Kratom Strains: A Beginner's Guide To The Types of Kratom Strains

by Kat Austin October 12, 2023 8 min read

Kratom Strains: A Beginner's Guide To The Types of Kratom Strains - Vida Optima™

Kratom, native to the tropical climates of Southeast Asia, is a tree species renowned for its plentiful therapeutic benefits. According to many sources, kratom can help relieve pain, lessen anxiety, improve depression, and more.

Its leaves, once dried and finely ground, yield a powder that carries its potent therapeutic properties and allows it to be swallowed whole, encapsulated, or otherwise consumed.

While taking kratom is simple, choosing the best kratom strain can be a bit more tricky. But, it's an important step in the kratom dosing process–each unique strain carries its benefits, drawbacks, duration, and intensity.

Want to know where to start with kratom varieties? We'll highlight everything you need to know about kratom strains, plus give you some beginner's guidance.


Table of Contents
What is Kratom Powder?
Three Primary Kratom Strains
How to Choose the Best Kratom Strain
Popular Kratom Strains
Kratom Strains FAQ

Key Takeaways

  • There are three primary types of kratom–red, green, and white–names for the stage of development at which they are harvested. 
  • Different “strains” of kratom are usually named after the area they are cultivated, and they each have distinct differences. 
  • Some kratom strains will help more with pain while others are energizing and others are relaxing. Choosing the strain that meets your needs is key to a positive experience. 

What is a Kratom Strain? 

Over 50 different strains of kratom have emerged in today's market, and their unique therapeutic properties are based on growth conditions and leaf harvest times.

Each strain is typically named after its place of origin and color. Each Kratom strain color carries distinct physical and physiological effects.

A spoonful of dark red kratom powder on a white background

More specifically, the leaves of every Kratom strain have a unique chemical composition. This means they carry a different balance of active components, including mitragynine, paynanthine, speciociliatine, 7-hydroxymitragynine (7-HMG), and over a dozen other active alkaloids (more on these below). The unique combination of alkaloids affects how each strain feels.

Discovering the most suitable kratom strain entails understanding these distinctions. However, personal experimentation is the best way to determine the ideal strain for your individual needs, a key part of the kratom experience. 

Still, you need a basis to determine where to start. Here are the basics:

The Three Primary Kratom Strains

There are three key kratom strains primarily characterized by color: white, green, and red. While other named strains exist, they typically denote the source of the leaves rather than substantial differences in inherent properties and preparation methods.

The colors refer to the color of the veins in the Kratom leaf. Every variety of kratom goes through all three stages. An immature Kratom plant has white veins. As the plant matures, the veins appear more green. A fully mature plant has red veins.

Thus, the type of kratom product made depends on the point at which the Kratom leaves are harvested and dried. Because the Kratom plant is constantly growing and changing, so are its therapeutic compounds, which is why different Kratom stages possess different therapeutic benefits.

Simply put, the three color varieties have very distinct differences, and choosing between white, green, and red kratom is the most important distinction to make when choosing a kratom strain.

Let's discuss:

White Kratom vs Green Kratom vs Red Kratom

Let's provide a brief overview of each major kratom strain and their effects to aid in understanding the variances and assist in choosing the most appropriate strain:

White Kratom

  • Derived from young kratom trees, white kratom offers an invigorating experience. It might be intense for novices but is rewarding for those familiar with kratom. Noted for mild stimulation, increased energy, and heightened alertness due to its rich mitragynine content. The effects of white Kratom will last about 3-5 hours. 

Red Kratom

  • A highly sought-after strain, red kratom is prized for its perceived sedative effects. Harvested from mature kratom trees, it imparts a mellowing and calming effect, often believed to aid in pain relief. The effects of red kratom will last about 5 hours.

Green Kratom

  • Positioned between white and red strains, green kratom provides a subtle stimulant effect. Harvested during the mid-phase of the tree's life, it offers a mild energy boost and enhanced mental clarity. The effects of green Kratom can last up to 8 hours. 

