What’s the Difference Between Kratom and Akuamma?

Illustration of akuamma seed and kratom leaf placed next to each other.
Written by Livvy Ashton | Last updated: December 3, 2022

Herbal medicines have played an underrated role in medicine throughout history.

Both kratom and akuamma are used for boosting energy and eliminating fatigue — so what makes them different? Which one should I use?

In this article, we’ll delve into the differences and similarities of these powerful plant medicines. We’ll also cover their side effects and how most people choose to take them.

What is Akuamma?

Native to tropical Africa, akuamma, or Picralima nitida, is a plant that produces flowers and seed-filled fruits year-round, both of which have medicinal properties. Many people even use the roots and bark after selling its powdered, crushed seeds.

What is Kratom?

On the other hand, kratom, also known as Mitragyna speciosa, grows wild in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea. There are several ways to take kratom, but the most popular options include chewing the leaves or crushing dried leaves into a powder and mixing it into a drink.

Akuamma & Kratom Comparison Chart

Akuamma Kratom
Effects Pain relief; reduces anxiety; promotes relaxation and sleep Pain relief; promotes relaxation and sleep; reduces anxiety; boosts mood, energy, and focus
Dose 0.25–6 g 2–12 g
Safety Profile Low risk with proper use Low risk with proper use
Side Effects Sedation, headaches, nausea Dizziness, nausea, lethargy, headaches, dehydration
Risks Do not use while pregnant Can cause severe interactions with some substances
How to Use Powder, capsule Powder, capsule, tincture

What Are Kratom & Akuamma Used For?

Akiamma and Kratom in plates

Most people use both kratom and akuamma for their powerful alkaloids, known for acting as the perfect alternative to other medicinal prescription substances.

Even though akuamma’s principal alkaloid is akuammine, and kratoms is mitragynine, they share a similar structure that reacts with the mu-opioid system.

They offer very similar benefits, including muscle-relaxing, analgesic, and hypotensive properties. However, there are some key differences.

Kratom Uses

Kratom is a tropical evergreen tree in the coffee family whose leaves have been used for medicinal purposes for centuries.

The plant contains over forty alkaloids, with the two primary ones directly affecting the mu-opioid system. It is a relatively low-risk pain reliever, stimulant, antidepressant, and nootropic.

If you suffer from depression, anxiety, insomnia, lack of focus, or are simply looking for nootropic effects; kratom is an ideal choice. However, the herb’s effects depend on the strain you choose and the dose you take.

Akuamma Uses

Akuamma contains a high concentration of alkaloids that provide analgesic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antipyretic — or fever-reducing — effects. If you’re suffering from nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, or fever, powdered akuamma seeds can help mitigate the symptoms.

It also acts as an expectorant and antitussive.

Traditionally, both the bark and root of the plant were considered to have medicinal value as well. Though more research is needed to confirm these uses, the former was used to treat jaundice, intestinal parasites, and yellow fever, and the latter to counter pneumonia.

The leaves were used for measles and guinea worm, while the sap helped ear infections.

How Will Kratom & Akuamma Make Me Feel?

Although both herbal extracts have pain-killing and sedative effects, each has different strengths.

Kratom brings many physical effects and health benefits to the table, while akuamma might help counter certain illnesses. Following up, we’ll expand on what to expect after taking them.

Kratom’s Effects

Kratom is commercialized in three main varieties: red, white, and green-veined strains. Besides these, yellow and gold-veined kratom exists, though these are blends of other strains.

1. Red Vein Kratom Strains

Red Vein Strain

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Red-veined strains are potent analgesics with sedative properties. They have a higher concentration of 7-hydroxymitragynine, the alkaloid most responsible for kratom’s opioid-like effects.

These strains are best for:

  • Pain relief
  • Promoting sleep
  • Reducing anxiety
  • Relaxation

2. White Vein Kratom Strains

White Vein Strain

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The white-veined varieties have higher amounts of mitragynine, kratom’s main alkaloid, and are known for their nootropic properties.

These strains are best for:

  • Increasing energy and motivation
  • Enhancing focus
  • Improving mood and confidence

3. Green Vein Kratom Strains

Green Vein Strain

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Interestingly, green-veined strains are considered a middle ground between the first two, as they offer both stimulant and sedative effects, depending on the dose. These strains are good for beginners or those that want a nudge or relief from mild aches.

These strains are best for:

  • Those new to kratom
  • All-around balanced effects

While each variety has several effects in common, they significantly vary according to the amount you take.

Small doses bring mood enhancement, energy boosts, increased focus and confidence, and euphoria. Larger doses are good for pain relief and sleep.

