Kratom Strains 101: All the Types of Kratom & Their Effects

Kratom strain leaves and products

Kratom is a super handy supplement, famous for its wide range of *effects*, thanks to the unique *alkaloid profiles* found in each Kratom type.

Made from the Mitragyna Speciosa, a tropical evergreen native to Southeast Asia, Kratom is categorized into various strains or ‘veins’, each offering the consumer a unique experience.

With dozens of various strains to enjoy, many users have questions about how Kratom is categorized, what each vein is, and the effects they could expect from different strains.

In this comprehensive guide we break down all of Kratom’s major strains and veins, from the geographical regions they’re grown, to the color of the veins and the effects they produce.

By gaining a better understanding of each strain, you’ll be empowered with the right information to make better decisions about your health and goals.

How Kratom Strains are Categorized

Did you know that there are more than 50 unique strains of Kratom?

These strains are often named based on two distinct factors:

  • Where the Mitragyna Speciosa (Kratom tree) was grown; and
  • The ‘vein’ of the leaf that was harvested to make the Kratom

Although the vast majority of strains are named based on the vein (red, green, white, yellow) and the country it was cultivated in (Borneo, Bali, Thailand, etc.), a few strains buck this trend.

Some rare or exotic strains are named from the sub-region they come from, as is the case with Hulu, Kali, or Jong Kong Kratom, whereas others are named after their unique leaf shapes, such as with Horn and Elephant Kratom.

What is a Kratom Strain?

White vein Kratom leaf

Strains, veins, and types of Kratom ‘oh my!’

The popularity of Kratom has resulted in access to more strains than ever before. But all this diversity can lead to a bit of confusion among customers.

So what really makes a Kratom strain a ‘strain’ in the first place?

We talked briefly about how Kratom strains are named (usually by the ‘vein’ and region or area it was grown). But what is it about one strain that makes it different from another?

One word: ALKALOIDS.

Kratom is comprised of over 40 uniquely identified plant alkaloids.1

These alkaloids are bioactive when consumed, producing a wide range of physiological effects that we all know and love.

Kratom’s most prevalent alkaloids include mitragynine, 7-hydroxymitragynine, speciociliatine, paynanthine, and more.2

Together, these alkaloids work synergistically with each other to produce a truly unique effect from one strain to the next.3

Ok, But What is a Strain?

Strains are not to be confused with ‘species’. Whereas species is used to differentiate trees and plants with differing genetic makeups, strains are used to differentiate between Kratom products with differing chemical makeups (i.e. different alkaloid profiles).

In this way, a strain of Kratom is more so equivalent to a phenotype. Meaning that the Kratom comes from the same species of tree (Mitragyna Speciosa), but with differing observable characteristics (such as size and shape of the leaf, or alkaloid content).

As an illustrative example, there are hundreds of strains of cannabis, each with various cannabinoid profiles, but all are members of the cannabis species. Another familiar example might be apples. There are a multitude of different types, from the sour granny smith, to the delectable fuji. All are apples, but with various characteristics that make each incredibly unique.

The same can be said of Kratom strains. Each strain shares the same genetic makeup of the species, but with each gene expressed to a varying degree in order to produce a distinguishable alkaloid profile that varies from one strain to the next.

Kratom Strains and Vein Color – What’s the Deal?

Different Types of Kratom Strain Colors

The simplest and most common way to categorize Kratom strains is by the ‘vein’ they are from. But what does that even mean?

To better understand why Kratom is named after the ‘vein’ it is, we’ll need to take a step back and look at how Kratom is made.

Earlier we mentioned that Kratom comes from the leaves of the Mitragyna Speciosa tree. This tropical evergreen produces large leaves that are harvested at specific stages of the tree’s annual growth cycle.

At each stage of the growth cycle, the veins on the underside of the Mitragyna Speciosa tree’s leaves turn color, from bright/light green, to dark green, and then eventually a red color.4

These colors correspond to the type of Kratom (vein of Kratom) that those leaves will be used to make, the most popular of which include white, green, red, and yellow strains.

What makes this categorization so useful is that each ‘vein’ of Kratom, independent of strain, will produce a similar effect.

For example, a Red Borneo Kratom will have a similar effect to a Red Bali Kratom because both are ‘red’ veins.4

PRO TIP: Vein color does not translate to the color of Kratom powder you receive. Meaning your red Kratom won’t be red, nor your white vein Kratom white in color.

