Galangal root is a native spice to Southern Asia. It is related to the ginger and turmeric root family and it has been used in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medication for centuries. Galangal is a common name for different tropical rhizomatous spices. Galangal and its variant Galanga are common aromatic rhizomes of the Zingiberaceae family, also known as ginger.
It was known by ancient Indians and the West since the Middle Ages. The stimulating and toning properties of Galangal were recognized by Arabs, who used it to please their horses. Tatars used it in their teas. In the East, it was used as a powder in form of snuff for perfumery and beer brewing.
Four plant species
Alipinia Galanga: Greater galangal, also known as, Lengkuas or Laos is native to Java. Indonesia and Malaysia use it widely as a seasoning and for food.
Alipinia Officinarum: Also Known as Lesser Galangal, is native to China and is mainly grown on the Southeast Coast. India also cultivates it and the rest of Southeast Asia. In Europe, it is hardly used, but it was once imported in large quantities for medicine and spice.
Boesenbergia Rotunda: Also Known as Chinese Ginger or Fingerroot
Kaempferia Galanga: Also Known as Kencur, Black Galangal or Sand Ginger
Plantation and Cultivation
Galangal is a tropical herbaceous plant of the ginger family. It reaches a height of about 6 ½ feet with blade-like leaves, that are long and wide. It can live in the highland areas and the lower mainland. People use it as medicine and a mixture of ripe fruit. The flowers of the plant are greenish-white with a dark-red veined tip, and it grows red berry fruit. The rhizomes of galangal are orange to brown and with yellowish remnants of atrophied leaf bases. As the name implies, lesser galangals are smaller than the greater ones. The plant of smaller galangals grows half the height of greater galangals such as 3 ¼ feet. The flowers grown on this plant are white with red streaks. The rhizomes are reddish-brown and they are more pungent than the greater galangals and similar ringed.
Uses of Galangal
Galangal has been used for culinary and medicinal uses in Indonesia. It is used in various Asian cuisines such as in Thai, Lao tom yum, tom khagai soups, Vietnamese Hue cuisine, and Soto in Indonesian cuisine.
The rhizome of the galangal resembles the ginger taste. One serving of galangal contains:
- 45 calories
- Dietary fiber 2g
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
Aromatic ginger contains around 7500 ppm of potassium. Potassium being an essential electrolyte makes ginger ideal for improving nerve function and muscle contraction. It also plays an important role in a regular heartbeat.
Calcium is incredibly essential for healthy bones and teeth. Both of these help our body protect vital organs and maintain the structure. A regular-sized herb roughly contains 137 ppm of calcium.
Of the vital minerals, magnesium is quite abundant in KaempferiaGalanga. It approximates to just about 570 ppm. Magnesium helps in the regulation of various biochemical body reactions such as nerve function, protein synthesis, glucose control in the blood, muscle function, and blood pressure maintenance.
Phosphorus is the second most abundantly available essential mineral in aromatic ginger, with the first being potassium. Rounding up to about 6400 ppm, this essential mineral is a requisite for forming a healthy skeleton in your body. It is also vital for protein growth, repair, and maintenance.
Around 55 ppm of iron is present, resulting in a healthy supply for the growth of red blood cells and bones.
Kaempferiagalanga has 9.23 ppm of manganese. This mineral is required in small amounts to aid metabolism and aids in activating enzymes, especially protein digestion, for smooth digestion of any food we intake. It also helps maintain a healthy level of cholesterol in your body.
Method of Plantation
- First, find a suitable place in your garden for this herb. If you live in sub-freezing areas, you may plant it indoors. Sunlight should be partial: you do not need to place it in direct sunlight. Soil should be moist and well-drained.
- You may buy seeds or a rhizome of this plant. Seeds can be planted regularly but beware; they are toxic if ingested. You can get the rhizome from any local farmers’ shop. Place the rhizome in a paper bag or crumpled newspaper in a warm and humid area. You will notice the sprouting in under a fortnight. Then, take out the sprout and plant it in the soil. Do not bury them deeply. At Least 25% of the rhizome should be outside of the ground for proper growth.
- Keep the soil moist and the plant well-watered. You will notice growth soon enough!
- Make sure to keep the pests away. Spray with pesticides as required.
