Exploring Alternative Medicine: I Tried Kratom

Exploring Alternative Medicine: I Tried Kratom

For those of you living with any kind of chronic pain condition, you know that finding ways to manage your pain can be a daily battle. For me every day is different. You know when you go to the doctor sometimes you are asked what your pain level is at that day? Well, for me that can range from a three to a nine on most days (on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the worst).

When I wake up I tend to be in the most pain, and it usually eases up throughout the day. Then toward the end of the day I start having more pain. It becomes a challenge to get comfortable, and sometimes even a challenge to fall asleep or stay asleep a lot of nights. Needless to say, I’m always looking into ways to manage my pain.

As I was doing some research one day I came across an article about kratom. I had no idea what kratom was, but the article said it’s an herb that can manage pain, so I had to investigate. What I found was that some fibromyalgia patients are using this herb with great success to manage pain. The herb is grown in tropical climates, primarily in Southeast Asia and Indonesia. Kratom is part of the coffee bean family and a lot of middle easterners use it as a stimulant of sorts, much as we Americans consume coffee. (And you know how much we enjoy coffee!)

I’m a pretty skeptical person, just reading one article about a product is not good enough for me to make an informed decision, so, after much research, reading stories about chronic pain sufferers finding relief, and more about the origins of this herb, I decided to try it. Well, as easy as that sounds, you normally can buy herbs at any health food store, drug store, or even Walmart, right? With this herb it wasn’t quite that easy.

I had two obstacles to overcome before I could try it. The first being, where to purchase it. The second was that by the time I decided to try it there was a ban on buying it set by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Wait! What? Yes, so apparently this herb could not be purchased in my state, California, at the time. I had to wait about a month and then the ban was lifted. If you would like to learn more about that prohibition, check out this video https://youtube/OrbENWV9ngo

If you Google “kratom” you are bombarded with websites where you can purchase the popular herb. I found one that seemed pretty reputable, as it was Paypal-verified, so I decided to make the purchase. The price of this herb depends on several factors, the first being the strain. There are several strains of kratom, and they are all for different conditions and ailments. The one that I chose to go with was the Red Vein Thai. The website I used said it was good for pain relief. The white vein of kratom is good for use as a mild stimulant, much like coffee, to give you energy. The maeng da variety is more for very serious pain, but should be used more at night because it can make you tired.

I have found that kratom is fairly affordable and comes in convenient capsules, which are a little more pricy at around $30-$40 for a bottle of 30, or the powder form, which tastes horrible, but still works just as well. It can be mixed in  coffee, puddings or yogurt. I have had very good results with the caspsules.

If you’d like to try kratom or any other medicine or herb, the only advice I can give you is to consult your doctor before introducing it to your daily regimen. Do make sure it will be safe for you to try.

I will be writing more articles on alternative medicine, as well as chronic pain and ways of coping. If you enjoy these types of articles please let me know. I really enjoy helping others through my own experiences of living with fibromyalgia for more than 10 years.

Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to fibromyalgia.


  1. Sue says:

    I live in NJ. No doctor is willing to help with the pain I live in on a daily basis. I take dilauded which dosent really make the pain go away. I am all for the patches and other alternatives, but they are not legal here. I am thinking of takind a trip to CA, seeing a dr and having it sent to me. I am desperate. Any advise??

    • Sandra Wallace says:

      Hi Sue, I’m sorry to hear how much pain you’re in. I wouldn’t think you would need to take a trip from New York to CA. Maybe you can look in your local phone book and look for a naturopath in your area. Or even just going into your local health food or vitamin shop they can offer a wealth of info and advice. As far as patches go are you referring to cannabis patches? I have never been an advocate of legalizing medical cannabis admittedly, that is until I started living with chronic daily pain and then, let me tell you, my perception changed. I would like to try the patches too. Going to be exploring more alternative medicine for Fibro and I will be writing about my experiences.