Red Vein Kratom Strains

Arguably one of if not THE most popular types of Kratom are red vein Kratom strains. Boasting a particularly high concentration of the alkaloid 7-hydroxymitragynine, red vein Kratom is most often used to achieve a euphoric, sedative, and deeply relaxed state of being, as well as for pain management.5

Grown throughout Southeast Asia, most Kratom types are available in ‘red vein’ varieties, making this strain readily available and generally quite affordable.

The leaves used to make red vein Kratom are harvested when the veins turn red, an indication that the alkaloid profile is ideal for red vein Kratom.

White Vein Kratom Strains

White vein Kratom is on the other end of the spectrum, resulting in a more stimulating and energizing effect that is in direct opposition to red Kratom. Users enjoy white vein Kratom for its energy, often replacing coffee and/or energy drinks with white Kratom. As an added benefit, this strain still offers mild analgesic effects and a clear-headed focus combined with a euphoric positivity for an uplifted mood.5

Green Vein Kratom Strains

Green Kratom strains are highly acclaimed for their well-balanced effects, embodying the best of both white and red Kratom strains without being too overwhelmingly sedative nor energetic.5

This makes green vein Kratom ideal for social situations and for those who find red vein Kratom too sedative, but white vein Kratom too stimulatory and jittery.

Yellow Vein Kratom Strains

Yellow Kratom strains are interesting. Currently, no industry standard exists for strains, so yellow Kratom often takes on one of two variations.

The first, is a strain that is harvested between growth cycles, usually between white and green or red and green. This results in an alkaloid profile that is ‘in-between’ those of the usual strains.

In other cases, yellow vein Kratom is produced by drying and processing white vein leaves in such a way that causes them to turn a yellowish tint, indicating a change in the alkaloid profile.

In all cases, yellow Kratom is fairly potent and euphoric, but may lean either towards a more sedative or stimulating effect depending on how it is made. Many consumers find yellow Kratom to be similar to some green veins and more well-balanced.6

Common Countries of Origin for Kratom

The Mitragyna Speciosa tree is a tropical evergreen tree grown natively and indigenous to Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea. There it has been used for centuries as a herbal remedy and for recreational enjoyment.

However, since that time, Kratom has spread throughout Southeast Asia. Below we explore some of the main countries where the Kratom tree is cultivated and harvested.

Thai Kratom – Thailand

Thai jungle

When it comes to Southeast Asia, many people’s first thoughts turn to Thailand – and for good reason. This tropical country has something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a laid-back beach holiday or an action-packed adventure. With its friendly people, delicious food, and stunning scenery, it’s no wonder that Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.

Kratom has long been used in traditional medicine in Thailand, where it is known as Krathom, for the treatment of pain, diarrhea, and cough. It has also been used as a stamina booster by laborers and as an herbal remedy for opiate withdrawal. There, Kratom is also sometimes chewed as a quid, smoked, or brewed as a tea.

This is also the country from which Maeng Da Kratom was born, a Thai word roughly translated to ‘pimp grade’ in English, denoting its high potency among Kratom strains. More on that later.

Borneo Kratom – Borneo

Jungle of Sarawak, Borneo

Borneo is a large island in Southeast Asia, divided between Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei. Despite its small size, Borneo is home to a wide variety of cultures and languages, as well as some of the world’s most diverse ecosystems. Indonesia controls the largest section of the island, which it shares with Malaysia. Brunei is located in the north of Borneo and is completely surrounded by Malaysia.

Despite its small size, Borneo is one of the most culturally and environmentally diverse places on Earth. From the Orangutans of the rainforest to the hustle and bustle of city life, there is something for everyone on this unique island.

The island is very mountainous and is home to some of the most biodiverse rainforests in the world, making its nutrient-rich soil and unique environment ideal for Mitragyna Speciosa to thrive.

Malaysian Kratom – Malaysia

Cameron Highlands Tea Plantation, Malaysia

Malaysia is a Southeast Asian country located on a strategic maritime crossroads that links the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. The country is divided into two regions: Peninsular Malaysia, which is part of the Malay Peninsula; and East Malaysia, which is part of the island of Borneo. The Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city. The country is home to a diverse range of cultures, races, and religions.

The Malaysian economy is diverse and rapidly growing. The country is a major exporter of petroleum, palm oil, rubber, and tin. The manufacturing sector is also significant, and includes the production of electronic goods, textiles, and chemicals. Tourism is another important sector, and Malaysia is a popular destination for both leisure and business travelers.

Malaysia is an attractive destination for businesses and offers a number of advantages, including a skilled workforce, a stable political environment, and a commitment to economic reform.

