Scientific Name/Common Name: Alpinia officinarum / Galangal
Part(s) Used: Root
Constituents/Active Ingredients: 0.5-1.0% volatile oil containing sesquiterpenes and alcohols together with a small amount of eugenol; pungent substances formerly called galangol containing diarylheptanoids; gingerol; flavonoids including quercetin and kaempferol; sterols and sterol glycosides.
Overview: Galangal is a member of the ginger family (Zingiberaceae) and sometimes referred to as “Chinese ginger”. It is native to Southern China and Thailand but was introduced to Europe in the 9th century. Traditionally, galangal rhizome is used for treating flatulent colic and indigestion. The German Commission E approves galangal for treating dyspepsia and lack of appetite. Researchers have found that galangal contains high concentrations of a powerful antioxidant flavonol called galangin. Gingerols of galangal also inhibit prostaglandin and leukotriene biosynthesis and may be beneficial for preventing inflammation. St. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), who was one of the foremost herbal authorities of her day, regarded galangal so highly as a medicine that she wrote that it had been given to humanity by God to provide protection against illness.
Traditional Use/Benefits/Body Systems: Digestive system; for indigestion, gas, cramping; to stimulate appetite.
Clinical Studies/Scientific Research/References:
Inhibition of prostaglandin and leukotriene biosynthesis by gingerols and diarylheptanoids. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 1992 Feb; 40(2): 387-91.
Wichtl M (ed). 1994. Galangae rhizoma – Galanga (English translation by Norman Grainger Bisset). In Herbal Drugs and Phyto-pharmaceuticals. CRC Press, Stuttgart, pp. 217-219.
Disclaimer: This information in our Herbal Encyclopedia is intended only as a general reference for educational purposes. It is not a replacement for medical advice. This content does not provide dosage information, cautions/contraindications, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Please consult any relevant product labels for detailed information on use and with a medical practitioner for individual health advice.