differences between these two sublime speciosa cultivars. I’ll also hip you to the latest schemes by hucksters who claim that they’re more different than they actually are.

Let’s take a closer look.


As I said in my Maeng Da vs Borneo strain comparison, Maeng Da AKA Pimp Grade Kratom is a mitragynine-dominant strain that’s cultivated in Indonesia. It’s a common occurrence for shady vendors to pass Maeng Da off as something new and trendy like it’s the latest fad in herbals, but this is little more than a money grab.

In reality, Maeng Da is regarded as the oldest example of horned leaf kratom by the natives of Southeast Asia. Since kratom is only now becoming a familiar herb to Western consumers, many brands opt to market it as something new and exotic.

While Maeng Da is undoubtedly exotic it is anything but new; the locals of Indonesia have been chewing the Maeng Da kratom leaves for centuries and it is thought to be the first known example of horned leaf kratom.

Horned leaf refers to any genus of Mitragyna speciosa that produces large leaves with a horn-like shape. What makes Horned Kratom especially uncanny and alluring is its distinguished hue and aroma.

Like I said in my Horned Leaf guide, this cultivar can grow to be 6”1 in size with purple flowering leaves and a vibrant tint to its central vein. It is this central vein which contains high concentrations of mitragynine, the most dynamic of all kratom alkaloids.

The tri-horned or spiked leaves in question make for a potency that is virtually unparalleled. This coupled with the scarcity of naturally-occuring horned leaf trees means that this strain is always in demand.

In the case of Horned Leaf Maeng Da, you will only find it offered by a small clutch of native petani (farmers). At the time of this writing, there are less than eight reputable suppliers who export this form of M. speciosa to American buyers.

This strain is widely available in powder and cap form as well as fusions and isolates. A 20:1 Maeng Da extract is also sold in select markets. First-time users are advised to avoid extracts until such time as they have acclimated to this strain’s bold aroma.


A well-balanced variant with daytime and nighttime properties, Red Maeng Da or Red MD is a harmonious herb that very much wears its virtues on its sleeve (or leaf, as it were). The color of Red MD is hard to explain without conjuring Roy G. Biv.

Suffice it to say that its color and physical characteristics are matched only by its wealth of purported effects. The most common of these supposed effects include all of the following:

  • Mild elation
  • Moderate invigoration
  • Clean sensation
  • Notable calm
  • Subtle endurance
  • Alleged stamina
  • General sense of well-being

I trust you’ll agree that this one is a real paragon, one that deserves its legendary status and exhibits its power as an Ayurvedic herb. As history shows, the Eastern world has long embraced Red MD for its sacramental prowess.


Like Red MD, Red Horn is a strain from the horned leaf variety of M. speciosa trees. These evergreen beauties grow in the wilds of Pontianak in the heart of Indonesia. You may also find it available in parts of Papua New Guinea and Myanmar where farmers have taken the cuttings of the OG cultivar and harvested their own batch of live kratom plants.

While some have made divisive assertions against Red Horn—one writer even going so far as to suggest Red Horn is the biggest scam to hit the marketplace—many individuals acknowledge the wonders of this marvelous strain.

If you bother to look Red Horn Kratom up online, you’ll have to wade through a pretty thick river of B.S. There is a lot of misinformation surrounding this one, not least of which is one blogger’s insistence that it grows in “Borneo, Thailand.”

This claim has no merit or basis in reality if you have even a cursory knowledge of geography. After all, Borneo is an island in Indonesia which is nearly 5,000 kilometers or 131 hours away from Thailand.

Assuming you want to score some Red Horn, you may encounter some roadblocks. For instance, many kratom vendors advertise Red Horn on their sites, but a visit to their online store will show that it is frequently out of stock. That’s because Red Horn is rare and, therefore, it is only provided as small batch kratom.

Nevertheless, Red Horn is available in a variety of forms including powder, kratom capsules and liquid kratom shots. Some suppliers also offer kratom extracts, also in powder form.


Red veined horned leaf is believed to be extremely versatile, although personal experience has taught me that I can’t expect much. In this writer’s opinion, Red Maeng Da is far more potent and diverse in its effects than Red Horn.

That being said, I can confirm that I have experienced these commonly reported effects:

  • Elevated mood
  • Mild relief
  • Moderate tranquility


If there is one thing that jumps out at me when it comes to these two strains it’s the dramatic difference between their clean boost (or, in the case of Red Horn, lack thereof). Where Red MD offers a smooth sense of vitality that carries you through the evening, Red Horn typically possesses a dearth of energy or enhancement.

Although no medical claims can be made about kratom, innumerable users will tell you how much they enjoy the invigoration and exhilaration of this herb. Not so with Red Horn, a cultivar that is neither galvanizing or inspiring.

The best thing I can say about Red Horn is that it makes for a mild pick-me-up before one engages in a social outing. However, it will do you no good if you’re looking to catch some Z’s before an important business meeting or other work-related project.

By contrast, Maeng Da leaves me feeling relaxed, replenished and rejuvenated. That’s not something I can say about most Horned Leaf.

As someone who has battled fatigue and down moods, my money is always on Maeng Da (and similar strains) to lift me up. I simply haven’t gotten that with Red Horn, at least not very often.

At 4 grams it’s fairly robust, but never as bracing as its MD counterpart. This may suggest that it would be a suitable alternative to Red MD for first-time users.

All of this illustrates another important point: No two batches of kratom powder are exactly the same. Many users will have a magnificent experience their first time out, only to be disappointed when they return to the proverbial well.


In summary, Red Maeng Da is the real GOAT here while Red Horn is kind of the jackass of the bunch. But like the domesticated member of the horse family, this jackass is cerebral and strong.

Bob Freville
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