Bali Kratom – Bali

Mount Agung, Bali, Indonesia

Bali is more than just a beautiful island destination. Along with the the stunning natural scenery, it’s a place where you can experience unique cultures, eat delicious food and enjoy incredible beaches. With so much to offer, it’s no wonder that Bali is such a popular tourist destination.

With its white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and stunning coastline, Bali is home to some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world.

Bali is home to a unique culture that is a mix of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam. This unique blend of cultures is one of the many things that makes Bali such a special place.

Bali is home to some of the most beautiful natural scenery in the world. From the rice terraces to the volcanic mountains, its biodiverse ecosystem and unique climate are perfect for cultivating the Kratom tree.

Sumatra Kratom – Sumatra

Sumatran waterfall

The Island of Sumatra is a large island in western Indonesia that is part of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island entirely in Indonesia and the sixth-largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 with a population of 50,365,538. Sumatra is an elongated landmass spanning a diagonal northwest-southeast axis.

The island is adjacent to the Island of Java, the Island of Borneo, and the Maluku Islands. To the north is the Maluku Sea, to the northeast is the Celebes Sea, and to the southeast is the Banda Sea, which separates it from the Lesser Sunda Islands. The Greater Sunda Islands include Sumatra, Java, Borneo (Kalimantan), and Madura, as well as smaller islands that include the Nusa Islands, the Riau Archipelago, and the Anambas Islands.

The island has a wide range of climates and a high level of biodiversity. The island is home to a variety of animal species, including elephants, tigers, and orangutans, as well as many endemic plants.

The Different Colors of Kratom Strains

White Kratom

White Kratom Veins

Known as an energizing Kratom, white Kratom is most commonly used for its stimulatory effects, mimicking other stimulants while also providing mood elevation and mild euphoria that many find inspiring for tackling the day ahead.

Made from leaves harvested during the earliest stages of the tree’s growth cycle, the alkaloid profile of white Kratom tends to be energizing and uplifting, although larger doses still lean more towards a sedative effect.4

Popular White Kratom Strains:

Red Kratom

Red Kratom Veins

The opposite of white Kratom, red Kratom is most often used when looking to achieve a deeply relaxed, soothing, and sedative state that is perfect for after a long day’s work, or when chilling before bed. It is also the strain most ideal for pain relief and muscle relaxing.

Red Kratom is made from leaves harvested towards the end of the tree’s growth cycle when red veins on the leaves indicate an alkaloid profile rich in Mitragynine.4

Popular Red Kratom Strains:

Green Kratom

Green Kratom Veins

Made from leaves harvested just after the first initial growth spurt, veins on the Kratom leaves turn from bright green to a darker green color, indicating an alkaloid profile that is incredibly well-balanced.

Neither too energetic nor too sedative, green Kratom strains are often ideal for creative activities, work, focus, hobbies and social occasions.4

Popular Green Kratom Strains:

Yellow Kratom

Yellow Kratom Veins

Similar to green Kratom, yellow Kratom is often a more well-balanced strain, with effects ranging from those in the middle of whites and reds, but not quite as balanced as greens.

Yellow Kratom is often made from specially processed white vein Kratom leaves, altering the alkaloid profile to make it less energetic, but still quite stimulatory.6

Popular Yellow Kratom Strains:

Other Types of Kratom

Sometimes Kratom breaks the rules, with certain exotic strains being named based on a particular region of a country from which it is cultivated, or due to it being an incredibly unique strain in some way.

Below we explore a few of the most popular exotic strains that don’t always fall neatly into the typical Kratom experience.

1. Maeng Da Kratom

Roughly translating from native Thai to mean ‘pimp grade’, Maeng Da Kratom is known as one of if not THE strongest Kratom strain on the market.7 This strain is not generally suitable for beginners, and even regular users are advised to start small.

Maeng Da Kratom is great for those who love a particular strain’s effects, but who require an amplification of those effects.

Red Maeng Da Kratom

Embodying the best of what red Kratom has to offer, red Maeng Da Kratom is incredibly potent. This variety is often used for strong pain relief, deep relaxation, soothing calm, and sedative effects that are better suited for lounging on the couch or prior to bedtime.

White Maeng Da Kratom

You already learned White strains are more energetic, but what if you’re the kind of person who isn’t affected by a couple cups of coffee? White Maeng Da Kratom is strong. Knock your socks off strong, offering a higher degree of physical and mental stimulation, focus, and energy to power through whatever life tosses your way.

