Inhibitory effects of kratom leaf extract (Mitragyna speciosa Korth.) on the rat gastrointestinal tract

J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Feb 28;116(1):173-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2007.11.032. Epub 2007 Nov 28.


Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa Korth.) is an indigenous plant of Thailand used traditionally in folk medicine although it is claimed to cause addiction. It is used to treat diarrhea, however, there is no scientific evidence to support the use. The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of methanolic extract of kratom leaves on the rat gastrointestinal tract. Kratom extract at 50, 100, 200 and 400 mg/kg (p.o.) caused a dose dependent protection against castor oil-induced diarrhea in rats and also inhibited intestinal transit. The antidiarrheal effect was not antagonized by naloxzone. The inhibition of intestinal transit by kratom extract was significantly different from the control when treated with a single dose for 1 day. For longer-term treatments of 15 and 30 days, kratom extract did not decrease the intestinal transit time indicating that adaptation had occurred. Kratom extract at a dose level of 200 and 400 mg/kg for 30 days and morphine at 3 mg/kg (i.p.) caused a decrease in the increment of body weight that was significantly different from the control and kratom extract at lower doses (50 and 100 mg/kg). However it had no effect on the level of plasma cholecystokinin. The results suggested that methanolic kratom extract exhibited its antidiarrheal effect on rat gastrointestinal tract. The effects may occur via pathways in addition to the action on opioid receptors. High does of kratom extract decreased the increment of body weight similar to the effect of morphine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antidiarrheals / pharmacology*
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Cholecystokinin / blood
  • Gastrointestinal Transit / drug effects*
  • Medicine, East Asian Traditional
  • Mitragyna*
  • Naloxone / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Leaves
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Antidiarrheals
  • Plant Extracts
  • Naloxone
  • Cholecystokinin