      • Cindy Schlein says:

        Hi. I have had fibromyalgia 3 years & am unable to work because of my pain. I am interested in trying Cannabis patches too. I found a website, Mary’s Medicinals in Colorado that sells them (I don’t like the thought of being high so I’m going to try the ones that have no THC). They are $10 a patch & it says provide 12 hours of relief. You can cut them in half or into quarters as well to reduce the dosage. The website says the ones with just the oil & no THC are legal in all states. I hope you find relief either with his herb Jr the patches. God bless! 😊

        • Sandra Wallace says:

          My thoughts exactly. I would like to try ones with no THC after doing much research on the subject. I will be sure to check out this website. Let me know if you try them and find some relief. I would love to interview you for an article.

        • Sandra Wallace says:

          Thank you for this info. I will look into this for sure. This could be the answer some of us need. I don’t want to feel “high” or out of it, only looking for pain relief. In the research I’ve done I also want something without the THC, it seems to be the best way to go for treating Fibro pain. If it works could you message me @ 530shasta@gmail.com. I would love to interview you for an article.

    • Sandra Wallace says:

      Hi Sue. Sorry to hear you are having so much pain. Are you referring to the medical cannabis patches? I wouldn’t think you would have to make a trip from NY or CA. You might want to call around. Look in your local phone book and call herb and vitamin shops and ask a lot of questions. You might be able to discover something else that works like CBD oil or hemp oil capsules. I bought some on Amazon and I feel like they work pretty well for only $9.00 a bottle. I haven’t used then long enough to write a review or article about it though.

    • Carolyn Jean Spillman says:

      Hi Sue:-) I know exactly what you mean, I too have fibromyalgia, spinal stenosis, osteoporosis, and the list seems to be endless. My doctor has had me on a regime of percocet, flexeril, gabapentin, and ambien for about 10 years now. A couple of months ago he let me know that he plans to retire in a few months and he was concerned that finding another doctor who would be willing to continue my scripts, especially the percocet, flexeril and ambien. So we are currently trying to cut me down to half on the percocet, then a fourth, then hopefully back down to as needed. My pain daily, now that I cut it down to 4 tabs a day, is right back up to levels of 5-7, sometimes 8 almost daily due to having to do my shopping, you know, stuff that we must do in order to not live in squalor and starve to death. I started using kratom about 1 month ago and I am having pretty good results. I am in a facebook group called Kratom (new and current users). There are over 22,000 members now and they have all kinds of great information in their files system that can tell you anything you have questions about and they also have a list of vetted vendors which is a godsend since like anything else, there are people that would cheat us in a heartbeat. Kratom is one of those kinds of products that it works differently for each person, the veins and the strains, the combinations of different ones to get the optimal effect, it’s a trial and error but with so much wonderful help and information in this group? I recommend them highly:-)

      • Kelly says:

        Thanks for letting us know how it worked for you!! I thought the article above was not very helpful as far as the results go. There was info about buying and bans, but nothing about the results. So thank you for sharing your experience!! Hope it’s working still and you’re finding relief from fibro pain! My thing is the stiff neck! I get horrible stiffness in my neck that won’t let up and I also get very overheated. I try as hard as I can to relax, but I honestly am starting to believe the stiffness didn’t have anything to do with stress or tension, but something else altogether. Do you know? Anyway, thanks again! God bless you!!!

        • Sandra Wallace says:

          Kelly. I totally understand your concern. As the writer of this article I agree. We have only a certain amount of characters to use for an article so I could only focus on certain points this time. I would love to write a follow up article on this same subject because I would love to tell you more about my experience and results. Let me know if you would be interested in seeing that as well as what specific concerns or questions you had that I didn’t address in this article. Thank you for reading.

  2. Denise Bault says:

    I’d seen several articles about kratom and did some online research. It was one of the few things I had not tried. I always discuss new supplements/meds with my doctors and pharmacist before trying them. My pain management doctor said, “Absolutely NOT!” He then cited several horror stories…so I haven’t tried it. I’m so glad it is working for you!