Green Maeng Da Kratom

Many people love green Kratom for its balanced effects. However, some green strains feel a bit ‘underwhelming’ for those looking for a more pronounced and dramatic effect. Being neither too stimulatory nor sedative, green strains meet you in the middle. But if you’re looking to amplify these effects, Green Maeng Da maintains its balanced feel, but with a more potent experience.

2. Bentuangie Kratom

What is Bentuangie Kratom?

Bentuangie Kratom isn’t named from where it comes from, or what vein it is. Rather, Bentuangie refers to a unique way of processing Kratom. In this case, fermentation. Kratom is harvested in the same way as usual, but instead of immediately drying the leaves, they are packed and fermented, resulting in a condensing of alkaloids that is said to be particularly useful for pain management, sedation, and relaxation.

3. Horn Kratom

Red Horn Kratom leaves

Horn Kratom is an exotic strain of Kratom made from a very unique type of Mitragyna Speciosa tree. The trees from which horn Kratom is made produce an interesting type of leaf, notable by it’s characteristic ‘horns’ or ‘spikes’ on the leaves.

This type of Kratom tree is only found on the island nation of Borneo, and is considered to be among the more potent strains of Kratom on the market, and is available as red horn, white horn, or green horn strains.

4. Elephant Kratom

Similar to Horn Kratom, Elephant Kratom is named after the shape of the leaves from which it is made. In this case, these leaves resemble large elephant ears.

Although this variety of Mitragyna Speciosa is more challenging to cultivate, it is a highly sought-after exotic variety that offers a potent alkaloid profile that many find impressive for its energetic, motivational focus and drive.

Elephant Kratom is most commonly available in white, red, and yellow veins.

5. Dragon Kratom

Rare and exotic, if you can find this strain, its well worth a try. Dragon Kratom is among one of the very few types of red Kratom that embodies all the effects reds are known for, without the sedative effect most reds are associated with.

In other words, this is a potent red-vein Kratom that bucks the trend, offering the same deep calming and relaxing effects, euphoria, and pain relief, with the added benefit of being stimulating and energizing at the same time.

That said, red dragon Kratom can also be found in green and white veins as well. But supplies are limited as only one plantation specializes in dragon varieties, making it a more difficult strain to get your hands on (and a more expensive one at that).

6. Hulu Kratom

Sometimes referred to as Hulu Kapuas Kratom, Hulu Kratom is made from Kratom trees grown along the banks of the famous Kapuas river at the edge of the Hulu rainforest in Borneo.

There, the trees are fed by the nutrient-dense water of the Kapuas river, thriving amid a truly unique ecosystem that is both isolated and pure.

Although difficult to access, grow and harvest, Hulu Kratom has seen a marked increase in popularity and is now more readily available than ever before.

7. Kali Kratom

Kali is short for ‘Kalimantan’, a province located in Indonesia. As one of the more exotic varieties of Kratom, Kali is more difficult to find, but well worth the search.

Known for its mild but long-lasting effects, Kali is often preferred by those who are more sensitive to Kratom, or who prefer a gentler experience that allows them to tackle their daily routines without feeling too sedated, energetic, or overly euphoric.

What are the Best Kratom Strains?

This is a bit of a loaded question. Best for what or for who?

One of the great things about Kratom is its versatility. Not only do different strains, veins, and varieties offer a unique experience, Kratom’s effects are also dose-dependent.8

This means that even an energetic white vein will transform into a more relaxed/sedative strain at higher doses, while a sedative red will offer a mild energy and stimulatory effect at lower doses.3

See: Kratom Dosage Guide for Beginners

*DISCLAIMER* – The following is for educational and informational purposes only. We do not make any claims regarding Kratom. Kratom is not meant to treat, cure, or diagnose any type of medical condition. Before starting any supplement always speak with your physician.

