Alpinia galanga


Greater Galangal, Blue Ginger, Thai Ginger

From Indonesia and China.

These are rhizomatous plants with pale green, orchid-like flowers. The fruit is a red capsule. It is a tropical perennial with shrub with reed-like stems reaching to 2m and lanceolate leaves up to 45cm long. It has reddish brown, woody, ginger-like rhizomes. Red fruit pods follow white flowers. The species Alpinia officinarum is smaller and is known as lesser galangal. 



Parts used: Root.

Uses: In cookery the rhizomes are used chopped fresh in curries and spicy dishes. Although the plant is in the ginger family and the rhizome is of similar appearance it has a slightly different flavour to ginger. It can also be prepared as a tea and the active ingredients may be extracted using alcohol. 

In herbal medicine the root sometimes chewed to relieve sore throats. It is also said to combat symptoms of colds. The root is also believed to have antispasmodic and antimicrobial properties and is used for dyspepsia appetite loss. It can also aid with flatulence, vomiting and sickness. The flavanol, galangin, is implicated in antioxidant activities and free radical scavenging. 
Properties: Antioxidant, antispasmodic, antimicrobial. 


It grows well in rainforest gardens, and prefers a warmer climate such as tropical to subtropical regions. In colder areas it must be grown in a greenhouse.  




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Chemistry: The rhizome contains galangol, kaempferid, galangin, alpinin, and starch. In addition, the active ingredients are a volatile oil and the bitter tasting resin. Galangin is a dioxyflavanol. 

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