How to Choose the Best Kratom Strain

Within these primary strain colors, there are variations such as Maeng Da kratom and Bentuangie kratom, each possessing unique characteristics and effects.

These variants are typically named after the area in which they are grown and are each cultivated for specific purposes. Each variant is usually available in white, green, and red, depicting the stage of growth at which it was harvested. Each variety has a unique chemical structure, and understanding the different active compounds can help you greatly in choosing a strain.

However, keep in mind that everyone’s body responds differently to kratom, and you may need to try a few strains to find the best kratom strain for you.

Before we cover the different strains, take a quick look at the different active compounds found in kratom and what they do:


  • Acts as an analgesic (pain reliever), a common effect of kratom.
  • Provides energizing effects at lower doses, a crucial aspect to understand for anyone looking to use kratom.
  • Can help manage opioid withdrawal symptoms.
  • May act as an antidiarrheal agent.


  • Assists in muscle relaxation.
  • Exhibits smooth muscle effects.
  • Potential vasodilation properties.


  • Can aid in muscle relaxation.
  • Believed to have limited opioid receptor affinity.
  • Potential antitussive (cough suppressant) effects.


7-Hydroxymitragynine (7-HMG):

  • Acts as a potent analgesic and pain reliever.
  • Exhibits antidiarrheal effects.
  • Can provide sedative and anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects.
  • May contribute to euphoric effects at higher doses.

    So, now that you understand a bit more about how kratom’s active compounds impact the therapeutic potential of every strain, you can take this one step forward and look for strains that feature the benefits you need most.

    Three spoonfuls of difference strains of kratom powder, each with a unique color and consistency.

    Popular Kratom Strains

    Thai Kratom

    This particular variant boasts a rich blend of diverse alkaloids, with mitragynine being a prominent constituent. The distinctive attribute of this strain lies in its capacity to sharpen focus on a specific task for extended periods without succumbing to fatigue. It's a potent energizer and a favored choice for tackling exhaustion, explaining its popularity among manual laborers in Thailand.

    Thai Kratom is highly regarded for its mood-enhancing and depression-alleviating properties. The white and green veins, in particular, exhibit formidable potency in this regard, while the red vein variety stands out as an effective pain alleviator.

    Maeng Da Kratom

    Undoubtedly one of the most potent Kratom strains available in today's market, Maeng Da Kratom is believed to have originated from the deliberate pollination of select Kratom plants. Farmers engaged in this selective pollination to develop a novel strain that surpassed existing ones in strength and effectiveness.

    Maeng Da Kratom finds favor, especially among individuals engaged in rigorous manual or mental tasks, as it significantly heightens mental focus and provides a substantial energy boost. It renders arduous tasks more manageable and leaves users in an improved mood. Moreover, this strain effectively relieves moderate chronic pain. However, a potential drawback is its propensity to lead to tolerance buildup with prolonged usage, necessitating higher doses over time for desired effects, which is not ideal for the body.

    Borneo Kratom

    Borneo Island stands as a major global Kratom exporter, and all strains hailing from this region bear the prefix "Borneo." Notably, Borneo strains possess a high concentration of 7-hydroxymitragynine, inducing sedative effects.

    Historically utilized for treating insomnia, stress, and anxiety, Borneo Kratom strains continue to serve this purpose today. Additionally, they aid in managing opiate cravings, act as stimulants, and possess anti-inflammatory properties.

    Bali Kratom

    Bali Kratom holds the distinction of being the most budget-friendly strain available in the market, easily accessible to consumers. Its benefits range from pain alleviation to stimulation, along with appetite reduction, making it a potential asset for weight loss goals. However, caution is advised to prevent adverse effects like wobbles, requiring strict adherence to recommended dosages.

    Indonesian Kratom (Indo)

    True to its name, this Kratom variant thrives in the Indonesian soil. It's sought after for combating opiate withdrawal, mood enhancement, relaxation, and even sedation. Furthermore, it exhibits pain-relieving properties, especially in its red vein strain. The three primary types of Indo Kratom strains encompass the red vein Indo, super Indo, and White vein Indo, each with its unique characteristics.