    • Sandra Wallace says:

      I would have to agree with your dr. If you are a pain management patient I would higgly encourage you to not try Kratom. Because Kratom, like all other herbs or medications, could have cause an adverse reaction. For a lot of Fibromyalgia patients, we have chemical sensitivities which could even make the effects of any medication more pronounced. I am not a pain management patient, but I know a lot of Fibro patients are bevsuse it is a very painful condition. For me personally I have some medical knowledge having went through medical assisting training, and I worked at a herb and vitamin store years ago. I felt that I had enough knowledge and did enough research to make an informed decision.

        • Sandra Wallace says:

          Hi Mary I can only tell you about my personal experience with this herb. For me I found that it did work. There are so down sides though and I will be covering the pros and cons and my experience with it in another article. I couldn’t address every thing in this article due to word count I had to stay within limits.

      • Kelly says:

        Sandra, we have “chemical sensitivities” but Kratom is not a chemical. I have sensitivities to chemicals also, but have never had a chemical sensitivity to herbal supplements, because they are not chemicals. Of course you want to watch out for drug interactions, but herbs don’t normally have reactions with drugs. Although they can, I guess, but not from my experience of being in several of both. The best thing to do is talk to a naturopath NOT a Dr!!!! Doctors know about medicine…chemicals, which normally don’t do anyone any good! But a naturopath is going to KNOW all about both medications AND herbal supplements. I wouldn’t trust a doctor add far as I could throw one, not to mention they know NOTHING about alternative, natural medicines. I have severe pain of all kinds, but I find that moving is the best medicine! Sitting or lying around only makes the pain and stiffness horribly worse! Being active is so important for people with fibromyalgia. Eventually chemical meds are going to have more side effects and problems than they are worth. Our bodies get used to them and depend on them, and then we are worse without them. Natural supplements work WITH our bodies and support them. I’m sure there are herbs out there that are not good to take, but I’m talking about things a naturopath will give you. I fully recommend being active, going natural, and eating right. So much of what we eat can have awful effects on our pain and emotions and other bodily sensitivities! I hope this helps you guys!!

    • Kelly says:

      Dr’s are always going to steer you away from alternative medicine. Do you know why? Because it takes their money and power away and gives it back to us! Doctors these days act like they are gods. I don’t think they realize THEY work for US! They no longer have our best interest at heart, but their own. Of course this is not always the car! There are many exceptions to this rule, but I think overall, it’s true. I wouldn’t trust a doctor to give me pee facts about alternative medicine, or to even KNOW the truth about them. I go to a naturopath. He is amazing and very honest and very knowledgeable. I always know he has my best interest at heart. If you can’t find a naturopath, I’d do my own research.

  3. Grace from Australia says:

    Thank you so much for that detailed info. I will try to find out what the situation is for Australia. I wanted to try Malic Acid as well but cannot get it here and to import it from the USA is too expensive (the postage is more than the product).

    • Sandra Wallace says:

      I have never heard of this. Thank you for sharing. I Will look into that and maybe compile a list of herbs that help Fibromyalgia.

    • Kathy says:

      Hi Grace,
      I also live in Australia and have fibro. You can purchase malic acid from Iherb. The one I have used is Source Naturals Magnesium Malate 625mg 200 capsules. I am about to try the new drug Joncia especially for fibro. It only became available here last year.

      • Grace from Australia says:

        Thanks for that Kathy. I would also be very interested how Jonica works for you. Did Malic Acid work for you? My muscles are getting tighter and tighter and feel they can snap (even though I do stretches and get massage etc.)

    • Cindy Schlein says:

      I am taking Source Natural Magnesium Malate (Malate is Malice Acid) 1,250 mg 3 times daily (as recommended by my Neurologist). I order it from Puritans Pride website. Have been taking it about 6 months or so with no problems. You may want to start with taking it just twice a day at first & build up to 3 a day because too much Magnesium can cause diarrhea.

  4. Christopher Gordon says:

    I have tried almost everything for my fibromyalgia pain with limited success. Opioids do work but at high doses only and have severe side effects. I have used many anti-depressants, all sorts of physical therapies, spinal stimulator, etc. but to no avail. I suffer constantly. I tried Ktatom and it did nothing. I read a book on prolotherapy and that seems promising but no one offers it near me and it is expensive. I am medically retired and use Medicare only, so I’m not in a position to try expensive treatments. I read everything I can, so much seems like Placebo which apparently helps some people, but that there seems little hope for me as I age I become weaker. The pain clinic I go to has no ideas.

