Kratom vendors use terminology to describe their products that often confuses both new and experienced users alike. For instance, designations for the various formulations of kratom leave many users bewildered. Two common forms are kratom liquid extract and kratom powder. These forms of kratom differ in several ways. In order to better understand these differences, it’s helpful to break down the distinguishing characteristics of each.
We’ll start with the term “extract”. In general, herbal extracts are more potent and concentrated than their whole herb counterparts.
What Is a Kratom Extract?
Kratom herb extracts begin as kratom powder, crushed leaf kratom or whole kratom leaves. During the extraction process, the primary goal is to pull out, or extract, certain active plant alkaloids. Boiling kratom leaves or powder in water is one method of extraction. This produces a tea-like solution that is then strained to remove inert structural plant material.
The next step is to cook down the solution to evaporate the water. This progressively concentrates the desired alkaloids in less and less water to produce a dark paste. Then the paste is dried into hard and brittle sheets or clumps and ground into a fine extract powder. However, another extraction method produces liquid kratom extracts.
What Is Kratom Liquid Extract?
Liquid kratom extract is available in various forms, including kratom tincture and kratom liquid alkaloid suspension. Sometimes, kratom vendors or their suppliers have their own exclusive extraction methods. However, they most often make liquid kratom extract by soaking kratom leaves in alcohol or vinegar to create either a tincture or liquid suspension. Both of these forms are highly concentrated and potent.
These solutions are also fast-acting, easily portable and have a longer shelf life than crushed leaf or powdered kratom. However, liquid kratom extracts are not ideal for kratom beginners. Their high concentration is typically too much for new users who need to start at lower doses to test their sensitivity and tolerance.
Benefits of Liquid Kratom
The benefits of taking kratom in liquid form over using kratom powder include:
- No need for mixing into food or brewing into a tea
- No scale required for dosage
- Higher concentration equals smaller doses with stronger effects
- Quicker absorption
- Longer shelf life
- More cost-effective in the long run (especially if you need higher doses for symptom resolution)
What Is Kratom Powder?
Because many people assume that all kratom powder is concentrated, they easily get it confused with powdered extract. Instead, kratom powder is the result of a physical change from whole leaf to powder. Meaning, there is no chemical change in alkaloid proportion, making it a whole herb form ready to put into capsules or otherwise consumed.
Many users prefer kratom in powdered form, often due to its relatively low cost compared to other forms. For these users, cost-effectiveness cancels out kratom’s bitter taste and strong odor.
Furthermore, these same users may actually like the taste and smell of kratom that comes with drinking kratom tea made from crushed leaf or powdered kratom. However, other kratom users simply cannot tolerate these qualities and prefer kratom capsules, tablets or liquid kratom instead.
Identification of Kratom Extract Powder vs Raw Kratom Powder
Visually differentiating between kratom extract powder and whole herb powder can be difficult for the inexperienced user. This is the case because they each appear as an ultra-fine powder. However, extract powder is darker in color. Additionally, extract powder typically has a stronger odor than the raw powder because of the concentration of alkaloids. If you’re new to kratom and want to try it in a powdered form, ensure that you choose a reliable vendor who provides clear labeling.
Ratio Is Key
When you see a ratio designation on a kratom product, you can be sure that it is an extract. For instance, a ratio distinction could look like 2:1 or 2X. This means that the rendered extract product is twice the strength of the same amount of whole herb powder. In other words, you will get the same results from half the amount of extract as with raw powder.
The same goes for liquid extracts. Their labels also include ratio distinctions, and you can use less to get the same results. However, users who want to buy a kratom extract product often find that liquid kratom extract or capsules of powdered extract are easier to swallow than a spoonful of raw powder or kratom tea.
More Important Kratom Herb Terminology
The following terms are important to know, in order to know what type of kratom you are getting.
This term refers to the color of the veins in the kratom leaf. Some veins are more sedating, while others are more stimulating. For instance, red vein kratoms are some of the best mood enhancement supplements and are good if you want to know how to battle anxiety. Veins include red, white, green and yellow, with yellow vein kratom being a white vein that is discolored due to a different drying process.
Dosage also plays a role in the effects of each vein. As with kratom in general, lower doses offer stimulating effects and higher doses provide sedating effects.
Kratom strains most often refer to the geographic origin of the kratom. They also produce varying effects. If you’re wondering how to increase focus, for example, Maeng Da kratom is an excellent choice. Again, however, the dosage will alter these effects similarly to how it affects different veins. Common strains include Indonesian (Indo), Malaysian (Malay), Borneo, Thai and Bali.
Finding Premium Kratom Products
Regardless of your personal preferences for different forms and types of kratom, it is always of the utmost importance to do research and find a trustworthy vendor. As with any substance that alters your brain and body chemistry, there is the potential for adverse reactions with a poor quality kratom product.
Your best bet is to avoid head shops and instead buy online from kratom experts. Head shop owners don’t specialize in kratom and typically aren’t able to tell a high-quality product from a poor one. In addition, there is a higher potential for overstocked products in head shops. This can result in attractive, but dubious, markdowns on kratom products.