    Malay Kratom (Blue Magic)

    The Malaysian Kratom strains cater to diverse needs, stimulating users at lower doses and inducing sedation at higher quantities. They're also valued for enhancing cognitive functions and augmenting mental energy.

    Sumatra Kratom

    Originating from Sumatra, this kratom strain boasts a distinctive blend of alkaloids. Mitragynine, a significant constituent, contributes to its mood-enhancing and relaxation properties. This strain is ideal for promoting a sense of calm without sedation, making it a popular choice for those seeking relaxation without compromising focus or alertness.

    Sumatra Kratom is revered for its balanced effects, providing a soothing experience that can help alleviate stress and anxiety.


    Armed with this comprehensive knowledge, you can now venture into choosing the best kratom strain to meet your needs. Just like choosing the best cannabis strains, it really boils down understanding the active compounds in each unique kratom strain and how they affect the effects you will reap. 

    To sum it up:

    • Choose red kratom for sedative-like, relaxing effects and advanced pain relief. 
    • Choose white kratom for a stimulating brain and body boost. 
    • Choose green kratom  for a middle ground effect that falls in between the effects of red and green kratom. 

    Always prioritize acquiring high-quality Kratom, acknowledging that the efficacy of strains directly correlates with their quality. Also keep in mind that kratom affects everyone differently, and prolonged use may increase the chance of developing dependency. Talk to your doctor before incorporating kratom into your wellness regimen. 

    If you’ve decided on a strain, you may also want to learn more about different kratom dosing methods. Read “How to Take Kratom” to explore different dosing styles. 

    Kratom Strains FAQ:

    How Are Distinct Kratom Variants Acquired?

    When we mention different kratom strains, we're referring to the diverse varieties of kratom leaves harvested in various countries, regions, and climates. The leaves are harvested at various stages of maturity, presenting a reddish hue in their youth, transitioning to green as they mature, and adopting a brownish color when overripe. Each variety offers unique benefits, meaning that different varieties are more or less useful for every unique consumer’s needs. 

    Which Strain Should I Begin With?

    Though personal preferences vary, the mellow and calming Bali kratom is a staple in nearly every kratom enthusiast's collection. Selecting a specific kratom strain involves experimenting with a few different strains and experiencing each one. This approach not only assists in preventing acclimatization to a particular aroma but also helps you find the strain that resonates best with you.

    What's the Best Kratom Strain for Pain?

    The "Maeng Da" kratom strain is often considered the best for pain relief. Known for its potent analgesic properties and higher alkaloid content, Maeng Da provides effective pain management, making it a popular choice for those seeking relief from chronic pain and discomfort. However, individual response to kratom strains can vary, so it's advisable to experiment with different strains and consult a healthcare professional for personalized recommendations.

    What's the Strongest Kratom Strain?

    The strength of a kratom strain depends on various factors, including the specific alkaloid content and an individual's tolerance and body chemistry. Among popular strains, Maeng Da is often considered one of the strongest due to its high levels of mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. 

    However, perception of strength varies from person to person, and finding the most potent strain is a matter of personal experimentation and preference. It's crucial to start with a low dose and gradually increase, always being mindful of potential side effects and consulting with a healthcare professional.

    Which Kratom Strains Helps You Relax? 

    Kratom strains like Red Bali, Red Borneo, and Red Sumatra are known for their relaxing properties. These strains contain higher levels of sedating alkaloids, promoting a sense of calm and relaxation. 

    Additionally, some users find Green Malay and Yellow Indo strains to have a soothing effect, providing a balance between relaxation and mild stimulation. It's essential to understand that individual responses may vary, so finding the most relaxing kratom strain may require some experimentation based on personal preferences and needs. Always start with a low dose and gradually adjust to achieve the desired relaxing effects.

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