    • Sarah Whalen says:

      Hi Christopher. I also am in a lot of pain. I did get a quell unit and it helps a lot. It is something you may wish to consider. I now know that I have had fm for quite some time. It has progressively gotten worse for me. Some days are still bad but the quell helps me be more active without having as much pain.

      • Christopher Gordon says:

        Thanks, I am not familiar with the quell product but it appears to be similar to a TENS unit which I have tried, also in that same mode I tried a spinal stimulator. All I feel is a vibration with both but not pain relief. Also to consider is the expense, I live on limited Medicare checks. I keep my eyes open for something new. Best of luck to all of you who write in here in pain, my life is a shambles, due to having to retire early due to pain and fatigue. I am clinically depressed but have not found anti-depressant medicines to be other than horrible. I also have sleep apnea, various allergies, and Migraines, the last mostly due to medicines. iLife in Southern California where recreational marijuana will be legal in 2018 but I don’t want to get high and don’t want to smoke, but I hear pain patches may be an option.

  5. Robyn says:

    Hello, May I suggest that anyone interested in trying Kratom visit the “American Kratom Association” (www.americankratom.org) website. There, you will find all the information you need. They have file listings of reputable, vetted vendors and information on the strain types and their effects. It is a must see website for any type of information you require. They are on Facebook as well. Facebook also has a very reputable site titled “Kratom New and Current Users” where you can find more “user-type” information as well. The AKA is the site to visit for the latest information on Kratom, legal and otherwise. Please visit the site! As for me, Kratom has changed my life for the better and I’m sure it will change yours too! 🙂 Best to you… Gentle hugs, Robyn

  6. Krat needs lots of personal investigation to enable a user to make an informed choice. I personally would not touch this substance myself as having Fibromyalgia I am exteenrniy sensitive to anything I put on my body and the side effects from this drug can be extreme and sometimes frightening. This is often used in legal highs.

    • Tim Bossie says:

      Absolutely agree Marianne. I can’t put anything on my body either as I am overly sensitive to many different things that seem to help others. Quite frustrating really. People should always research and investigate before settling on any type of treatment or medication.

    • Robyn says:

      Kratom is not a drug. It is a botanical, otherwise known as a plant. There is no “high” obtained from Kratom.
      You stated you would never touch it but yet state the side effects can be extreme and sometimes frightening. How is it possible to assess side effects when you have never used it?
      Just curious…
      Please inform yourself before making such false statements. You can find out the truth about Kratom at the American Kratom Association website.
      Best Wishes,

      • Sandra Wallace says:

        Kratom might not be for everyone. Just like any other kind of herb, or medication for any type of condition. For Fibromyalgia like many other pain conditions it can be all about trial and error to find he right way to manage your condition. Everyone is different. I wrote his article (more like this to come) to open options and possibilities that many Fibro patients might not have considered. Many chronic pain patients rely on heavy meds and narcotics to find relief, which over time can cause more problems than benefits. Any medication or herb has the potential to harm you if you take it wrong, or if it is mixed with other medications, or even if you have another health problem. Kratom can have side effects just like anything else. The one I did notice after taking for a few days was a bit of dizziness. I do get migraines and I had just gotten over a three day one at that time as well so I’m not positive if it was related to taking the Kratom or effects of the migraine. Thank you for responding to this concern Robyn.

  7. Wendy says:

    I have been using Kratom for about a month now. The strain is called Emerald Red (Red Trifecta + Green). The local herbalist recommended this method: 3 grams of Kratom, add boiling water and real lemon juice (not lemon juice in the plastic lemon). Stir well and let it steep 20 minutes, then drink the tea, including the sediment. I don’t understand the science of it, but the lemon juice seems to make it more effective, especially if added with the boiling water vs. added later. The sediment breaks down pretty well and the taste isn’t altogether unpleasant. I drink it quickly. Best on an empty stomach, or two hours after eating. Within 20 minutes I start feeling pain relief. A dose seems to last me about 6 hours on a “normal” (non flare-up) day and I am able to function well enough to grocery shop or run minor errands. On a flare-up day I take 2 or 3 doses and/or supplement with Tylenol. For me, it is as effective as 50 mg. Tramadol. I am grateful for the pain relief. The interesting thing is that with the pain relief I am more aware of other symptoms, like imbalance and tinitus. Before Kratom I was so overwhelmed with pain I paid less attention to secondary symptoms. I recognize we all have different biochemistry and that fibro affects us all differently. So I agree that research and caution are imperative. Just wanted to share what is good news for me. I sincerely hope the DEA and other powers leave Kratom alone. Best wishes to everyone, I hope you all find what works for you personally… Until there is a cure.

  8. Sandi B. says:

    Sandra, I appreciate your articles as well as the comments from your readers. I see a pain specialist as well as you are supplements. If it works I keep using what I’ve tried, if not I stop. I had bacterial pneumonia 6 times in 3 years. As a result I developed costochrondritis. Pain meds does not help the chest pains. And it was strictly by accident that I found what did help. I was having a anxiety attack and the costochrondrtis was flaring up as well. When I took a xanax I noticed the chest pains went away! So now even if I’m not having a anxiety attack, if the costochrondritis flares up, I take a xanax and within 15 minutes the pain stops. Xanax also helps when my abdomen starts hurting when I’m having a Fibro flare up. My abdomen feels everything in it is being stretched like rubber bands. (The only way I can describe the feeling) I’m thinking because xanax is a tranquilizer and it helps the muscles in those areas relax. Why doctors think xanax only help anxiety is beyond me. I also get headaches daily. Some days worse than others. Someone told me that getting Botox shots in your head really does stop the headaches. I’m considering trying it. The sad thing is there are so many areas of your body that hurt because of Fibro and not only one medication or supplement helps.You will have to take several things to get as much relief as you can. I spoke to a nurse today that says she has Fibro and I was in disbelief! How does anyone with Fibro work? Since having Fibro arthritis has invaded my body. Osteo in my knees at 48 years old caused them to both be replaced. Two years ago when I was 58 I was told my left shoulder needs replacing. So far I’ve been dealing with the pain. I dread the surgery. It’s like arthritis is eating away at my joints. I’m wondering what else is Fibro going to do to my body? Where are the drugs to give us relief like they came up with for the other autoimmune diseases? 12 years I’ve been suffering and I wonder how many more years I will have to suffer? And how much worse will it get? Please keep writing Sandra, you are a huge help to us all that have Fibro! Thank You!

    • Sandra Wallace says:

      Hi Sandi, that was weird writing that because most people know me as Sandi as well. I only write as Sandra. Anyhow, I really appreciate that comment. That really meant so much to me. I write to help and if I only help one person with the info I share, then I feel like my life have some meaning left. I have seriously been through hell and back with this illness and the effects of it…so when the opportunity arose to write for this website, I wanted to help others who might be going through some of the same things I have. Or even who have just been diagnosed get some much needed info. I have tried Xanax years ago and I can’t say that it helps with Fibro as I didn’t have it that bad at the time, I was only taking it for panic attacks and anxiety. It’s funny you mentioned Pneumonia because I have found a lot of others with Fibro have also experienced Pneumonia or chronic bronchitis so I often wondered if there is some type of bacterial connection. I had pneumonia when I was in labor with my first son. I managed to deliver him naturally but had a very rough labor to say the least.

  9. Grace from Australia says:

    I am currently trying Norgesic (prescribed by my GP). I really helps for the stiffness of the muscles and pain but…I have side-effects like bloating, constipation, headaches, stomach pain etc. I am taking only 2 tablets a day when the doctor prescribed 3×2 a day! I am very careful with meds as I have had some bad experiences like with Tramal and Somac (for reflux). Does anyone have experience with Norgesic/Panadol? The citrate salt of orphenadrine is available as Norflex, Banflex, Flexon, and X-Otag, and the hydr0chloride salt is available as Dissipal and Mephenamin.

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