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Galangal is a herbaceous plant native to China and widespread throughout Southeast Asia. It includes two varieties: the minor or small galangal, called Alpinia officinarum and the large or greater galangal, called Alpinia Galanga. It can reach two meters in height and has lance-shaped leaves and flowers with white corolla marked by red bands. Its name derives from an Arabic term derived in turn from the mangling of a Chinese word which means sweet ginger. In fact, this plant has an aromatic and pungent flavor like that of ginger, although less strong. It is widely used in Thai and Indonesian cuisine, sometimes even in Western cuisine, where it is used to flavor risottos. But the galangal it is also used in herbal medicine and homeopathy to obtain useful remedies to relieve some discomfort. The part of the plant used for these purposes is the rhizome, that is the swelling of the root that allows the plant to generate new ones even in unfavorable climatic conditions. The rhizome of the galangal it should be harvested after the rainy season.


Galangal belongs to the Zingiberacae family, to which ginger also belongs. This is why some properties, between these two species, are similar, such as the aphrodisiac effects. But there are no studies that can support this thesis, other than the fact that galangal is used as a sexual invigorator by those who believe in the aphrodisiac effects of plants. But remaining on more practical "herbal" issues, it must be said that galangal is used as a digestive, spasmolytic, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. Also on this front there are no certain studies, apart from the fact that the active ingredients of galangal are administered in case of indigestion, nausea, vomiting or other gastrointestinal disorders. The plant substances that seem to have phytotherapeutic effects are prostaglandins and oil which contains, among other things, starches and oxalic acids. The presence of prostaglandins makes it possible to use galangal as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever in the case of rheumatic pain and arthritis. At least this is one of the many uses that Asians make of this plant, whose extracts are also administered in case of fever. In western herbal medicine, however, the phytotherapeutic properties of galangal relate to carminative (calming stomach pains), digestive and stimulating effects. Indeed, the uses of the extracts of this plant to promote slow digestion seem to be the most prevalent. The antibacterial and tonic properties of galangal are exploited in homeopathy.

How to use

Galangal, as a spice to use in cooking, is sold in the form of powdered rhizome, in bags of 100 grams, which are also easily found in herbal medicine. For phytotherapeutic use, the galangal rhizome must be dried. This part, after being reduced to a powder, can also be marketed in the form of dry extract together with mixtures of other plants, the dosage of which is usually indicated in the package, but must always be indicated by an expert doctor. Galangal, due to its anti-inflammatory properties, should not be taken concomitantly with NSAIDs, because it could enhance its effects. Galangal is a plant that is abundantly cultivated and produced in China. The data is very significant because the e-commerce sites of Chinese producers are depopulating offering the online sale of remedies based on galangal extracts. Some also sell galangal leaf tea announcing that this remedy can stimulate breastfeeding capacity in new mothers. Particularly curious, given that many herbal products are not recommended during pregnancy and breastfeeding. So, to be sure not to make a mistake, it is advisable to contact a doctor and then to your trusted pharmacy to find the remedy that suits your needs. Galangal rhizome herbal tea is prepared using 0.5 to one gram of infusion per cup. On the web it is said to take the remedy several times a day, in order to obtain benefits, but the invitation we make is always to listen to the opinion of the doctor and not that of the web commentators.

Galanga: Cost of products

Galangal-based products have fairly affordable prices, due to the fact that only the root or rhizome of this plant is used. If we consider that it is produced in Asian countries, where the cost of labor is lower, we understand why it is very easy to find cheap galangal remedies. But the question of cost, in the case of herbal medicine, should be the last thought. Galangal rhizome herbal tea costs around 5 euros, while 100-gram bags of powdered rhizome to use in the kitchen cost just under six euros. Price changes can be recorded based on the purchase channel and manufacturer name. However, galenical remedies based on galangal remain below medium-low price ranges.

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