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Herbal supplement kratom linked to injuries, deaths, FDA warns

When you hear “herbal supplement”, you just assume it’s good for you. Not only good for you, but also safe. And that’s probably a safe assumption, most of the time. After all, these are supplements that are often taken to ensure you aren’t ingesting something that’s harmful to your body. Unfortunately, a very popular herbal supplement is not only unsafe, but actually quite dangerous. The Food and Drug Administration has linked injuries and deaths to the consumption of kratom, a supplement taken as an alternative to prescription drugs and painkillers.

Kratom, a supplement that’s “made from a plant native to Southeast Asia”, is typically sold as a powder or in capsule form. Since coming to the U.S., the supplement has been marketed as an effective alternative to treat pain, anxiety and drug dependence. The FDA however believes that it carries the very same risks as the pills it’s meant to replace. Aside from “hundreds of calls to poison control centers”, the FDA has directly linked kratom to 36 deaths. Furthermore, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. stated that "there is no reliable evidence to support the use of kratom as a treatment for opioid use disorder…"

The Drug Enforcement Agency had plans to ban kratom, but ultimately backtracked after “public opposition”. They’re now in a holding pattern waiting on the recommendation of the FDA. For their part, the FDA is open to the idea that kratom could be an alternative to opioids, but stresses the use of kratom “must be backed by sound science and weighed appropriately against the potential for abuse."

To learn more about the dangers of kratom, click here: