A debut guide touts the therapeutic benefits of a controversial, plant-based remedy.
Writer and social worker Knudsen’s manual promotes Kratom, a powder derived from a Southeast Asian tropical evergreen tree used in traditional medicine for centuries in the East to alleviate pain, inflammation, and cravings, among other ailments. Acknowledging that the supplement is surrounded by as much skepticism as proactive, supportive recommendations, Knudsen begins with an appropriate disclaimer, noting his role as an author and Kratom proponent; he is not a medical professional. He then cites the benefits of the herbal remedy, which is not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration. His book focuses on helping people wean themselves off of opioids, street drugs, and abused prescription medications through the mindful use of Kratom. The manual, written in easy-to-read, plainspoken prose, draws from the testimonial evidence of Kratom users (anonymously attributed with initials) whose experiences have positively impacted their reliance on addictive substances and their self-management of chronic pain and anxiety. The author attempts to be comprehensive in his assessment of Kratom leaf powder by describing what it is, its purported alkaloid-associated benefits, safety levels, how to take it, dosage indications, and its role in drug tapering and weaning. Though he champions the efficacy of Kratom, his guide also features practical advice, charts, and recipes for detoxification, the replenishment and rebalance of the body’s mineral levels through diet and vitamin maintenance, and natural remedies and strategies for coping with stress, anxiety attacks, and depression, which the author admits to battling personally. It’s a tall order, but to Knudsen, it’s a personal one. He admits to losing eight family members and friends to fatal drug and alcohol intoxication and abuse-related suicides. Appealing to general readers are informative, insightful chapters (devoid of Kratom information) on the stigma of drug abuse, the social stereotypes associated with it, the paradox of detoxification medication side effects, and the importance of remaining nonjudgmental when encountering addicts. The takeaway for skeptical readers: keep stress and anxiety in check through natural, drug-free panaceas and question Kratom’s plant-based intervention potential.
An inconclusive manual about a supplement’s benefits sure to spark health debates and conversations.