If there’s one thing we love at Kratora as much as kratom, it’s coffee! The preferred drink of industrialized nations around the world, the warm aroma of coffee wakes many of us up in the morning and helps to keep us going throughout the day.
People who have been following our blog for a while or who have read about the Mitragyna speciosa tree (kratom) will know that Mitragyna speciosa and Coffea Arabica (coffee) are actually members of the same family of plants—the botanical family known as Rubiaceae. Do other plants in the kratom/coffee family have similar effects? Let’s take a closer look at kratom and coffee to answer both of these questions—and more!
Kratom & The Coffee Family: What’s in a Name?
In botany, plants are grouped into genera, species, and sub-species according to features such as whether or not they produce flowers, seeds, or spores and the structure of the plant in general. They are then assigned to a plant family and given a botanical name in Latin with the first word indicating the genus and the second name indicating the species.
To illustrate these divisions, let’s consider three members of the Kratom and coffee family: Mitragyna speciosa, kratom, and coffee. In the plant name Mitragyna speciosa, “Mitragyna” is the genus and “speciosa” is the species. Mitragyna hirsuta shares the genus of Mitragyna speciosa but is a different species. While Coffea Arabica shares the same plant family (Rubiaceae) with these two Southeast-Asian plants, it belongs to a different genus-group and species and is native to Ethiopia.
Meet the Family
Members of the same human family share some of their genes and will often share characteristics as well. Perhaps you have your mother’s eyes or your father’s smile. You may even look somewhat similar to your cousins. So, what do kratom and coffee have in common as members of the Rubiaceae family?
To be identified as belonging to the Rubiaceae (or “madder”) family, a plant must be an angiosperm (flowering plant), have opposite leaves arranged in whorls or stipules, have leaves with unbroken margins, and produce fruits in the form of berries, capsules, drupes, or schizocarps. Most plants in this family—such as kratom and coffee—are evergreen and grow in tropical areas. The rest are deciduous and grow in temperate zones.
You Might Have Also Heard of…
Notable members of the Rubiaceae family include quinine from the bark of the Cinchona species (used as a remedy for malaria and in tonic water for your G&Ts), ipecac from Carapichea ipecacuanha roots (used in the past to induce vomiting and as a remedy for croup-related bronchitis), gambier from Uncaria gambir (used for tanning), and common madder from Rubia tinctorum (used to produce a natural red dye).
Same, Same, but Different
So, if they are part of the same plant family, do kratom and coffee have anything in common besides their leaf shape and the fact that they produce flowers? What kratom and coffee do have in common is that both have a stimulating effect on the body. Stimulating kratom’s aromas are most potent at low doses and relaxing/analgesic at high doses, high doses of coffee are more likely than high doses of kratom to keep you awake at night.
A Question of Alkaloids
To understand their different effects, it is helpful to take a look at the main alkaloids of the two plants. While they may share some physical characteristics, kratom and coffee family members such as kratom and coffee have completely different alkaloids that cause them to act on different receptors in the body.
The main alkaloid in coffee (you can probably guess)… is caffeine! Caffeine is a natural stimulant that can boost memory in the morning, speed up bowel motility, and has been associated with a lowered risk for several types of cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Kratom is believed to have over 40 alkaloids, of which the most abundant are mitragynine, speciogynine, and speciociliatine. 7-hydroxymitragynine comprises only 2% of the plant but appears to be the most influential in terms of the plant’s characteristics. While caffeine is present in many different plants, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine are only found in the Mitragyna speciosa plant.
What about Combretum Quadrangulare and Mitragyna Hirsuta?
Another difference between kratom and coffee? Coffee remains legal around the world whereas kratom has been restricted or banned in several countries. In places where kratom sales have been restricted or banned, kratom alternatives such as Combretum quadrangulare (sakae naa) and Mitragyna hirsuta (kra thum khok) have become popular choices.
As a member of the same plant family as kratom and coffee, Mitragyna hirsuta shares the mitraphylline alkaloid of kratom but needs to be experienced with larger amounts of plant matter to feel a similar effect. Combretum quadrangulare (sakae naa) belongs to the Combretaceae family but produces a stimulating aroma that is similar to kratom. So, as the kratom-coffee family shows, plants don’t necessarily have to be in the same family to have a similar effect!
The Bottom Line
While there are many differences between the two, the similarities and differences between kratom and coffee are abundant.
At Kratora, we are proud to stock the freshest organic, ethically-harvested kratom and kratom alternatives from around the world and ship them to your door in record time. Order today to receive same-day shipping on orders submitted before 3 PM EST Monday through Friday and 1 PM EST on Saturdays (excluding holidays).
Please note that our products are sold for external use only.
Please note that the US FDA has not approved kratom to be sold for human consumption, sold for external use only. None of the products sold on our website are intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or medical condition.