Galangal (Galanthus angustifolius) is a tropical evergreen shrub native to Indonesia and Malaysia. It grows up to 2 m tall with leaves that are dark green, oval in shape, 5–10 cm long and 1–2 mm thick. They have five leaflets on each side. The flowers are white or pinkish red and bloom from May to September.
The leaves are used for making paper, food, medicine and other products. The bark is used in the manufacture of soap, ink and dyes. It is also a source of vitamin C.
Galangal is one of the most popular plants in Asia due to its medicinal properties. Its name comes from the Malay word “galangan” which means “to heal”.
It is found in all climates and soils. It prefers moist soil, but tolerates dry conditions. It grows best in full sun and partial shade.
The foliage is edible when young, but it loses some of its nutritional value over time. The roots are not edible either, although they contain vitamins A and C that may help prevent heart disease or cancer.
Galangal is an important herb in traditional medicine, as it has many useful healing properties. It improves blood circulation, eliminates body odor, relieves stomach pain, kills bacteria and other microorganisms that cause infections and even protects the liver from disease.
Galangal can be used in cooking to add flavor to food. It can be added when making wine, tea or vinegar. It is also mixed with savory dishes, fruit salads and desserts.
In Thailand, galangal is used to make chili paste, which is believed to increase the heat of food. In Vietnam, it is usually added to coffee.
Galangal grows well in warm, tropical or subtropical climates with a lot of sunlight and humidity. It can survive in less hospitable areas, but only if it is given enough water.
It has few diseases or predators, so it doesn’t need much maintenance. It should be watered regularly when young to help it grow faster. The soil should be rich in humus and fertilizer to ensure proper growth.
The plant’s leaves, roots and fruits can be used for culinary or medicinal purposes. It is a good source of antioxidants, which help prevent cell damage.
Many people also use galangal as an aromatic plant to alleviate stomach pain caused by gas or bloating. It can also help treat respiratory problems like asthma or coughs.
Galangal is sometimes called a “poor man’s rhubarb” because it has similar medicinal benefits.
It is important to plant galangal in the spring or fall, as it needs cooler weather to grow well. The flowers bloom from June to September.
Galangal can be propagated from root divisions, seeds or stem cuttings. It can be grown indoors, but only in containers that can be moved to a shaded area when the weather gets too hot. The soil should be loose, rich in humus and well-draining.
Galangal also grows well in limestone or chalk soil. It cannot withstand cold temperatures, so it should be planted in a place that is sheltered from extreme heat and low temperatures.
Galangal grows up to 2 m tall. It has a thick rhizome that can be pink, red or light purple in color. The stem is erect and hollow.
It blooms in summer and produces yellow flowers with six petals.
It grows best in temperate to subtropical climates and can even grow in dry areas, as long as it is watered regularly.
The plant’s root has a pungent odor that is reminiscent of the taste of galanga, hence its name. It is highly sought after for its culinary uses. It can also be made into a medicinal tea or tincture.
In traditional medicine, galangal has been used to treat ailments such as stomach pain, liver problems and skin fungi.
Galangal can be dried and ground into a powdery substance that can be easily stored for long periods of time. The dried rhizome is usually orange in color, but the color may range from yellow to light brown. It has a woody texture and a faint sweet taste.
It can be used in cooking for its distinctive flavor or to fight nausea, bloating and flatulence. It is also effective against colds, headaches, flu and fevers. In some places, it is used to prevent malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases.
When ingested in large amounts, galangal can cause stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea. It should be used with caution.
Sources & references used in this article:
Chemical composition of essential oils obtained from plant parts of Alpinia calcarata Rosc. (lesser galangal) germplasm from south India by AP Raina, Z Abraham – Journal of Essential Oil Research, 2015 – Taylor & Francis
Intercropping the Sharp-Leaf Galangal with the Rubber Tree Exhibits Weak Belowground Competition by J Wu, H Zeng, C Chen, W Liu, X Jiang – Forests, 2019 – mdpi.com
Value Added and Strategy Development of Galangal Coffe Agroindustry by IF Pramasari, Y Hariyati – International Journal of Education And Research, 2018 – ijern.com
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Natural antioxidant extract from galangal (Alpinia galanga) for minced beef by PB Cheah, NH Abu Hasim – Journal of the Science of Food and …, 2000 – Wiley Online Library
Cytotoxic activity of Thai medicinal plants against human cholangiocarcinoma, laryngeal and hepatocarcinoma cells in vitro by W Mahavorasirikul, V Viyanant… – … and alternative medicine, 2010 – Springer
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Possible effect of lesser galangal (Alpinia officinarum) extracts encapsulated into mesoporous silica nanoparticles on the immune status of rainbow trout … by E Awad, A El‐Fiqi, D Austin, A Lyndon – Aquaculture Research, 2020 – Wiley Online Library
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