For the longest time, Kratom has been a breakthrough herbal remedy for consumers all over the world. However, since it has been subject to many controversies in recent years, consumers have started to search for an alternative herb in the form of Sakae Naa. But even with similar properties, the Sakae Naa is still a mystery for consumers owing to the lack of available research regarding its health benefits and concerns. So if you’re looking to find out more about the two psychoactive plants, be sure to keep reading.
Kratom, also known as Mitragyna Speciosa, originated in Southeast Asia from the coffee family. It is native to the countries of Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Indonesia. Still, it has now spread worldwide due to its use in traditional medicine and improvements in general health and mood.
Like Kratom, the Sakae Naa, or Combretum Quadrangulare, originated from Southeast Asia in Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Mainly used in places where Kratom has been banned for recreational use, Sakae Naa is gaining popularity for its similar yet vastly different effects on increasing motivation and energy in consumers. In addition, the herb has not been regulated and hence is readily available on most online forums.
This article will lay down the differences and similarities between the two herbal remedies’ health benefits and concerns to conclude the healthier option.
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How Are Sakae Naa And Kratom Similar To Each Other?
While both psychoactive plants have distinct properties; some traits are common to both. For example, both Sakae Naa and Kratom share similarities in taste, appearance, and aroma.
In ancient times, consumers would chew the leaves of both these plants during social gatherings and festivals.
Both the herbs make users more alert in their day-to-day lives. Their effects have been compared to a caffeine rush which is understandable considering Kratom’s origins from the coffee family. The herbs can also be used for improving mood swings and to increase motivation in consumers.
Kratom and Sakae Naa can both be sold in powder form. In addition, their powders are commonly ingested by washing them down with water. This way of ingestion is called the toss and wash method. However, this is where the similarities come to an end.
The Physical Differences of Kratom And Sakae Naa
Known as “ketum” and “biak biak” in Malaysia and “Kratom” in Thailand, the Mitragyna Speciosa is a large, evergreen tree with angulated twigs and a straight trunk. Standing at the height of 10-30 meters, Kratom is a part of the coffee or Rubiaceae family.
The herb is obtained from the leaves of the plant, which gives the plant its uniqueness. Embedded with different colored veins, the leaves are labeled as red, green, or white according to the color of the veins running through them. Therefore, the red-veined Kratom is the most potent, whereas the white-veined plant is the least potent, and the green-veined one has intermediate effects. These differences allow consumers to pick their choice of plant for their desired effects.
Kratom is available in many strains, which include Thai, Borneo, Maeng Da, and Elephant. It is prepared and sold commercially in tinctures, capsules, teas, extracts, shots, and gum. However, most commonly, the leaves are crushed and consumed in powder form.
Sakae Naa, on the other hand, is derived from the Combretum Quadrangulare tree leaves. Part of the Combretaceae family, which has around 300 members, the tree attains a height of around 10 meters. It grows along the river banks in the wilderness. It has simple leaves and small yellowish-white flowers, along with dry fruits.
To make use of its effects, the natives smoked or chewed the leaves of Combretum Quadrangulare. However, nowadays, other plant parts, like the roots, wood, and seeds, are also used to obtain the herb. Moreover, due to a current lack of different strains and varieties, Sakae Naa is only available commercially in powder form. Hopefully, these detailed physical characteristics will help you better differentiate between the two psychoactive plants.
The Chemistry of Kratom and Sakae Naa. How Is It Different?
The chemistry of both these plants is entirely different. Kratom owes its main properties to the two alkaloids found in the leaves of the plant, Mitragynine, and 7-Hydroxymitragynine. These two chemical agents act on specific substance receptors in the brain leading to the desired stimulatory effects. In addition, Speciogynine, Mitraciliatine, Paynantheine, Isorotundifoleine, Isospeciofoleine, IsoPaynantheine, Corynoxine A, Corynoxine B, the N Mitraciliatine-oxides, and Mitragynine-Nmitraciliatine-oxide are some other components also present in the plant.
The main constituents of Sakae Naa are flavonoids, mainly Combretol, along with some triterpenoids. According to a study conducted in the National Library of Medicine, these constituents present in the leaves of Combretum Quadrangulare showed protective effects on liver cells in mice during experimentation.
The Effects of Kratom and Sakae Naa On The Body And Mind
The two dominant alkaloids in Kratom, Mitragynine, and 7-Hydroxymitragynine, have a high affinity for the human mu-, kappa-, and delta-substance receptors. According to a study carried out in the American Chemical Society Publications, the mu receptors are stimulated, and these alkaloids block the kappa and delta receptors. The human mu receptors target relief throughout the body and are found along the digestive tract, spinal cord, and brain.
Kratom has dual properties as a relaxant as well as a stimulant. However, according to a study published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, the stimulant actions take precedence leading to Kratom’s use in increasing working capacity and output and allowing much better tolerance towards heat and intense sunlight.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, Kratom’s stimulant effects are elicited at lower doses and include alertness, higher energy levels, and focus in daily tasks. In contrast, higher doses can lead to a relaxed mental state, feelings of euphoria, and relief from different ailments. Lastly, extremely high doses can be detrimental to the body and mind, inducing severe side effects.
