tongue pills vitamins supplements mouthFlickr/B Rosen
  • Kratom is an opioid derived from a plant native to Southeast Asia. It can be consumed in the form of pills, powder, or tea.
  • The drug, often called an herbal supplement, has been linked to a salmonella outbreak that has sickened 199 people.
  • On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control issued its fifth warning in the last two months about kratom and salmonella.

A supplement with a viral following has been linked to 199 cases of salmonella across 41 states, according to new numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Kratom is derived from a plant native to Southeast Asia and often sold as pills, powder, or tea. It has gained popularity among people who say the supplement helped them step down from powerful painkillers like Vicodin. Kratom taps into some of the same brain receptors as opioids do, which spurred the Food and Drug Administration to classify it as an opioid in February.

On Thursday, the CDC reported 67 additional cases of salmonella linked to kratom, up from the 132 cases reported in April. It was the agency’s fifth and final warning about salmonella-tainted kratom in the past two months. The CDC warned people to avoid the pills and powders altogether, since salmonella bacteria can cause diarrhea and abdominal pain lasting up to a week.

Advocates of kratom say it helps curb the symptoms of opioid withdrawal, a conclusion that some scientists say makes sense. But because kratom is classified as a supplement and has…