Father Sez

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Is my so called “Elixir of Life” a banned substance?

Friday March 27th, 2009 by fathersez

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.  

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10 Comments for “Is my so called “Elixir of Life” a banned substance?”

by Kevin
On April 23, 2009
At 4:04 pm

Hey, I have a kratom site and have very good prices, if you’d like to tell the lady reader who inquired.

As far as the legality of kratom in malaysia, the law is on the books but the authorities do not treat it the same way as other drugs. Of course all bets are off for a rich foreigner that’s seen as an easy target for extortion. Some vendors import kratom from Malaysia though most kratom labeled as Malaysian is a Malaysian strain actually grown in Indonesia.

On April 23, 2009
At 8:38 pm

Aiyah, Kevin,

I don’t want to get entangled with all these lah. Anyway my tree is not kratom, and the lady was not certainly loking for kratom. (She has not come back to me anyway.)

Good luck in your business, but please count me out.


by Ethan
On July 3, 2009
At 7:11 am

I don’t believe it is banned in the U.S., but I think it is under review by the FDA.

by Sophia
On July 6, 2009
At 3:36 pm

Why do you call it “African leaf” if it is native to Southeast Asia?

by suraya
On March 20, 2010
At 5:08 pm

what’s the scientific name of african leaf??
can someone help me??

by nora
On March 31, 2010
At 2:01 pm

hi fathersez.
i’m nora from universiti science malaysia, pulau pinang.
i’m doing my master about this plant. i’hv found that this African leaf got the flower ( from other blog ).
did your plant got flower? if got we ( my lacturer, supervisor and usm team ang me) would like to come and see u at your place.
hope that can hear from you soon.

by Me
On April 25, 2010
At 8:23 am

As far as I know, Kratom is not banned in US. You mostly found Kratom in Asia since this is the native tree in this region. I just got my Borneo kratom from a direct seller in that area. Borneo is also part of Indonesia. And so far, Kratom is not illegal in this country.
In case you want the information about the seller, I’ll give you the link :


by Bikhuk
On January 4, 2011
At 6:39 pm

Your African tree does indeed not look like a kratom tree, so no need to worry. Kratom is indeed banned and an illegal substance in Malaysia, and since they still have corporal punishment for certain offences I would not try dealing with it…..although of course we are interested in any kratom strain around :)

On December 18, 2012
At 9:40 pm

Hi everyone I am sorry I cant help you guys regarding the name.

@Me & Bikhuk-Thank you so much for your informative comments

On December 18, 2012
At 9:53 pm

@Nora-i am so sorry its been to years since your comment! I had not been moderating this page as I had just gotten the password back (finally!). i do hope u managed your thesis well though despite not getting a reply from my beloved father.

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