Akuamma’s Effects

Akuamma’s effects are, like kratom, subjective from user to user. However, you can generally expect the following:

  • Mood enhancement
  • Relief from aches and pains
  • Relaxation

Large doses intensify these effects.

Because of the indeterminate nature of akuamma’s effects, we recommend starting with low doses initially and gradually increasing them as you see fit.

Side Effects: Kratom vs. Akuamma

As long as you ensure they’re unadulterated, akuamma and kratom are completely natural. Kratom might be a bit safer to use in comparison, but that’s only due to the amount of research and anecdotal evidence surrounding it.

Still, both can cause unpleasant effects, though this is mainly when misused or abused for a long time. Next up, we’ll list some of the possible short and long-term side effects that come hand in hand with each herb.

Kratom’s Side Effects

Kratom’s side effects are predominantly minor and tend to appear in higher doses or when you’ve recently started using it.

Users report the following side effects:

  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Lethargy
  • Brain fog
  • Addiction

Kratom addiction isn’t as severe as opioid or some other addictions, but it’s important to be aware that it can happen.

However rare, large amounts of kratom over long periods can cause liver damage.

Avoid using other medications or substances while using kratom, as it can cause dangerous interactions. Talk to your doctor before taking kratom, and avoid using it during pregnancy.

Akuamma’s Side Effects

Headaches, and other particular side effects, might turn up at low doses of akuamma and increase with higher doses and continuous use. Although akuamma seeds seem safe, their sedative influences need further research.

Regardless, we still don’t know much about the herb and its long-term effects on your physical and mental health. We suggest avoiding hypotensives, sedatives, muscle relaxants, and painkillers entirely while on akuamma seeds.

You should be aware that akuamma might act as a contraceptive and be detrimental during pregnancy, causing developmental malformations. Avoid using it if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

Dealing With Addiction

It’s possible to become addicted to kratom, and a handful of states have decided to ban it because of that. The addiction and withdrawal profiles may be similar for both herbs, as they interact with the mu-opioid receptor system in our bodies.

There isn’t enough research on akuamma’s addictiveness and withdrawal. Still, taking most substances too much and too often can result in psychological dependency and possibly physical addiction. Quitting may evoke unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

However, as we mentioned, kratom dependency differs from opioid addictions, and it has some minor side effects. These include insomnia, muscle aches, mood changes, anxiety, depression, and agitation. It is unlikely to cause an overdose or respiratory depression.

How to Take Akuamma

If you visit tropical Africa, you’ll find out locals like to crush akuamma seeds into powder and take it orally. They also enjoy chewing small amounts of leaves, fruits, seeds, and bark to endure pain during working hours or to avoid being hungry after long hikes.

Purchasing akuamma as a powder or in capsules is possible, and people use the widespread “toss-and-wash” method to wash it down quickly with a drink. Still, although it’s a quick procedure, akuamma is a bitter substance that can cause nausea and vomiting.

Akuamma Dosage

Akuamma Powder in plate

The perfect akuamma dose depends on several factors, such as your body’s weight and general tolerance to the herb. As always, if you’re a beginner, we suggest starting with small amounts.

Standard akuamma doses are the following:

  • Mild to moderate pain: 250-500 milligrams
  • Severe pain: 2-6 grams

Akuamma takes half an hour to kick in, yet its effects can last up to five hours.

How to Take Kratom

Regular kratom users love to take their dose in powder or capsules. If you’re willing to pay more, tinctures and extracts are also available. The “toss-and-wash” method is one of the most common forms of taking this herb.

To get the desired effect out of kratom, you’ll need to pay close attention to the strain you choose and how much kratom you take.

Kratom Dosage

Kratom powder in container in light green background

Kratom tends to be stimulated in small doses and sedated in larger amounts.

Even though the general kratom dosing is the following, we suggest checking out the proper dose and effects of the specific strains:

  • Stimulation: 2-6 grams
  • Sedation: 6-12 grams
  • Severe pain relief: >12 grams

Kratom takes around forty minutes to kick in, and its effects can last up to six hours.

Conclusion: Should I Use Akuamma or Kratom For Pain Relief?

Although the herbs share a handful of similarities, and both serve their medical purposes successfully, we can’t say they’re exactly the same.

Whereas kratom has several strains and vein colors with different effects each, there’s only one variety of akuamma trees, meaning the outcome will be identical every time. Also, kratom’s effects are more potent than akuamma, which may be something you need.

However, if you happen to live in a state or country where kratom is outlawed, we thoroughly suggest checking out akuamma as a viable option according to your goals.


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Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.