We use and speak of many herbs on a regular basis, but not many of us have come across or even heard about the herb known as Galangal. Galangal is a bitter herb that comes from the ginger family and belongs to genus Alpinia. It is native to Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia, and people there use it as a spice to flavor products and medicine. Many people describe galangal’s taste as citrus and earthy at the same time, with a kick of spice that hits you instantly and then goes away.
At present day, many countries around Europe import it for its medicinal and flavor properties. There are four main types of Galangal, namely Sand ginger, Chinese ginger, greater galangal and lesser galangal.
Also referred to as Siamese ginger and Thai ginger, Galangal is a unique ingredient. You can find it in Chinese, Malaysian, Thai and Indonesian cuisine. It features a paler and smoother skin than ginger and flesh that is hard. Furthermore, you have to slice it rather than grating it, like ginger. Besides its wide use in cooking, Galangal oil holds great medicinal importance. It is commonly prescribed by herbalists and homeopaths since it brings many health benefits.
Nutrition Facts of Galangal
One serving (64 grams) of galangal contains 2 grams of dietary fiber and 45 calories. It is also a good source of sodium, flavonoids, vitamins A and C, iron, and some phytochemicals like Beta-Sitosterol, quercetin, Emodin, and Galangin. 100 grams of galangal contains:
- 149 calories
- 15 grams of carbohydrates
- 2 grams of fiber
- 1 gram of protein
- 1 gram of total fat
- 4 grams of vitamin C
11 Amazing Benefits of Galangal that you should know
1. Galangal Has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory Properties
Research suggests that galangal contains anti-inflammatory properties that make it a great remedy for arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. In addition to that, it also helps alleviate the discomfort caused by ulcers and inflammation of the abdomen.
2. Increases Sperm Count
Galangal root is known to stimulate male fertility. A study published in 2014 in the Iranian Journal of Reproductive Medicine concluded that galangal root increases motility and sperm count, and may also improve the sperm’s general health. A similar study published in PLOS in 2014 suggested that the number of motile sperm multiplied the degree of placebo by three times when 34 healthy males received pomegranate fruit extract and galangal rhizome.
3. Enhances Blood Circulation
Galangal is known to flush out toxins from the body also improve blood circulation. The result is that more nutrients enter the skin tissue. The antioxidant properties of the galangal stop the free radicals from harming the skin, thus maintaining the suppleness of the skin. Galangal can also be used on the scalp as a hair growth promoter since it increases blood circulation. For thinning hair, galangal juice combined with jojoba oil makes a great remedy.
4. Helps Digestion
the oldest and most common use of galangal is for treating an upset stomach, especially in Asian cultures and Ayurvedic medicine. It also works great in providing relief from vomiting, diarrhea, and also hiccups.
5. Improves Cognitive Function
A component present in galangal root, known as ACA, may be responsible for its cognitive-protecting effects, and some studies suggest that it can also help in reducing some kinds of age-related brain degeneration. In addition to that, a phytonutrient in galangal can also suppress TNF-alpha activity, which may help combat depression.
6. Heals Skin Burns
Galangal juice works like magic for skin burns. When applied topically on the affected area, it provides instant relief from the discomfort and also works to heal the burn. You can also rub fresh galangal slices on the burnt area 3 – 4 times every day till to reduce the scars. Although it may take a while (usually 6 – 12 weeks), you will see a difference.
7. Gets rid of Motion, Morning, and Sea Sickness
By chewing some fresh galangal flesh, you can reduce and even cure motion. The fragrant oil present in galangal can calm your nerves. Pregnant women who usually experience morning sickness should try this remedy. Drinking brewed galangal slices with honey and warm water can also relieve morning sickness.
8. Prevents Cancer and Tumor
This is perhaps the most impressive benefit of galangal. Since the spice is host to many antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substances, it can help lower DNA damage brought by toxic components and other free radicals that enter the body. A study carried out by UK researchers found that galangal has cancer-fighting properties according to experiments carried with people suffering from breast and lung. The most effective of those anti-cancer components is a flavonoid known as galanin, which modulates the enzyme activity and destroys genotoxicity.
9. Lowers Cholesterol and Blood Lipid
Researchers from China stated that galangal extract could fight fatty-acid synthase with the help of its flavonoids like kaempferol, quercetin, and galanin. Korean researchers also proved that galangal extract substantially reduced the cholesterol and Triglyceride.
10. Strengths the Immune System and acts as an Anti-HIV
Numerous studies suggest that polysaccharide extract from galangal possessed a stimulating effect on the reticuloendothelial system and increased the number of spleen cells and peritoneal exudates, which play a key role in the body’s immune system.
11.Galangal Root Alleviates Light Fever
Galangal combined with Nila-Embu is a great home remedy for body ache that many suffer from after experiencing cold or cold-related fever. All you need to is take 5 – 6 leaves of Nila-Embu, mix it with ½ “ piece of greater galangal and boil it in a cup of water till it reduces in half. Drink this solution 2 to 3 times in a day.
As you can see, Galangal offers a wide range of benefits for your overall health. Keep in mind that this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more benefits that you receive. Hence, you should try and incorporate this herb in your diet and lifestyle so that you can benefit from its amazing properties.