Best Kratom Strains for Anxiety

“Green is Gold” is what we like to say when it comes to the best Kratom for anxiety, with most green strains being ideal. However, a select few other strains have also been reported to help.3

  • Green Malay
  • Green Maeng Da
  • Green Hulu
  • Red Bali
  • Red Borneo
  • Red Maeng Da
  • White Maeng Da

Best Kratom Strains for Energy

Younger leaves with less alkaloids, taken in low to moderate doses, typically work best for energy and focus. This results in white and green veins.4,9

  • White Maeng Da
  • White Elephant
  • White Bali
  • White Borneo
  • White Hulu
  • Green Bali
  • Green Hulu

Best Kratom Strains for Euphoria

The best Kratom strains for euphoria require an adequate level of potency, with the active compounds Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine largely responsible for boosting mood in this way.2

  • Green Malay
  • Green Maeng Da
  • Green Hulu
  • Green Borneo
  • Green Bali
  • Red Maeng Da
  • White Maeng Da
  • Red Bali

Best Kratom Strains for Pain Relief

The best Kratom to take for pain will typically be from mature trees, rich in alkaloids, taken in higher doses.1

  • Most red vein Kratom
  • Red Maeng Da

The Strongest Kratom Strains

The strongest Kratom strains as determined by potency will be those with highly concentrated alkaloid profiles, influenced as much by their cultivation as their growing conditions.6

  • Maeng Da
  • Horn
  • Bentuangie
  • Elephant

Kratom: A Potent and Powerful Botanical Taking the World By Storm

Once a herbal remedy and holistic botanical used exclusively throughout Southeast Asia, Kratom has quickly risen to become a household name around the world.

Although western cultures have been slow to adopt this amazing botanical as a potential wellness supplement and recreational botanical, today more than 15 million Americans alone enjoy Kratom.

Today, the diversity of Kratom is something enjoyed by the masses, with demand driving the production and availability of a broad range of strains and varieties.

But not all Kratom is created equally. Make sure yours comes from one of our highly vetted vendors, working with generational farms across Southeast Asia to produce safe, sustainable, pure, and potent strains to enjoy.


1.       Ross M. Kratom is Medicine. In: PhD MR, ed. Kratom is Medicine: Natural Relief for Anxiety, Pain, Fatigue, and More. United States: Green Stone Books; 2021:14.

2.       Boffa L, Ghè C, Barge A, Muccioli G, Cravotto G. Alkaloid Profiles and Activity in Different Mitragyna speciosa Strains. Natural Product Communications. 2018;13(9).

3.       Smith KE, Sharma A, Grundmann O, McCurdy CR. Kratom Alkaloids: A Blueprint? ACS Chem Neurosci. 2023;14(2):195-197.

4.       Sharma R, Barnes J. Kratom. Journal of Primary Health Care. 2022;14(3):288-290.

5.       Singh D, Narayanan S, Vicknasingam B, Corazza O, Santacroce R, Roman-Urrestarazu A. Changing trends in the use of kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) in Southeast Asia. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental. 2017;32(3).

6.       Braley C, Hondrogiannis EM. Differentiation of Commercially Available Kratom by Purported Country of Origin using Inductively Coupled Plasma–Mass Spectrometry. Journal of Forensic Sciences. 2019;65(2):428-437.

7.       Chittrakarn S, Penjamras P, Keawpradub N. Quantitative analysis of mitragynine, codeine, caffeine, chlorpheniramine and phenylephrine in a kratom (Mitragyna speciosa Korth.) cocktail using high-performance liquid chromatography. Forensic Science International. 2012;217(1-3):81-86.

8.       Warner ML, Kaufman NC, Grundmann O. The pharmacology and toxicology of kratom: from traditional herb to drug of abuse. Int J Legal Med. 2016;130(1):127-138.

9.     Obeng S, Kamble SH, Reeves ME, et al. Investigation of the Adrenergic and Opioid Binding Affinities, Metabolic Stability, Plasma Protein Binding Properties, and Functional Effects of Selected Indole-Based Kratom Alkaloids. J Med Chem. 2020;63(1):433-439.

Written by Daniel Recardo

Founder of Kratom IQ; a self-improvement junkie and Kratom enthusiast. I started this website in 2015 to help people avoid the common pitfalls and mistakes with Mitragyna Speciosa, and ultimately get the most out of this amazing plant. Learn More...

Further Reading

Red Borneo Kratom
Strain Reviews
Learn All About This Popular Indonesian Strain in This Red Vein Borneo Review. Includes Effects, Dosage Recommendations and More!
Red Sumatra Kratom
Strain Reviews
Just How Magic is Red Sumatran Kratom? Find Out in This Review, including Dosage Advice, What to Expect and Tips for Enhancing its Effects.
Red Hulu Kratom
Strain Reviews
Red Hulu Kratom is a Rare Red Vein Strain. Find Out Where it Comes From, How it's Harvested, Expected Effects, How to Take it and More.
Red Bali Kratom
Strain Reviews
What Makes Red Bali Kratom Different from the Other "Red" Strains? Find Out in This Red Bali Review, Including Dose Advice and What to Expect.

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