Kratom herbal supplements are made from dried kratom leaves imported from Southeast Asia. It’s somewhat of a similar process as making tea leaves. Like all organic matter, then, eventually the dried kratom leaves will decay, no matter how well it’s stored.
Nonetheless, realistically, how long is kratom’s shelf life, what can you do to extend it, and what should you know about the old kratom you found in your closet?
There’s also the question of whether the active alkaloids in kratom, mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine (7-HMG), lose their potency over time.
Most of the info from this comes from anecdotes of kratom users, experimenting and sharing their experiences.
As mentioned, the short answer is yes. It’s a plant. You could throw it in the compost and small organisms would feast on it, turning it into fertile dirt, just like other food and organic matter scraps like banana peels.
(Whether the worms going to town on the kratom get high is a fun question, but one we don’t have an answer to.)
The other question here is should you listen to the expiration date on the bag? Could anything bad happen?
Any kratom you take before the expiration date, as long as you’ve stored it in a reasonable space that’s cool and dry will be fine. As you’ll see when you buy kratom, the expiration is months out.
On various kratom forums, people report taking kratom that’s 5 or 6 years old with zero issues and still getting the same effects.
Others discuss that after less than a few years, the kratom lacked the potency, and they didn’t get the same effects.
There are a lot of factors that determine this, including
- The potency of the kratom to begin with. Most kratom isn’t third-party tested, and even if it is, they often don’t test the alkaloid levels. Your kratom could never have been any good. This will vary by strain, yes, but also within each batch.
- The external environment. If you store it in the compost, it’s going to compost.
- The container. If the bag is sealed or unsealed, that’s going to affect it.
Generally, no. Some expired kratom will be totally fine and have the same effects, depending on the factors we mentioned above.
But let’s assume that it’s way past expiration and effectively “gone bad.” The most likely outcome of this, is that the effects won’t be as strong. It might have a stale texture and taste, as some users have reported. But, it’s not going to do any harm. At that point, though, you’re just stomaching an inactive dry leaf for no reason.
It would be like walking out of your house during foliage season, picking up a dead leaf off the ground, crushing it up and putting it in your smoothie. You’ll live, but you might get a bit of an upset stomach.
However, if your kratom has been exposed to moisture, then it could be a breeding ground for bacteria. If your bag is expired and has been opened, then just toss it. There’s no reason to take your chances like that.
This brings us to the question of how to lengthen its shelf life.
- Keep the bag sealed. Once you’ve opened the bag, moisture has come in. If you’ve had an opened bag for a while, toss it. To that, don’t store it in anything that’s not air-tight, and ideally only store unopened kratom bags.
- Store it in a cool, dry place. If you live in the desert and keep it in your garage, it’s not going to last as long. If you live in a cold place, and store it in a completely dark cupboard or pantry, then it’s going to last longer. Keep it away from light.
- Use a desakit pack. You know those little bags that come in supplements? That’s to take the moisture away. If you want to support the shelf-life of your kratom you can throw one of those in wherever you store it to help keep the environment dry.
- Don’t refrigerate it or put it in the freezer. Kratom doesn’t do well in those conditions.
Regular kratom powder is inexpensive. It makes more sense to only buy what you need for a few months at a time. That way, you don’t need to go crazy with storing your kratom in the first place, or worry about it as much.
This will also ensure that you’re getting the full potency out of your kratom.
Just because lots of users have taken 5-year-old kratom without any problems, doesn’t make it a good idea.
Whether it’s stored well or not, a lot of kratom on the market is crap. Kratom is highly unregulated, and any random kratom you buy could be contaminated to begin with, cut with other substances, or packaged poorly, so it won’t store well.
As a bare minimum, make sure you buy kratom from an American Kratom Association, GMP (good manufacturing practices) approved vendor.
Taking that a step further, though, look for vendors who are transparent in their manufacturing processes, and who tested the purity of the kratom.
Viable Solutions, for example, have industry-leading transparency (they show you their whole process on their website), and were the first ones to display the testing results of every batch with a simple QR code.
This way, you know exactly what’s in every bag of kratom you take.
Kratom is a controversial substance, and we’ve covered these controversies and how to use kratom intelligently in an array of articles.
For example, if you want to combine coffee and kratom, check out that article.
If you want to know how kratom can help with alcohol withdrawal, there’s that one over there.
For more on kratom extracts, you can check out this our article on the best kratom extract products.