Comparison Of Kava Vs Kratom

kava vs kratom

The nationwide movement to lead healthier lifestyles has caused many herbs to gain popularity. Kava and Kratom both offer overall wellbeing, but you may be wondering how these herbal remedies compare. While both originate from the South Pacific, there are some differences that you should be aware of. Let’s take a closer look at Kava vs Kratom. 

What Is Kratom?

Kratom has gained a lot of attraction in the legal sector with continued battles of whether or not this herb should be legal. Kratom powder originated from Southeast Asia and comes from the mitragyna speciosa tree. The leaves of the mitragyna speciosa tree contain unique alkaloids known as mitragynine. These alkaloid profiles are what give kratom its characteristics. 

The mitragyna speciosa tree is part of the coffee family. The leaves have traditionally been used in various Asian cultures as medicinal and herbal remedies. There are various types of kratom and they are based on the color of the leaf’s veins. These variants include red, green, yellow, and white. The vein colors change as the leaf progresses and matures within its life cycle. Each stage of maturity can offer a different level of potency and overall balance. 

Not only are their different types of kratom based on vein colors, but there are also different strains. Some come naturally, others have been bred to produce hybrid strains. 

What Is Kava?

Kava is known to be used in cultural ceremonies in Southeast Asia, which is also similar to the origins of kratom. This herb is part of the pepper family, and its botanical name is Piper Mehysticum. Kava is a shrub, and rather than the leaves being utilized like kratom, the roots of the kava plant are made into a paste. The paste can then be mixed with water or coconut milk. 

In addition, juice can be extracted from the plant and has been used to aid in various wellness elements. There are some studies on kava, but there is not enough to support claims of the overall benefits that this herbal remedy has to offer. While kava has been upheld by various cultures throughout the centuries, the FDA has cautioned individuals from using it. It has been known to cause severe liver damage, and many countries have banned its use. 

Kava Vs Kratom: Similarities

Both herbs have gained a lot of popularity and can be found in various stores, as well as through online vendors. Their names are similar and so are their origins. Both are from Southeast Asia and have been used for centuries in Thailand’s society, religious, and celebration ceremonies. Let’s look at more of the similarities that these two herbs share. 


The leaves of the kratom tree can be dried and crushed into a powder. The powder can then be mixed with water or juice to help mask its bitter taste. It can also be made into a kratom tea. Kava can also be consumed through a drink mixture of the ground roots and water. It will need to be steeped and strained to create a kava tea. 


Kratom and kava can both be purchased in the form of pills. Pills tend to be one of the most popular and convenient ways for consumers to get a dose of these herbs. 

Appearance and Preparation

Kava and kratom are similar in appearance, which can lead to confusion for some consumers. They are also prepared similarly. It is important to make a distinction between the herbs so that you know which one you are taking. Be sure you always read the packaging and understand the dose that each calls for. You do not want to mix the two up. 

Please note that kratom is not used to treat, cure, or mitigate any disease, illness, ailment, and/or condition. Please see FDA import alert 54-15. We make no representations as to intended use or suitability for use.

Kava Bars

Kava bars are one of the newest sensations. To add to the confusion, if you attend one of these bars you will more than likely find kava and kratom nestled right next to each other. 

Kava Vs Kratom: Differences

If you are considering taking one or both of these herbs, it is so important that you take the time to educate yourself on the similarities and differences. While the herbs look similar, they do not act the same. They offer different wellness values. 


Kratom contains a complex make up of alkaloids, which stimulate the opioid receptors within the brain. While kratom is not classified as an opiate, lobbyists often compare it to one. This is because both kratom and opiates similarly stimulate brain receptors. Currently, there is not a lot of scientific evidence on kratom. However, the main alkaloids include mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine. Unlike kava, kratom is classified by the vein colors and there are various strains available. 


Kava should not be compared to kratom because it does not produce the same type of stimulation. This herb will interact with the limbic system. There is a lack of scientific research on the chemistry of kava. However, the main ingredients include kavalactones. It is important to know that the active ingredients will vary according to the variety of kava plants. Kavalactones massively differ from the alkaloids found in kratom leaves. 

Kava Vs Kratom: Legal Differences 

Both herbs have had their fair share of legal battles. Some parts of the world have banned the use of both of these herbs. 


Kratom continues to gain limelight when it comes to legal issues. Many people are pushing to get the use of kratom ban from the United States. The use of kratom originated from Thailand, as it grows in abundance there. However, it has been banned from Thailand since 1943. 

The actual ban of kratom in Thailand came about because the government saw it as a threat to generating tax revenue from opiates. Those who support the use of kratom have continuously fought to decriminalize and have it removed from the ban list. However, there has not been any change in the status of kratom in Thailand.  

Kratom has also been banned in Malaysia, and the penalty there is imprisonment. This herb continues to face legal issues throughout the United States. Some states allow its use, while others have classified it as a schedule 1 drug. Before placing an order for kratom you must know whether or not kratom is legal in your state. 


Kava, on the other hand, has been more widely accepted as an herbal remedy. The use of kava has been banned in Germany and Switzerland for many years. This came about after some research suggested that kava could lead to liver issues. 

The ban was lifted in 2015 after research proved that the liver issues were caused by other contributing factors. Kava has been readily available for the past 20 years in the United States. 

Hawaii has used kava for many years within their culture. One of the newest attractions is kava bars. Some individuals have traded in alcohol and now enjoy sipping on kava drinks as an alternative. 


With the push to lead healthier lifestyles, herbal remedies such as kava and kratom have become increasingly popular. While kava vs kratom both have some similarities, both herbs are very different. If you are ready to give kratom a try, we offer a wide range of powders and capsules. Let us know if you have any questions.

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Written by Organic Kratom USA

Updated on May 20th, 2021

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