Kratom’s Malaysian History: What’s Worth Knowing

One of the coolest parts of our job here at Left Coast Kratom is to get the opportunity to learn more about kratom, where it comes from, and where it’s going. We spend a lot of time talking about the future of kratom. Will it become fully legalized? Will it be easier to obtain? How will its usage change over time?

What we often gloss over, however, is the past. Where did kratom come from, how was it used, and what can this teach us about it today? Will the future of kratom look anything like the past?

One of the most interesting areas of the world to look at when taking time to understand Kratom’s past is Malaysia. Much of the world’s kratom supply comes from Malaysia, and this has been true for more than one hundred years. Why and how did this happen?

We’ve asked a lot of unanswered questions in this introduction, but don’t worry. We’re here to answer them today! By the end of this article, you’ll know more about kratom’s history than your average user. Let’s dive into a brief history of kratom in Malaysia. 

Banner For Shopping

Growth: Why Malaysia Grows Kratom Prolifically

One of the things that I found myself most curious about when learning about kratom was that it grows so well in tropical areas. What was it about these areas that made it flourish, and how did Malaysia manage to have some of the best growth of all? After all, the lands that make up Malaysia have seen fertile kratom tree growth for hundreds of years.

The climate in Malaysia happens to be perfect for kratom growth. The climate is very humid, and there is a long rainy season. This means that the soil is at least somewhat wet for most of the year, and that is what kratom loves. Plus, all the soil is incredibly fertile.

These conditions are perfect for the tropical tree that can grow up to fifty, sixty, or even seventy feet tall in the right conditions. Those large trees furnish a lot of leaves, and that is how Kratom exportation is so prolific in kratom.

Legality: Is Using and Selling Kratom Okay In Malaysia?

Now that we know why kratom trees grow well in Malaysia, let’s talk about its legal status. Can kratom be bought in Malaysia? Can it be used? What do the rules say? Before we can talk about the present, we need to talk about the past.

Before 1952

Up until 1952, kratom usage, production, and sale were largely unrestricted by the government in Malaysia. While there were occasional rules and bans, the substance could be processed and used as needed. 

People were using kratom, but not very regularly. Kratom was used most frequently in the northern areas that border Thailand. In these regions, people tend to work long, hard days. Using kratom provided relief and relaxation for them.

Additionally, kratom was used for ritual cultural practices. Kratom was thought to be a powerful plant-based healing tool. Brewed as a tea, it was used to restore strength to tired minds and bodies during ceremonial practices and in everyday life.

People also used kratom instead of opiates. Opiate use began booming in the 1800s, and opioid addiction skyrocketed as it became more accessible to the general public. Malaysians soon found that taking kratom tea or leaves would often prevent people from ingesting opiates.

Year: 1952

The Poisons Act of 1952 changed the way that kratom was legally viewed in Malaysia. This law forbids the use and domestic sale of kratom leaves and related substances. While there had been subtle bans in the past, this was the only complete and clear outlawing of the substance.

This law happened around the same time that many other countries in the region passed their own laws about kratom and similar substances.


Today, it is illegal to take kratom in Malaysia. It is also illegal to process the leaves into other forms of the substance.

The exportation of kratom leaves, however, remains legal. As long as a farmer has the appropriate permit, they are permitted to harvest and export the leaves to other countries. This exportation has become a big money-maker in the Northern parts of Malaysia.

While it is illegal to use kratom in Malaysia, these laws are not heavily enforced. Clear information about how many people are using kratom and why they take it is hard to come by, but most seem to believe that kratom is most heavily used in rural areas where traditional rituals and ways of life are still very strong.

Banner for shopping

Looking Forward

It’s difficult to be sure of what will happen in the future of kratom legality in Malaysia. Exportation, it seems, will remain legal for many years to come as the international popularity of the substance continues to grow. Domestic usage and sale legality, however, seems more unlikely for the immediate future.

The biggest problem with knowing what will happen with kratom in Malaysia in the future is the lack of research about its uses and effects. Until scientific research can prove the safety of kratom, anecdotal evidence and horror stories continue to plague the industry.

Are My “Malay” Strains From Malaysia?

Now that you know more about the history of kratom in Malaysia, you might be wondering if the last green Malay strain that you tried came from the forests in Malaysia. While it is quite possible that the leaves were imported from Malaysia, the name alone does not guarantee that.

The names of different strains of kratom are based on the variety, chemical makeup, and processing method more than they are based on where the kratom leaves originated from. While the strain names originally denoted origin, they are now used more as an identifying tactic than anything else.

Regardless of whether or not the leaves that you’ve used have come from Malaysia, the history of kratom in Malaysia has still had a huge effect on the product that you love and use today!