Galangal Herb – Uses And Side Effects


Galangal is a tropical herbaceous plant of the ginger family reaching to about 2m (6 1/2ft). The blade-like leaves are long and wide, 50 x 9cm (18 x 31/2in); the flowers are greenish white with a dark-red veined tip. The fruits are red berries. The rhizomes are orange to brown and ringed at intervals by the yellowish remnants of atrophied leaf bases.

Galangal is the dried root of Alpinia officinarum, a native plant of eastern and southeastern Asia. The herb is botanically and chemically related to ginger.

Common doses of Galangal

Galangal comes as a dried root. Some experts recommend the following dose:

  • 1 gram taken orally.

Uses of Galangal

The use of greater galangal is confined to local Indonesian dishes such as curries. Although known in Europe since the Middle Ages, galangal is now used only in Far Eastern cookery from Indonesia, IndoChina, Malaya, Singapore and Thailand. Like ginger, galangal is a ‘de-fisher’ and so appears frequently in fish and shellfish recipes often with garlic, ginger, chilli and lemon or tamarind. Laos powder is more important than kencur and, as well as with fish, is used in a wide variety of dishes such as sauces, soups, satays and sambals, chicken, meat and vegetable curries.

Attributed Medicinal Properties

Resembling ginger in its effects, galangal is an aromatic stimulant, carminative and stomachic. It is used against nausea, flatulence, dyspepsia, rheumatism, catarrh and enteritis. It also possesses tonic and antibacterial qualities and is used for these properties in veterinary and homeopathic medicine. Specifically, galangal may help to :-

  • Fungal infections
  • Rheumatism (painful joints and muscles)

Side effects of Galangal

Call your health care practitioner if you experience diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting when using galangal.


Combining herbs with certain drugs may alter their action or produce unwanted side effects. Tell your health care practitioner about any prescription or nonprescription drugs you’re taking.

Important points to remember

  • Don’t take galangal if you are pregnant, suspect you’re pregnant, or are planning to become pregnant.
  • Avoid this herb if you have a chronic digestive tract disease.
  • Consult your health care practitioner before taking this herb.

What the research shows

Galangal hasn’t been thoroughly tested as a treatment for rheumatic disorders or fungal infections. Until more research is done on its benefits and potential risks, medical experts won’t recommend it.

Other names for Galangal : –

Other names for galangal include Alpinia officinarum, China root, Chinese ginger, colic root, East Indian root, galanga, kaempferia galanga, and rhizoma galangae.

No known products containing galangal are available commercially.

Useful References

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