Mitragyna is a genus belonging to the Rubiaceae family and is a plant endemic to Asia and Africa. Traditionally, the plants of this genus were used by local people to treat some diseases from generation to generation. Mitragyna speciosa (Korth.) Havil. is a controversial plant from this genus, known under the trading name “kratom”, and contains more than 40 different types of alkaloids. Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine have agonist morphine-like effects on opioid receptors. Globally, Mitragyna plants have high economic value. However, regulations regarding the circulation and use of these commodities vary in several countries around the world. This review article aims to comprehensively examine Mitragyna plants (mainly M. speciosa) as potential pharmacological agents by looking at various aspects of the plants. A literature search was performed and information collected using electronic databases including Scopus, ScienceDirect, PubMed, directory open access journal (DOAJ), and Google Scholar in early 2020 to mid-2021. This narrative review highlights some aspects of this genus, including historical background and botanical origins, habitat, cultivation, its use in traditional medicine, phytochemistry, pharmacology and toxicity, abuse and addiction, legal issues, and the potential of Mitragyna species as pharmaceutical products.
- Mitragyna speciosa