Alpinia galanga  
 

 

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Chinese name :     大高良薑
Vietnamese name :     Riềng, Riềng nếp, Sơn nại, Cao lương khương, Cao khương hương
Thai Name :    ดอกข่า, ข่า, ข่าลิง    
English Name :    Siamese ginger, Galangale 
French name :    Souchet long, Souchet odorant, Galanga 
Botanical Name :    Alpinia galanga (Alpinia galanga [L.] Willd.)
Family Name :     Zingiberaceae
Description :    The plant grows from rhizomes in clumps of stiff stalks up to two meters in height with abundant long leaves which bears red fruit. It is native to South Asia and Indonesia. It is cultivated in Malaysia, Laos, and Thailand. A. galanga is the galangal used most often in cookery. The robust rhizome has a sharp, sweet taste and smells like a blend of black pepper and pine needles. The red fruit is used in traditional Chinese medicine and has a flavor similar to cardamom. 

Distribution:    South East Asia, probably southern China; it is now cultivated in Indochina, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. 

Alpinia galanga botanical plate

Parts used:    The ginger-like rootstock (rhizome). It is built up from cylindrical subunits (circular cross-section), whose pale-reddish surface is characteristically cross-striped by reddish-brown, small rings. The interior has about the same colour as the skin and is hard and woody in texture. Although galanga leaves are aromatic, they are not often used for flavouring purposes. The same holds for the seeds, which could be used in place of cardamom.
Chemical composition:    The rhizome contains up to 1.5% essential oil (1,8 cineol, α-pinene, eugenol, camphor, methyl cinnamate and sesquiterpenes). In dried galanga, the essential oil has quantitatively different composition than in fresh one. Whereas α-pinene, 1,8-cineol, α-bergamotene, trans-β-farnesene and β-bisabolene seem to contribute to the taste of fresh galanga equally, the dried rhizome shows lesser variety in aroma components (cineol and farnesene, mostly). (Phytochemistry, 24, 93, 1985) The resin causing the pungent taste (formerly called galangol or alpinol) consists of several diarylheptanoids and phenylalkanones (the latter are also found in ginger and grains of paradise). Furthermore, the rhizome is high in starch. 

 

   

Antianaphylactic effects; alpinia oxyphylla water extract suppressed immunoglobulin E-mediated anaphylactic reaction in rats.
Antibacterial effects: In laboratory studies, Alpinia galanga and Alpinia speciosa demonstrated antibacterial effects.
Antiemetic effects; bioasay-guided fractionation of the antiemetic constituents of Alpinia officinarum was performed, and eight compounds, including a new compound, were isolated. Among the seven known compounds, five of those compounds showed antiemetic activity in a copper sulfate induced emesis assay in young chicks.
Antifungal effects: The chloroform extracts of Alpinia galanga had pronounced antifungal activity against Cryptococcus neoformans and Microsporum gypseum, but exhibited weak activity against Candida albicans.
Anti-inflammatory effects; the gingerols and diaryheptanoids constituents of alpinia are potent inhibitors of PG synthetase (prostaglandin biosynthesizing enzyme). Diarylheptanoids contained in Alpinia oxyphylla down-regulate cyclooxygenase-2 and iNOS expression through suppression of NF-kappaB activation in the TPA-treated mouse skin.

Antinociceptive effects; alpinia calcarata and Alpinia zerumbet have demonstrated marked dose-dependent antinociceptive activity. This effect was mediated by opioid mechanisms.
Antiplatelet effects; alpinia mutica Roxb. demonstrated strong inhibitory effects against platelet-activating factor.
Anti-tumor effects; a variety of Alpinia species have demonstrated anti-tumor properties that can contribute to chemopreventive
Cardiovascular effects; chronic oral administration of Alpinia zerumbet induced a significant reduction in systolic, mean, and diastolic arterial pressure in rats with DOCA-salt hypertension. The vasodilator effect of Alpinia zerumbet may be dependent on the activation of the NO-cGMP pathway and independent of activation of ATP-dependent, voltage-dependent, and calcium-dependent K+ channels. Bradykinin receptors may also participate in the vasodilator effect of Alpinia zerumbet.

