Ultrasonic Kratom Extraction

  • Ultrasonication is very effective to produce alkaloid-rich extracts from kratom leaves (Mitragyna speciosa).
  • Sonication releases bioactive compounds such as mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine from the plant cells so that they can be isolated.
  • Ultrasonic extraction provides higher yields in a reduced extraction time.

Kratom and Mitragynine

Ultrasonic extraction of mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine from kratom leaves.Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine are the indole alkaloids of Mitragyna speciosa, also known as Kratom. Both compounds act as opioid-receptor antagonist and are known for their pain-relieving effects. 7-hydroxymitragynine is a highly potent painkilling substance. Unlike mitragynine, which is abundantly present in Kratom leaves, 7-hydroxymitragynine is found only in small amounts. However, due to its high potency, 7-hydroxymitragynine relieves even worst pain and is also known to ease opiate withdrawal symptoms.
Dried kratom leaves contain approx. 1-6% mitragynine and approx. 0.01 – 0.04% of 7-hydroxymitragynine. Kratom is natural botanical ingredient that can be used as dietary supplements or as pharmaceutical in form of powders, capsules or tinctures to relieve pain, stimulate or act as natural help for opioid withdrawal.

Ultrasonic Extraction

Ultrasonic extraction is a very effective method to release the key psychoactive compounds mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine (7-HMG) as well as more than 40 other bioctive compounds, including about 25 alkaloids (e.g. ajmalicine, mitraphylline, mitragynine pseudoindoxyl, rhynchophylline) from kratom. Other active bioactive compounds in M. speciosa leaves include raubasine and Pausinystalia johimbe alkaloids such as corynantheidine.
The most widely used compounds of Mitragyna speciosa (kratom) are mitragynine (MG), 7-hydroxymitragynine, which are known as potent painkilling substances. 7-hydroxymitragynine is an opioid-antagonist, which helps patients to withdraw from opioids. Both substances can be successfully released from the plant’s cell matrix by sonication. Kratom extracts can be ultrasoncially extracted either using alcohol or water as solvent. The selection of solvent influences the effects of kratom. Extracts isolated with ethanol show reduced stimulating properties, while the relaxing, anxiety-reducing effects are increased. Ultrasonic extraction can be used with various kinds of solvent and gives you the option of producing kratom extracts with different properties.

Ultrasonic Homogenizer UP400St for the agitated batch extraction of botanicals.

Ultrasonic Extraction of Botanicals - 8 Liter Batch - Ultrasonicator UP400S

Case Studies of Ultrasonic Kratom Extraction

Research has already investigated and proven the ultrasonically assisted extraction as a procedure, which increases the extraction efficiency and yield of released mitragynine.
Orio et al. 2011 compared various extraction techniques such as ultrasound-assisted extraction, microwave-assisted extraction and supercritical carbon dioxide extraction, using methanol, ethanol, water and binary mixtures. The probe-type ultrasonicator gave the highest yield in mitragynine. Since ultrasonic extraction processes can be linearly scaled up to industrial production, it is the most effective method to produce larger quantities of the alkaloid.

An initial freeze-drying coupled with ultrasonic extraction has been found most efficient when a combination of CHCl3 : MeOH 1:4 (v/v) at pH 9.5 was used. A low extraction temperature between 25 and 45°C helps to avoid the degradation of the bioactive compounds.
For the ultrasonic extraction, 5 g of the pulverised freeze-dried Kratom leaves are placed in a beaker containing 200 mL of CHCl3:CH3OH, 1:4(v/v), which is placed in an ice bath to keep the temperature during sonication low. The sample is sonicated with an ultrasonic homogenizer such as the UP200Ht (200W, 26kHz). The UP200Ht is set to 100% amplitude and 50% cycle mode and the sample is sonicated for approx. 4 min. Afterwards, the leaf extract is filtered through a filter paper and the filtrate was allowed to dry on an evaporating dish placed on a water bath.
Ultrasonic extraction results in high quality extracts and convinces by high yields, fast processing time, safe and easy operation, low investment cost as well as environmental-friendliness.

UIP2000hdT - a 2000W high performance ultrasonicator for industrial extraction

UIP2000hdT with flow cell reactor for botanical extractions

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Ultrasonic Extraction Systems

Hielscher Ultrasonics is your long-experienced supplier of high-performance ultrasound extractors. Offering the full range from small hand-held ultrasonicators to fully industrial ultrasonic extractors for continuous inline processing, we will recommend you an ultrasonic system tailored to your process requirement.
All our ultrasonicators can be run in 24/7 operation. Our pilot and industrial systems (i.e. UIP500hdT (0.5kW), UIP1000hdT (1kW), UIP1500hdT (1.5kW), UIP2000hdT (2kW), UIP4000hdT (4kW), UIP10000 (10kW), UIP16000hdT (16kW)) are exceptionally robust and can deliver very high amplitudes. Depending on your raw material and extraction volume, you can decide between batch sonication and inline sonication using an ultrasonic flow-through reactor.
The portfolio of ultrasonicators and accessories (such as sonotrodes, Cascatrodes, booster horns, flow cells, reactors etc.) allow you to assembly a setup optimized for your process goals.
Contact us today! We are glad to discuss your extraction process with you!

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Literature / References

Facts Worth Knowing


Kratom is well known for its main psychoactive components mitragynine (MG) and 7‐hydroxymitragynine (7‐HMG), which are found in the leaves of Mitragyna speciosa.
Kratom is a Thai term and describes both, the tree as well as the preparation techniques to consume the leaves. Mitragyna speciosa Korth. is an evergreen tree in the coffee family (Rubiaceae family) native to Southeast Asia.

Opioid Antagonists

An agonist is a drug that activates certain receptors in the brain. Full agonist opioids activate the opioid receptors in the brain fully resulting in the full opioid effect. Examples of full agonists are heroin, oxycodone, methadone, hydrocodone, morphine, opium and others.
An antagonist is a drug that blocks opioids by attaching to the opioid receptors without activating them. Antagonists cause no opioid effect and block full agonist opioids. Examples are naltrexone and naloxone. Naloxone is sometimes used to reverse a heroin overdose.

Terpenes vs Terpinoids

Terpenes are pure hydrocarbons based on combinations of the isoprene unit, whilst terpenoids are modified by oxidation. This means, terpenoids are compounds related to terpenes, distinguished by an oxygen functionality or molecular rearrangements. Although terpenes and terpenoids are different types of compounds, the both terms are often colloquially used as interchangeable.