Did you know that the sweet and spicy ginger had a sharper, spicier and more peppery cousin in South Asia? Or have you ever got confused thinking that what brings that extra zing and zest to those delicious Thai curries that we just cannot stop devouring? Then worry no more my friend because you just have come to the right stop.
The answer to all the above questions is Galangal root. Sounds amazing right? But wait, there is much more to know about this gem of a spice.
What is Galangal?
Galangal is a South Asian native spice. Closely related to the family of ginger and turmeric, it is also known as the Siamese Ginger. Belonging to the family of Zingiberaceae and the genus Alpinia, Galangal is a herb which has great culinary usage in south-east Asia. Its use has also been found in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicines as Galangal is rich in iron, flavonoids, sodium, vitamin A and vitamin C.
There are generally four varieties of Galangal found but the most famous being the Greater Galangal and the Lesser Galangal. Greater Galangal occurs in Indonesia mostly and Lesser Galangal are more native to southeast China.
Galangal Root benefits
The word Galangal is generally referred to the roots of several plants belonging to the Zingiberaceae family. Although unlike ginger and turmeric, not much studies have been conducted upon Galangal. However, slowly and steadily, galangal’s popularity is gaining momentum as more and more people are getting aware of it’s therapeutic and medicinal properties.
Listed below are some of the basic galangal root benefits.
1. Combat against diseases:
Rich in antioxidants and flavonoids, Galangal root is very effective against diseases and can protect your cells from damaging free radicals. Like turmeric and ginger, Galangal is also rich in polyphenols which helps to improve your memory and can also withstand against Type 2 diabetes. Galangal is also beneficial in lowering high blood sugar levels and can also remove bad cholesterol from the body. Helps in detoxification and also keeps your gut healthy and clean. It can also completely cure out diarrhoea.
2. Protection against cancer
Galangal root can give you protection against certain cancer and this has been scientifically proven. When conducted scientific research, upon mice, it was found that galangal root has visibly increased life span of the mice, less incidence of metastasis was reported in them and ironically no noticeable side effects were observed.
Due to the presence of the active compound galangin in the Galangal root, it is proven that it kills the cancer cells and also prevents them from further spreading in the body. Breast cancer, bile and duct cancer, skin cancer and liver cancer are some of that cancer against whom Galangal root can soon become a potent remedy for.
3. Boosting male fertility
According to a study that has been conducted upon 66 men with low sperm quality, it has been found that when galangal root along with pomegranate was used upon them, it has effectively increased sperm motility rate by 62%. Also had a profound effect on increasing the sperm count and the number of motile sperms.
4. Fight against pain
Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, Galangal root is a useful remedy against inflammation and pain caused due to arthritis, rheumatoid or osteoarthritis.
If we are talking about the benefits of galangal root against inflammation and pain, then we have to talk about Galangal essential oil. Extracted from the galangal roots by the process of steam distillation, this essential oil can wear away fatigue, enhance the circulation throughout the body and also provide a solution for skin problems, congestion and digestive ailments.
How to use galangal root?
Galangal root is not easily found in normal grocery stores. To get it fresh, one has to visit the supermarket or depend upon online stores.
Once you lay your hand on Galangal root, make sure you wrap it in a damp and clean cloth and store it in the refrigerator. Avoid peeling off the skin to keep it fresh for a longer period and do not forget to keep on changing the damp cloth alternatively to prohibit any yeast formation.
If you want to save it up further, you can cut slices of the root and store it in an airtight container or just ground it down to a powder and then use it as a condiment for your curries.
1. For nutrition – Galangal is very similar to ginger but as previously mentioned it is more peppery in taste. So, before using it as a substitute for ginger, you should make sure that you can withstand that amount of spiciness in your palette.
As galangal root is a native herb of Southern Asia, it is extensively used in their curries in whole or powdered forms but if you could ever put a hand on some fresh galangal just out the market, chewing a slice of it raw will benefit you incredibly. As a strong antioxidant, analgesic and anti-inflammatory substance, consumption of galangal root can help you keep many diseases at a bay.
2. For your skin and hair – Galangal has a lot of feathers attached to its hat. Apart from having a lot of medicinal properties, galangal root can work wonders for your hair and skin.
If your skin is disrupted with acne, eczema, rashes or psoriasis, mixing powdered galangal root with coconut oil and applying it to your affected skin can work wonders for it. Your skin will feel soft, smooth and supple automatically.
Due to the presence of a rich concentration of antioxidants in it, consuming a slice of raw galangal thrice a week can also help you in reversing your ageing process.
If you are suffering from an irritated and itchy scalp, applying a few drops of galangal essential oil with your shampoo or mixed and applied with jojoba oil can immediately revitalise your hair. Using it as a hair mask has proven to effectively increase the hair growth and moisturise and nourish the hair scalp.
Before everything else, you should know about the dosage of galangal root consumption. Taking it in a high amount, like having 2000mg per kg can cause some serious problems. It has been seen that it causes a lack of appetite, excessive urination, coma and in some extreme cases even death.
Now there you go, everything you need to know about Galangal. It is truly a gem that needs to be treasured. Besides it’s high medicinal and remedial properties, it has a zingy punch to it which can make it a very refreshing and worthy addition to our kitchen cabinet.
What do you think about this superfood?