Therapeutic uses:    Antiemetic, Antiparasitic, Antiseptic, Aphrodisiac, Carminative, Diaphoretic, Digestive, Expectorant, Stimulant, Stomachic, Tonic. Galangal is used in Thai medicine in a very similar way to ginger. Ginger is considered to be a superior herb, but galangal is more common in Thailand. Its flavor is distinctive, and galangal is an indispensable ingredient in Thai soups and curries. It is the key ingredient in the Thai national dish, Tom-yam soup (see Chapter Il/for recipe). As a hot herb, the galangal rhizome has a stimulating effect on the digestion, and is therefore useful in cases of indigestion, flatulence, and stomachache. It is also recommended for diarrhea, nausea, and seasickness. Galangal is reputed to be an aphrodisiac, although this is probably due to its general stimulating effect on the Fire element.

All herbs

Adenosma indianum - Aegle marmelos Correa - Aganosma marginata - Adenosma indianum - Allium satium - Allium tuberosum - Aloe vera - Alpinia galanga - Alpinia officinarum - Alstonia scholaris - Amomum krervanh - Andrographis paniculata - Arachis hypogaea - Boesenbergia pandurata - Bridelia burmanica - Canaga odorata - Capsicum annuum - Capsicum frutescens - Carica papaya - Carthamus tinctorius  - Cassia angustifolia - Cassia tora - Centella asiatica - Cinnamomum cassia - Clitoria ternatea - Coriandrum sativum - Curcuma Longa - Cymbopogon citratus - Eclipta prostrata - Elettaria cardamomum - Equisetum arvense  - Ganoderma lucidum - Ginkgo biloba - Glycine max - Hibiscus rosa-sinensis - Illicium verum - Jasmine - Lycium barbarum - Medicago sativa - Momordica charantia - Morinda officinalis - Moringa oliefera - Myristica fragrans - Nelumbo nucifera - Ocymum basilicum - Panax ginseng - Perilla frutescens - Phaseolus vulgaris - Phyllanthus emblica - Piper nigrum - Plumeriaalba - Plantago ovata - Ricinus - Sesamum indicum - Styrax tonkinense - Sassafras - Terminalia chebula  - Tribulus terrestris  - Zingiber officinale

Resources
:
- Lavit KHAM  B.Sc (Chemistry),B.Pharm, MPS,MAACP, MNHAA
Medicinal Plants of Cambodia Habitat, Chemical constituents and Ethno botanical Uses
Bendigo Scientific Press   ISBN 0-646-43703-8  / 9780646437033
- Somanith BOUAMANIVONG & Onvilay SOURIYA Ministry of Health, Traditional Medicine Research Center, Editor Prof. Dr. Bouhong SOUTHAVONG, Vientiane 2005.
- Lily, M. PERRY. Medicinal Plants of East and Southeast Asia, London, England 1978
- WHO Regional Publications, Western Pacific Series No 2
- Jules VIDAL, Noms vernaculaires de plantes (LAO, MEO, KHA) 1959
- Medicinal Plants in China 1989
- C. Pierce SALGUERO A Thai Herbal, Traditional Recipes for Health and Harmony, 2005
Silkworm Books www.silkwormbooks.info   ISBN 974-9575-74-1 

Acknowledgements:
- Dr. Sabine WILKINS Plant Physiology & Dr. Pauline Mc CABE Naturopathy, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria Australia.
-
Prof. Roger KING, Pharmacology Toxicology, Monash University, Australia.
-
Chea SOK MENG, Cambodian pharmacist
-
Prof, Ka SUNBAUNAT Cambodian psychiatrist, Vice Dean, Faculty of Medicine, Phnom Penh.

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