By: Philip | 12-19-2017 | News
Photo credit: Yanawut Suntornkij | Dreamstime

Could The Philippines' Mambog Be Kratom's Saving Grace?

Seems like overnight, the buzz over mambog began to grow. Most likely due to the exciting potential it may hold for kratom consumers in the US. Kratom is a Southeast Asian plant related to the coffee bush that has been used safely for centuries as a folk medicine and coffee substitute. The plant is considered a life-changer to millions who use it, but the FDA seems intent on doing anything in their power to make sure that kratom is not an option for those who use it. Mambog is a region in the Philippines that is named after a tree. Specifically, the Mitragyna speciosa, better known in the west as "kratom."

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">I talk <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#kratom</a> in this segment from <a href="">@TheGoldWaterUS</a> livestream. <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Philip (@kafkaguy) <a href="">December 19, 2017</a></blockquote>

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Though it was not native to the Philippine islands, it seems to have been growing in the area since the 1800's. What makes this such exciting news though, is how it may affect the regulations behind the sale of the plant. Just a year or so out from an unprecedented victory against an attempted scheduling by the DEA, the FDA picked up the ball and issued an advisory claiming kratom was a dangerous drug that had resulted in multiple deaths and had the potential to worsen the opiate epidemic. Despite referring Reuters reporters to FOIA to find out what evidence they used to make this claim, it seems the FDA was bluffing entirely as <a href="">no scientific data was found via FOIA or other means</a> that would suggest their outlandish claims are anywhere near true.

This situation closely resembles that of the Kava controversy of the 80'sand 90's that eventually culminated in the all too familiar <a href="">FDA advisory</a>. The FDA tried to claim that kava was linked to organ failures, though <a href="">recent metareviews suggest</a> that this is completely untrue, it took the discovery of kava being marketed in Hawaii before 1994 to get kava past the expensive and time-consuming process of New Dietary Ingredient (NDI) registration. If the kratom community can provide sufficient proof to the FDA that kratom (or mambog, lugup, polapupot or any other name it may be known by locally) was sold and/or marketed as a dietary supplement, food product or medicinal herb between 1898 and 1946 when the Philippines were a US territory kratom could be grandfathered in past the Dietary Supplement and Health Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994 as kava was.

Kratom is not a native species to the Philippines it seems. From the scant literature available online it appears it was most likely brought in some time in the 1800's. That said, there is a Barangay (village or borough) in the Philippines that takes its name from the tree. <a href="">In Mambog, in fact, there is even a local legend</a> of a man who came to the church begging alms but asking only for branches of the mambog tree.

Kratom is mentioned in <a href="">a 1904 report released by the Philippines Bureau of Government Laboratories</a> entitled "Preliminary Report of the appearance in the Philippines Islands of a disease clinically resembling Glanders," by William B. Wherry, M.D. This places it firmly within the proper date range. The previous report not only mentions mambog as mitragyna, but also references its use as a folk medicine. Another Reddit user in the thread spoke of the use of mambog as a treatment for diarrhea and malaria in Pasay City and other areas in the Philippines. In 1978, a reference book, <a href="">Medicinal Plants of the Philippines,</a> also mentions the use of Mitragyna within the Philippines. So some of the legwork as far as proving it was used during that time has been done.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Because of DSHEA, for Kratom to be totally legal NDI applications or legislation are required.</p>&mdash; Drew Turner (@DrewTurner73) <a href="">July 30, 2017</a></blockquote>

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This search could end up being something of the proverbial "needle in a haystack" according to <a href="">Reddit user, kratom advocate and podcaster NerdsTakeOnTheWorld</a>. Getting kratom past the NDI would be a great boon, but wouldn't get us out of the woods entirely yet. All vendors would still need to ensure that they kept up with cGMP (current good manufacturing processes) related to the processing and distribution of food and supplement products. Seeing as anything taken internally should be ensured safe for consumption, this is a no-brainer, but may take some time and assistance before all the major and minor vendors are fully "up to code." Regardless of how the mambog search pans out, the <a href="">United Kratom Association</a> has plans to assist vendors in the process of NDI registration as part of their commitment to becoming the first ever kratom trade organization.

If you're interested, make sure to check out the embedded YouTube clip, it is set to cue up right at the beginning of the segment on mambog and what potential it may hold for the kratom community as a whole.

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