Galangal Root

 Alpinia officinarum

Other Names - as- Alpinia officinarum, galanga, lesser galangal, Chinese or Thai ginger.

Description - Galangal is an East Asian tropical shrub with lance-like leaves, iris-like flowers, and reddish brown, woody rhizomes. The name galangal is derived from the Arabic khalanjan, referring to Chinese ginger. Galangal is an important herb in Saudi herbal medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine uses galangal in formulas for the "spleen" to treat digestive problems and health conditions relating to a lack of the earth element, or difficulties in leading a "grounded" life. Various formulas feature galangal for treating "rebellious qi," in which energies that should go down in the body try to come up, as hiccups, belches, burps, and regurgitation.

Parts Used - The rhizome, washed, dried and cut.

Pharmacology - Primarily 1,8-cineol, eugenol, tannins. Also contains careneole, pinene, cadimene, galangin, kaempferide, kaempferol, quercetin, isorhamnetin, and galangol.

Medicinal uses - Galangal root is a bitter used to stimulate the release of gastric juices to assist digestion. It relieves bloating, constipation, sluggish digestion, and gas. Although galangal root helps the intestine process fats, one of the chemicals in the herb, 5-hydroxy-7-(4'-hydroxy-3'-methoxyphenyl)-1-phenyl-3-heptanone (HPH), has been shown to lower bloodstream cholesterol in laboratory investigation.

Typical Preparations - Teas and extracts. Added to aloe to reduce aloeÍs harsh laxative effect. The chopped root can be added to culinary dishes and the powdered herb is more convenient for making tinctures, but should be used within 1 year of purchase. May also be taken as a tea, extract or capsule.

Contr-indications - Galangal root inhibits the release and action of pancreatic lipase, so donÍt take both galangal and digestive enzymes.

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