What are the similarities and differences kava vs kratom

Most people cannot identify the difference between kava vs kratom. Most of them think that these herbal products are just the same especially that they are being sold side by side in kava bars and stores. Although they are similar in some ways, they are still a lot different from each other.

Kava Vs Kratom

What are the similarities and differences kava vs kratom

Origin of the Plants

The kratom’s scientific name is Mitragyna speciosa. It is a part of the coffee family.

It is an evergreen tree that is a Southeast Asian native. You can find kratom in Borneo, Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia. (It is illegal in Malaysia and Thailand though).

The natives of these countries simply chew the leaf directly. This plant has always been a part of the natives’ tradition. They also use it to relieve pain, enhance mood, and fight fatigue because of kratom’s medicinal properties.

On the other hand, kava came from the pepper family. Its scientific name is Piper methysticum.

Kava came from Western Pacific which includes the places Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, and Hawaii.

The natives’ commonly prepare kava as a drink known as nakamals which is a social drink. People use it as a part of their religious ceremony. Also, they also use it to unwind and relax.

Part of the Plant Being Used

People use the kratom’s dried leaves to create the various kratom product varieties now available in the market. On the other hand, people use the kava root.


The kratom’s main components are its alkaloids called mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. These alkaloids work by interacting with the body’s opium receptors. These receptors play the role of modulating the person’s response with pain.

Its effects are similar to opium. For this reason, a lot of people fear that it may cause addiction. On the brighter side, previous heroin and opium addicts turn to this plant to divert their cravings from dangerous drugs.

Meanwhile, the kava has kalavactones and other six main components which are responsible for its effects. The plant’s active ingredients still depends on the kava variety.

The kalavactones works with the limbic system which is responsible for the body’s emotion, motivation, and behavior.


There are only few studies regarding the kratom’s effect in the human body. Most of its data and findings came from what has been found on its effect on the animals. For this reason, there is a wide dispute about the therapeutic benefits and dangers of kratom products.

Currently, kratom is banned in some countries and some states in the US.

However, the studies and scientific findings on kava are growing. Moreover, it is widely acceptable as a safe herbal product.

Kava was previously banned in Switzerland and Germany because of the previous research findings that it may cause serious liver problems. However, in 2015, the ban was lifted when the researchers have found out that there are other contributing factors that cause the liver problems.

Levels of Effects

You can experience the different effects of kratom based on its strain variety and dosage. Commonly, the red strain provides the sedative and analgesic effect, the green strain has both sedation and energy-boosting effect, and the white strain is for the energy-boosting effect.

In some strains, the desired effects can be acquired depending on the dosage. Typically, sedation is acquired at a high dose and energy-boost is acquired at a low dose.

Kava’s variety has three categories, the heady, heavy, and balanced. The heady is for calming and energy-boosting effect. The heavy is for sedation. The balanced has the effects of both the heady and the heavy varieties.

Kratom and Kava Similarities

Methods of Preparation

Although you cannot chew the kava directly as some kratomites do with their kratom, there are other methods of preparation where they are similar to each other. You can use them to make a tea or mix them with your favorite treat.

Both of them can also be available in capsules.


Although kratom and kava work in different ways, you can expect that you can get almost the same effects from them. Their common effects include:

  • Anxiolytic
  • Induces social interactions
  • Pain relief
  • Relaxation
  • Stress relief
  • Sedation

Now that you know the kava vs kratom differences, you may now choose which of these herbal products will work the best for you.

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