Is my so called “Elixir of Life” a banned substance?
I wrote about the “African Leaf” in my blog sometime ago. The name was told to me by my brother in law (who is no botanist, by the way). He, in turn, had heard the term from his neighbour. So I do not know the actual scientific name of this plant.
I planted a few cuttings back home last September. Since then I have harvested the leaves twice and have dried the leaves and used them to make tea. I drink this tea much like one would take a drink of water, and so far so good.
A reader, Sam, wrote in asking me if this leaf was any good as a herbal treatment for diabetes. I told him that I had not heard of any such effects and since then I have exchanged a couple of emails with Sam. He dropped a bombshell when he sent me a picture of a plant that looked eerily like the African Leaf and said that it might be Ketum. A search on Google revealed that the English name for it was Kratom.
Kratom is banned in Malaysia and every Malaysian and any traveller to Malaysia should know about the tough laws we have on drugs. As I have no intention of tangling with our Anti Narcotics cops, I asked around.
A friend told me that this plant is grown widely by Chinese families in Malacca. (My brother in law’s neighbour was Chinese). It was used as some sort of herbal medicine though my friend did not know what were the particular uses of the plant.
A University Science Malaysia publication showed a picture of a large Kratom tree. Thankfully, it did not look anything like my African Leaf shrubs. You can see the comparisons of two pictures here.
My African Leaf. This picture was taken at my brother in law’s house.
I found this picture in www.kratomfarm.com. This looks like a tree and a huge one at that. I don’t think my African leaf will ever reach this size.
A lady reader has recently commented asking me where to get such plants. Apparently she wants to do some research. I have asked her to get in touch with me as I should be able to give her plenty of leaves.
I only hope that my research is not wrong, and this lady is not actually an undercover cop.