Galangal Facts

Galangal Facts
Galangal is herbaceous plant that belongs to the ginger family. It originates from Java and China. There are four varieties of galangal: greater galangal, lesser galangal, sand ginger and Chinese ginger. They differ in the size, color and taste of the root. Greater galangal, also known as Thai galangal is most commonly used in human diet. Majority of globally consumed galangal originates from the Far East, South Pacific islands, California and Florida. Galangal grows on fertile, well-drained soil, in the partial shade. It does not tolerate frost and drought. Besides in human diet, galangal is often used in folk medicine.
Interesting Galangal Facts:
Galangal has erect stem that can reach 4 feet in height.
Galangal has fibrous, firm, knobby root that resembles the root of ginger. It has rough, sandy skin on the surface and ivory-yellowish flesh below.
Galangal develops long, narrow, blade-shaped green leaves.
Galangal blooms during the late summer and autumn. Flowers develop on top of the flowering stem. They are white colored and orchid-shaped. Flowers emit sweet aroma which attracts insects.
Fruit of galangal is fleshy red capsule filled with seed.
Edible part of galangal is rhizome. It is used for the preparation of broths, soups, seafood salads and dishes made of meat. Rhizome can be used fresh (finely chopped) or dried (in the form of powder). Galangal is an integral part of Thai, Indonesian, Malaysian and Indian cuisine.
Galangal has sweet, earthy, spicy, mustard-like aroma. It smells like a blend of pine needles and black pepper. Galangal is often combined with lemongrass.
Even though galangal and ginger share similarities in the shape, color and size, they have completely different taste. That's why galangal and ginger cannot replace each other in the recipes.
Galangal is used for the preparation of liqueur called "nastoika" and as a flavoring agent of vinegar in Russia.
Galangal can be used in treatment of nausea, constipation, flatulence, cramps and for detoxification of the body. Galangal oil can be used in treatment of bruises and swelling of the skin, while snuff (powder made of root) can be effective in treatment of respiratory disorders.
Compounds isolated from galangal have anti-bacterial (kill bacteria) and mild anti-malarial properties (based on the studies in mice, galangal can be used in treatment of malaria).
Tonic made of galangal, tamarind water and salt can be used for the purification of blood and for the normalization of the function of bowel in women after childbirth.
Dried galangal root was used for the protection against evil spirits during the Medieval period in Europe.
Oil extracted from the galangal is popular and often used for the manufacture of perfumes and deodorants in India.
Galangal is perennial plant (it can survive more than 2 years in the wild).

Related Links:
Plants Facts
Animals Facts