When Nick Moodley got into a motorcycle accident a few years ago, he opted to take a homeopathic approach to recovery. Wary of the addiction risk that opiate painkillers pose, Moodley tried kratom.
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“Some of my friends introduced me to it,” Moodley said. “Because we had heard about it and just got curious and wanted to try. (After my accident) I didn’t want to risk any type of potential addiction or dependency. As soon as I could transition off what they prescribed me I did so to minimize any potential risk.”
Moodley’s approach worked wonders — despite losing all of the cartilage in his knee and developing arthritis from the accident, he’s been able to resume hobbies like hiking — and wanted to help others utilize the same treatment approach if they so choose.
In 2020, he founded the Alternative Apothecary/Kratom Café just outside of Olde Town Arvada, located at 7701 Ralston Road Unit A, Arvada, CO 80002. The shop is divided into two sides; the Alternative Apothecary features herbal remedies like cava, chamomile, ashwagandha and artisan soap, while the Kratom Café specializes in its namesake.
Jessi Issa, the shop’s sales and marketing manager, said the shop seeks to educate people on the benefit of herbal remedies and dispel misconceptions about their products, including kratom.
“A lot of people think (kratom’s) a drug — it’s a derivative of the coffee plant,” Issa said. “It gives you energy, people use it for pain relief. Some people use it as an anti-depressant.”
“Kratom seems to be the most stigmatized,” Moodley said. “Most people think that it’s just for ex-addicts or people who are addicted to opiates. I don’t think that quite sums it up. I would say a lot of older people use kratom as a holistic alternative because they have the same mindset where they don’t want to risk any type of dependency from certain medications.”
Moodley and Issa said they always recommend that customers consult with their doctor before starting any herb regimen. None of the products sold at the shop have hallucinogenic properties, but kratom has not been through FDA trials yet, leading to some questions about its validity as a treatment method.
Recently, Colorado’s state legislature passed a law regulating the sale and distribution of kratom. The supplement is legal, though both Issa and Moodley say misconceptions persist, such as comparisons to marijuana or CBD, which is it not related to.
Issa said the FDA has recently begun seizing kratom shipments at the U.S. border, despite there not being a law against having it. She and Moodley are sending out a petition to get the Kratom Association a meeting with the FDA.
Despite the misconceptions, Issa said the shop’s main objective is to serve the community.
“Our purpose and mission is to help the community,” Issa said. “We strive to be educational. All our herbs are local besides mushrooms.”
Moodley said he wants to open up treatment options for others.
“It’s helped a lot of people,” Moodley said of kratom. “It’s important for people who haven’t heard of kratom to open their mind to something else and find things that may or may not work for them.”
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