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Are Kratom And Kava The Same Thing?

Are Kratom And Kava The Same Thing?

Over the last decade, those seeking wellness support from herbal supplements have increased 10 folds. People are looking for more natural ways to live. In doing so, we have had a lot of customers ask, “Are kratom and kava the same thing?” No, these are two different herbs that offer completely different support. Let’s take a close look at kratom and kava so you can understand their similarities and differences.

What is Kratom?

Kratom comes from the Mitragyna speciosa trees. This plant originates from Southeast Asia. This evergreen tree grows in the jungles and along river banks. However, kratom farmers typically grow their crops in a controlled environment so that they can get consistency when it comes to the quality of kratom they are producing. 

The leaves of the kratom plant are packed with robust alkaloids. These alkaloids work with the opioid receptors in the brain. There have not been a lot of studies on kratom because this herb is not backed by the FDA. 

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This plant comes in 4 different vein colors, which include red, green, white, and yellow. The vein color proves the maturity of the plant. Red kratom signifies the most mature leaves. While white vein kratom comes from young leaves. Green kratom is right at the midpoint of its life. Yellow strains are the product of a drying technique and will not occur naturally. 

In addition to vein color, kratom comes in many different strains. The most popular strains include Maeng Da, Borneo, Bali, Malay, and Thai. Kratom is offered in many different forms including capsules, powders, and extracts

What is Kava?

Kava is part of the pepper family and is also known as Piper Mehysticum. This herb has also been utilized in Southeast Asia culture. Kava is a shrub and the roots are what people seek. The roots of the kava plant can be made into a paste. This paste can be mixed with water or coconut milk.

Kava has been more researched than kratom, but there is still a lot about kava that is unknown. One studied it showed that kava can cause severe liver damage. This discovery has caused the FDA to warn consumers against using kava. This herb has been banned from some countries. However, it is more widely available here in the United States than kratom is.  

Are Kratom And Kava The Same Thing?

Kava and kratom are two very different herbs. Here we will go over some of their similarities and differences so that you can see how each plant measures up. 


Both kava and kratom can be used to make tea. However, kratom uses leaves while kava uses plant roots. So, two very different parts of the plants are used. Kratom and kava also both come in pill form. Kratom also comes as gummies, tablets, and extracts. When it comes to products, kratom has more on the market. However, this is not to say that kava will not take on new forms in the future. 

One of the new things in large cities is Kava Bars. They are marketing kava as an alternative to drinking alcohol. You may even find kratom offered in these bars. However, there are not a lot of these locations throughout the United States, so you would have to get lucky enough to have one in your area. 


Both herbs come from Southeast Asia, so this is a similarity that they share. However, this is the only real similarity between the two herbs. They are very different, and you will see that in the next section. 


Kratom is a tree, while kava is a shrub. They do have a similar appearance and are prepared in similar ways. However, they are very different when it comes to the support that they offer.


As you know, kratom faces many legal issues not only in the United States but worldwide. Since kratom is not regulated by the federal government each state has to decide on how to handle this herb. 

Some states have decided to ban its use. However, the American Kratom Association is working hard to make kratom bans a thing of the past. This organization is working with state officials to adopt the KCPA. 

The KCPA will address several issues including age restrictions, labeling, and fines. Kratom has been utilized for centuries in Asian culture. If Thailand can decriminalize kratom after 40 years, there is hope that bans across America will also one day be a thing of the past. 

Kava is more accepted than kratom. This herb has seen legal issues in Germany and Switzerland where it has been banned. However, these bans did get released in 2015. 

What Are Some Differences Between Kava and Kratom?

Kratom works with the opioid receptors found in the brain. A lot of people get the misconception that kratom is an opiate but it is not. Since there is not a lot of scientific research surrounding kratom is hard to know what this herb offers. It is packed with rich alkaloids including mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine

Kava interacts with the limbic system. There is more research surrounding kava, but there is still a lot that we do not understand about this herb. Kava is packed with kavalactones and it will vary from one plant to the next. These kavalactones are very different from the alkaloids that are found in kratom. 

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Kratom and kava are very different herbs. They do not work with the same parts of the body and offer different types of support. It all comes down to personal preference and what type of wellness support you are seeking.

Regardless of what herbs you wish to try be sure that you always consult with your family physician. You never want to take an herb that could interact with other medications you are on or medical conditions that you are being treated for. Your doctor is the only one who can advise you on herbal supplements. 

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Written by Nimesh Madushanka

Updated on January 29th, 2024

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