Kratom is hot on the market, but officials are still skeptical

Kratom is hot on the market, but officials are still skeptical

EUGENE, Ore. - Lane County Health Officials are back-tracking just a bit from last week's health warnings on a very popular herbal supplement called Kratom.

Officials say they got a lot of blow-back, most of it critical of the County's stance.

The botanical product from southeast Asia has cause quite a bit of controversy in the United States.

Dr. Patrick Luedtke, of Lane County Public Health says that three things are clear. People are seeing health, and that includes alternative supplements. Kratom is readily available in Lane County, and the FDA has huge concerns about the substance.

"You put those three together and what we're saying is essentially, be careful," said Dr. Luedtke.

Luedtke addds that County Health has no ability to approve or disapprove any substance like Kratom, but that big concerns remain.

"We want to make sure that going forward, we can insure the purity of Kratom, and that may occur through studies and trials," said Luedtke.

Denise Couch, owner at the Santa Clara Smoke Shop says that she's stocked the Kratom capsules and powder for 7 months. It now accounts for 50-60 percent of the total sales.

At first, Couch was skeptical about the product, but after doing the research, she decided to sell Kratom on a trial basis in May.

"I was skeptical about it being some sort of fake or synthesized substance that isn't healthy," said Couch. "And all of the people who come in tell how much they really are happy that we have it and how much it's helped them."

Couch says her customers say the supplement helps for pain relief, higher energy, and or others, it's a tool to get off of opiods.

She hopes federal testing of Kratom happens sooner rather than later.

But doctors say trying to predict when FDA testing may occur is pretty much impossible.

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