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Galanga: benefits and uses

Galanga: benefits and uses


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Belonging to the same family as ginger, the galangal is a timed plant known for its potential medicinal and culinary uses. Equipped with important beneficial properties, it is certainly worth trying to understand what it is, what its traditional uses are, its health benefits and how to take it!

What is galangal

There galangal it has long been used as a culinary spice and healing plant. Native to Southeast Asia, where it has been an important part of many Asian cultures, it has a flavor and aroma similar to that of the root of ginger. The spicy, peppery and aromatic qualities of galangal make it an ideal ingredient in various traditional dishes, such as soups and rice.

Moreover, it should be borne in mind - from this opening phase of our study - that there are two types of galangal commonly used in cooking and as a healing plant: greater galangal (alpinia galanga) and the galangal minor (alpinia officinarum). In particular, the latter played a central role in diets, with its reddish appearance and roots that resemble long and thin fingers.

The root of galanga

Together with ginger,medicinal use of galangal it spread to Europe through trade routes with Asia. In modern times, however, ginger has taken over and galangal has become relatively unknown to Western markets.

But that wasn't always the case. There have indeed been long periods of time in which galangal played an important role in Europe and, in particular, during the Middle Ages. Consider that the practice of monastic medicine used galangal to cure a variety of ailments, and that for some this root had miraculous powers.

The use of galangal in Western healing traditions then continued from monastic medicine to traditional German medicine, and then spread to other peers of the old continent.

Properties and benefits of galangal

The healing effects of galangal are particularly extensive. Notable examples are attributed to it antimicrobial and antioxidant propertiesHowever, given that galangal and ginger are closely related, it's no surprise that the health benefits of the former are very similar to the health benefits of the latter.

More specifically, the active organic compounds found in the galangal plant include flavonoids, tannins and essential oils, which work separately and combined to generate a wide variety of positive effects within the human body.

For example, i flavonoids and i tannins - typically, what makes foods bitter - along with essential oils are the reason why galangal is believed to be such a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory plant. The following characteristics have been attributed to the galangal:

  • antioxidants,
  • anti-inflammatory,
  • antibacterial,
  • anti-viral
  • antifungals,
  • antihypertensive, being able to lower blood pressure,
  • anticancer,
  • of pain relief,
  • development of fertility, because the number of spermatozoa increases.

Given the above, it is not surprising that the galangal has ended up being included in a long series of treatments for the following conditions:

  • arthritis, rheumatism, joint and muscle pain and sprains,
  • nausea,
  • digestive distress, such as gas, diarrhea, and upset stomach
  • respiratory diseases including asthma, bronchitis, cough and sore throat,
  • high blood sugar,
  • topical treatment as an antifungal,
  • treatment of chronic bad breath,
  • treatment to increase sperm count and libido,
  • antioxidant and relief from the common cold,
  • reduction of excess cholesterol,
  • exhaustion, fatigue and weakness,
  • stimulation of appetite,
  • heart health, with lowering of blood pressure and improved circulation.

Even the essential oils of galangal they are rich in healing potential. Research on galangal essential oil and galangal extracts have in fact highlighted a wide range of significant pharmacological and biological activities.

Of course, not all of these beneficial properties have been sufficiently analyzed by traditional medicine and, therefore, before placing too much confidence in this plant, we recommend that you talk to your doctor. we also share that galangal is not recommended for pregnant women.

How to use galangal

Even if the galangal It can also be used through topical applications, most of the health benefits are obtained by eating the raw, dried or powdered root. Fresh galangal roots can be stored for a few weeks in the refrigerator.

Galangal powder is obtained from the dried roots, which are ground. Galangal powder can be used as freshly ground for sauces, curries, soups. Or you can add small quantities of galangal powder during cooking.