- Replant the herb indoors during winter if you would like it to keep growing.
Tips for Taking Care of Plant
Maintain Optimum Temperature
This plant prefers humid and warm climates to grow in. Keep it at 70-85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and around 60–65-degree Fahrenheit during the night. In winters, this plant almost always goes dormant due to the low temperatures. The cryogenic temperatures kill this plant, but if you do live in an area with weather below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, worry not! Kaempferiagalanga can be easily dug up during the winters and kept indoors in a pot with humid soil.
Pay Special Consideration for The Amount of Water Intake
Keep the soil moist while they are growing and ensure they are continuously hydrated. It, however, should be moisture-retentive and well-drained. In Winters, if you do not plan on growing them indoors, keep them dry, or else the dormant rhizomes may rot away.
Type of Soil
This nutritional herb is not very choosy about the soil type. However, it grows quite well in moisture-retentive and well-drained neutral to slightly acidic soil. The soil can either be clay, sandy, or loamy. Add organic fertilizers if you feel the need for them.
Amount of Sunlight Required
Aromatic ginger should be grown in a semi-shaded non-windy area. Alternatively, it may be kept in filtered sunlight.
Use Suitable Pesticides
Various pests like snails and slugs have a particular interest in making this plant their meal. If required, spray the plant with anti-snail pellets. If planted outdoors, mollusks may also feast on the leaves, leaving gaping holes in the plant. As this may cause inhibition to the growth of KaempferiaGalanga, use suitable pesticides.
- Rich in antioxidants:Galangal root is a rich source of antioxidants, which are beneficial plant compounds that help fight disease and protect cells from harmful free radicals. It is rich in polyphenols, which is a group of antioxidants, for health benefits. It improves memory and lowers blood sugar and cholesterol levels (LDL). Polyphenols in Galangal protect against mental decline, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
- Protection against certain cancers: The active compound in Galangal, known as Galangin, kills cancer cells or prevents the spreading of cancer cells. It can help to kill the two strains of human colon cancer cells, such as breast, bile duct, skin, and liver cancer cells.
- Male fertility: Galangal improves male fertility. It increases sperm count and motility. In daily usage of Galangal, one can increase the sperm quality by up to 62%.
- Cure for Infections: Galangal reduces disease-causing inflammation because it contains HMP. It is a naturally occurring phytochemical that boasts potent anti-inflammatory properties. The knee pain can be reduced using ginger and Galangal up to 63% instead of taking medicines or a placebo. Galangal can also kill harmful bacteria such as E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Salmonella Typhi. It protects against fungi, yeasts, and parasites.
- Increases Immune System: Vitamin C present in Galangal and other antioxidants helps to boost your immune system.
- Increases Respiratory System: Galangal has been used for the treatment of cough, cold, and sore throat in Asia. It helps in expanding the lungs and loosening up phlegm using the expectorant property. The antispasmodic effect in Galangal reduces the sputum and dilates the bronchioles. It also helps to soothe and control asthma and acute respiratory distress syndrome.
- Helps with Nausea: You can simply treat your nausea and morning sickness using Galangal. The active ingredient known as gingerol helps to relax the muscles for nausea and vomiting.
- Treating skin diseases:Ginger juice can be used to treat various skin diseases. Some examples of diseases that can be cured are scabies, sores, and ulcers.
- Keeping the skin to look younger: Galangal can inhibit the aging process in the skin, Ladies. The component in ginger that serves to inhibit the aging process is an antioxidant. Based on research, galangal has 40 types of antioxidants as well. All these antioxidants help slow aging by protecting the skin from free radicals.
- Removing toxins from the body and improve blood circulation: When the toxins out of the body and blood circulation going well, the skin will get more nutrients than usual, Ladies. This makes the skin becomes healthier.
- Treating burns: Fresh ginger juice if applied on the skin that burns will relieve the pain and heal the burn. You can also rub the fresh ginger directly to your skin 2-3 times a day to reduce the burn scars. If used every day, the effect will be felt within the next 6-12 weeks.
This article about Galangal, one of the family members of the Ginger species, is easy to plant and has countless benefits. If you want to adopt an organic and healthy lifestyle, then you can build the habit to consume galangal on daily basis according to your requirements.