Kratom is the name of a tree, Mitragyna speciosa, from the coffee family native to Southeast Asia. In Thailand, Indonesia, and countries alike, it is commonly known for natives to chew on the Kratom tree leaves. Its leaves are dried and brewed into a tea.
Known for its earthy taste, people who drink kratom may experience increased energy, focus, and mood-lifting effects. Kratom interacts with the opioid receptors in the brain causing an increase in both dopamine and serotonin levels. This causes those mood-lifting effects mentioned previously.
Native to the South Pacific Islands, Kava is the root of the pepper plant, piper methysticum. Known for its mouth-numbing sensation and its earthy taste, kava has been used traditionally in the Pacific Islands as a ceremonial beverage to be taken in a communal setting. Kava has been used to relax and connect socially for many generations.
Kava essentially acts as a central nervous system depressant as it impacts the GABA receptors and stimulates dopamine in the brain. This produces calming, sedative, and mood-boosting effects.
As previously mentioned, Kava is metabolized through some of the same liver enzymes that process alcohol and a number of common pharmaceutical drugs. As such, one should never consume alcohol and kava within the same 24 hour period. It is also advisable to consult your physician or pharmacist before choosing to consume kava on a regular basis while prescribed medications.