On the other hand, the main constituents isolated from Sakae Naa are part of the triterpenoid and flavonoid families. These chemical agents are involved in multiple biological activities. For example, according to a research paper published in the Indo American Journal of Pharmaceutical Research in 2014, it was concluded that these components have activities against both viruses and bacteria. Thus, the discovery may lead to their use in managing HIV and other bacterial infections.
In contrast to Kratom, the liver-protective effects of Sakae Naa have already been discussed in this article. In addition, according to another study conducted by the UED Journal of Social Sciences, Humanities and Education, the chemical components of Sakae Naa have variable anticancer properties.
The herb mimics Kratom’s relieving and relaxing effects but in a much milder way. So if you’re looking for more substantial effects, you might have to search elsewhere.
Sakae Naa increases the vigor to work along with concentration span and wakefulness and hence can be used to tackle complex, time-consuming tasks simply and quickly. In addition, this herb can provide the much-needed kick for people looking for an extra spark in their exercise routines.
With its mood-enhancing effects, Sakae Naa can help to stabilize consumers suffering from Kratom withdrawal by creating feelings of joy and content within them. However, the effects of both these plants can differ slightly depending upon the general health conditions of the consumer along with their age, weight, and height.
Which One Is More Toxic Than The Other One?
Apart from their multiple uses, these plants also have quite a few adverse effects. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, Kratom may induce irritability, aggression, and itching. Chronic consumers may also experience a decrease in appetite along with a reduction in their weight. In addition, severe adverse effects like fits have also been reported with the abuse of extreme doses of Kratom.
Very little is known regarding the toxic effects of Sakae Naa. However, through some personal accounts of consumers, it has been discovered that at high doses, the plant may lead to an altered mental state and disturbances in sleep along with a decrease in hunger. More research is needed regarding its toxicities.
Is Sakae Naa As Popular As Kratom?
The Sakae Naa gained its popularity from the controversies surrounding Kratom as consumers desperately searched for newer alternatives. Since the plant is quite close to Kratom in its appearances and stimulatory properties, more and more users drifted towards it in the hope of getting their hands on a less demonized herb.
For people searching for a conventionally legal drug with less potent effects, Sakae Naa has become the go-to herb. However, it is still unknown to many because of the lack of research surrounding it. If put to the test against Kratom, Sakae Naa will probably not win the popularity contest.
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Can Sakae Naa Be Used As An Alternative To Kratom?
As mentioned above, Sakae Naa can serve as a less potent alternative to Kratom because of its milder effects. In addition, Sakae Naa has fewer side effects and does not lead to a dependency state like Kratom.
In regular consumers of large doses of Kratom, the brain’s chemistry changes, and it becomes used to the herb’s interference, leading to a dependency state. The Drug and Alcohol Dependence Journal published a study regarding withdrawal symptoms like muscular pain, alterations in mood, watery eyes, and nose, difficulties in sleeping, and bone pain which were noticed when the herb was discontinued or its effects wore off.
For people searching for a legal alternative to Kratom to help them counter the withdrawal symptoms, Sakae Naa can be a good replacement herb.
Legalities of Kratom and Sakae Naa
In 1943, the government of Thailand banned Kratom, and people assumed it was because of Kratom’s mounting popularity, interfering with the trading of other chemical substances. However, there has been some speculation regarding the Thai Parliament’s revisiting of the Kratom ban.
Kratom can only be used for research purposes in Australia as Mitragynine was placed in schedule 9, where it was joined by the Kratom plant in 2004. Other countries like New Zealand, Malaysia, Denmark, Ireland, and Europe have placed different sanctions on the herb.
Even though the plant is widely available in the USA, some states like Alabama, Indiana, Vermont, and Rhode Island have banned it from being used. Additionally, The FDA considers it a potentially dangerous chemical agent.
It is legal to grow, buy, and sell Kratom in most places without any prescription or license in the US. However, ingestion of the plant, even as a supplement, must be counter-checked with the supplement laws.
On the other hand, Sakae Naa is legal globally even though it isn’t FDA approved either. It is an uncontrolled and non-regulated substance that makes it easier to sell it online. The plant is widely used as an authentic substitute for Kratom in areas where Kratom is unavailable. However, sufficient information is not available about it, and laws regarding it may change in the future.
Both Sakae Naa and Kratom are two different psychoactive plants having exact origins. However, the differences in their chemical makeup and stimulant effects have allowed Kratom to become the leading herb in the market. But as controversies surround it worldwide, people are turning towards Sakae Naa as a safer alternative.
Research regarding both these plants is still ongoing. Hence, concluding one is healthier than the other is still tricky and would require more comprehensive studies.
William Clark is a freelance writer for the health and wellness industry, specialising in mental health and alternative health. He is also an avid proponent of Kratom and its benefits. His wild adventures in the quest for knowledge took him to the farthest corners of Southeast Asia, home to many kratom plantations. Here, he got to witness the age-old practices of kratom use. He uncovered exciting stories about kratom use and loved sharing his knowledge with site readers.
Content Reviewed By Charles White
Charles White is a kratom enthusiast with over 12 years of experience in the Kratom industry. All blogs published on the Supernatural Botanicals website are reviewed by Charles White, who runs them through industry experts, including editorial team. Only then are these blogs given a green light. Learn more about our editorial process over here.