Purple Lotus' Kratom-Laced Kava Drink: We Try It for Ourselves
All photos taken by Jess Swanson. The Komodo, the drink that sparked the South Florida kratom lawsuit. We had to try it for ourselves!
"I was hoping the press would come in," Purple Lotus Bar owner Jimmy Scianno says when I call him to ask about the komodo, a tea of ground kava and kratom leaves -- which is the most popular drink at his bar.
In October, Michael and Erica Siegel sued Scianno for negligence after they say they unwittingly drank kratom in the komodo. After falling into a downward spiral of addiction, the couple is now asking for $15,000 to pay for medical and rehab bills.
But kratom, an herbal leaf from Southeast Asia, is currently legal in Florida. So we tried the drink for ourselves.
"There is a drink with kava root mixed with kratom leaf," Scianno openly admits. "Nothing is added to it; it's completely natural and has been consumed by indigenous cultures for thousands of years."
Scianno invites me to his bar to try it for myself. In 2011, a Boynton Beach man was charged with a DWI for driving while on kava. I remember this and ask Scianno if I'll be OK to return to the office after ingesting the drink. He laughs and says to come in on an empty stomach if I really want to feel the true effects of the drink. I put the Cap'n Crunch back in the pantry and make the trek to Delray Beach.