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Herbal supplement gains popularity despite FDA concerns

FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2017 photo, kratom capsules are displayed in Albany, N.Y. (Mary Esch / AP)
FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2017 photo, kratom capsules are displayed in Albany, N.Y. (Mary Esch / AP)

BISMARCK, N.D. – An herbal supplement known as kratom is becoming popular in some North Dakota communities despite concerns from the Federal Drug Administration.

The Bismarck Tribune reports that kratom has been marketed to help relieve pain, depression and anxiety. Proponents say it can also be used to treat opioid withdrawal, but the FDA says there’s no evidence to support that claim.

The FDA has linked the supplement to 44 deaths since 2011. Kratom side effects include seizures and depression.

The American Kratom Association has disputed the FDA’s findings, saying kratom is an herbal substance similar to tea and coffee and isn’t a drug. The association estimates that 3 million to 5 million people in the U.S. use kratom.