Galangal herb plant belongs to the same ginger family of plants. This herb is used to make herbal medicines and is best known for its warming and comforting effects on digestion, similar to ginger root. These medicinal properties make it ideal for treating conditions related to the central region of the body that require greater warmth. Galangal has a nice aromatic smell and mild spicy taste which makes it a very soothing herb. This herb is native to China. It was introduced in Europe during the 9th century.
Galangal is a tropical herb that reaches a height of 2 meter. It has blade-like leaves that are long and wide. It has greenish-white flowers which have a dark red, veined tip. It bears fruits that look like red berries. The rhizome, the part used of this plant is orange to brown and ringed at intervals, by the yellowish remnants of atrophied leaf bases.
Its aroma acts as a stimulant. It is carminative, which means it helps in relieving from gas. It is used to treat many stomach-related problems. This herbal medicine is used against nausea, dyspepsia, flatulence, catarrh, rheumatism, and enteritis. It also has tonic and antibacterial properties. Due to these two properties it is used in veterinary and homeopathic medicine. Its root can be used for treating fungal infections and in pain relief of joints and muscles.
The uses of galangal is mostly confined to Indonesian dishes like curry recipes. However, in Europe it has been known since Middle Ages. Now, it is used only in Far Eastern cookery from Indo-China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore. Similar to ginger, galangal is used as a de-fisher, and so it can be seen used for making many fish and seafood recipes. It is used to flavor these dishes along with garlic, chili, ginger, and lemon. It is used in many herbal remedies. It is recommended as a remedy for sea sickness. It helps in toning up the tissues and is also prescribed for fever. Many homeopaths use it as a stimulant. It is also used to make cattle medicine. The powder of galangal is also used as a snuff for catarrh.
Though, side effects are rare, some people might experience them. Contact your health care provider if you are experiencing any side effects while using it. Also, if you are on some pre-existing medication and want to use galangal, then seek your doctor's advice before you start using this medicine.
Where to Buy It?
You can buy the fresh galangal at a supermarket near you. If you can't find the fresh herb there, then you can try it at your local farmer's market. To buy its root, you can visit a herbal medicine store in your city. To use it for aromatherapy, you can buy a bottle of galangal oil. You can also shop for it online.
How to Use It?
To flavor the dishes, use a little pinch of the galangal powder or add half teaspoon of freshly-grated herb. To use it as a herbal medicine, a herbal infusion is prepared. You can do this by using half a teaspoonful of the powder and infuse it for 10 - 15 minutes in 250 ml of boiling water. One dose of this herbal infusion can be taken three times a day.
You can use fresh galangal to flavor fish and shellfish recipes, or use the powder of the root to treat stomach-related problems.
Disclaimer: This HolisticZine article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.