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Kaempferia galanga
Galangal root ready to be prepared for cooking

The Galangal plant (Galanga, Blue Ginger) is a rhizome with culinary and medicinal uses (Lao: ຂ່າ "Kha"; Thai: ข่า "Kha"; Malay: lengkuas (Alpinia galangal); Traditional Mandarin: 南薑 or 高良薑; Simplified Mandarin: 南姜 or 高良姜; Cantonese: lam keong, 藍薑; Vietnamese: Riềng). It is used in various oriental cuisines (for example in Thai cuisine Tom Yum soups and Dtom Kha Gai, Vietnamese Huenian cuisine (Tre) and throughout Indonesian cuisine, for example, in Soto). Though it is related to and resembles ginger, there is little similarity in taste.

In its raw form, galangal has a citrusy, earthy aroma, with hints of pine and soap in the flavor. It is available as a whole root, cut or powdered. The whole fresh root is very hard, and slicing it requires a sharp knife. A mixture of galangal and lime juice is used as a tonic in parts of Southeast Asia. It is said to have the effect of an aphrodisiac, and acts as a stimulant. In the Indonesian language, greater galangal is called lengkuas or laos and lesser galangal is called kencur. It is also known as galanggal, and somewhat confusingly galingale, which is also the name for several plants of the unrelated Cyperus genus of sedges (also with aromatic rhizomes). In Thai language, greater galangal is called "ข่า" (Kha) or "ข่าใหญ่" (Kha yai), while lesser galangal is called "ข่าตาแดง" (Kha ta daeng).

The word galangal, or its variant galanga is used as a common name for all members of the genus Alpinia, and in common usage can refer to four plants, all in the Zingiberaceae (ginger family):

Alpinia galanga is also known as Chewing John, Little John Chew and galanga root. It is used in African-American folk medicine and hoodoo folk magic. [1]


  1. ^ Catherine Yronwode (2002). Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic: A Materia Magica of African-American Conjure, and Traditional Formulary. Lucky Mojo Curio Co.. ISBN 0-9719612-0-4.  

in tamil peraratai

See also

Lesser Galangal (Alpinia officinarum)

Alpinia officinarum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Zingiberales
Family: Zingiberaceae
Genus: Alpinia
Species: A. officinarum
Binomial name
Alpinia officinarum

Languas officinarum (Hance) P.H.Hô

Alpinia officinarum, known as lesser galangal, is a plant in the ginger family. Lesser galangal is native to China, growing mainly on the southeast coast. It is also grown in India which is the second largest exporter of the rhizome. The rhizome was widely used in ancient and medieval Europe. The rhizome is smaller than greater galangal. The skin and the flesh are reddish brown whereas greater galangal has light yellow or white flesh. It was preferred to greater galangal because of its stronger, sweeter taste with notes of cinnamon. Its use in Europe has dramatically declined, however, and is now only used in Eastern Europe. It is used in Russia for flavoring vinegar and the liqueur Nastoika. It is still used as a spice and medicine in Lithuania and Estonia. In Central Asia, Tartars prepare a kind of tea that contains it. The spice used in South Eastern Asia which often goes by the name of "Lesser Galangal" is actually Kaempferia galanga.



The word lesser galangal properly refers to Alpinia officinarum. In common usage, however, it is also applied to Kaempferia galanga, also called Kencur, Sand ginger, Aromatic Ginger or Resurrection Lily. Kaempferia Galanga, which is grown for medicine and as a spice, is an almost stemless plant that develops its few short-lived leaves and the flower at ground level, whereas the stem of A. officinarum is two to four feet high.

Nomenclature and taxonomy

In Manipuri, it is called Pullei maanbi.

See also



Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Alpinia officinarum


Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Monocots
Cladus: Commelinids
Ordo: Zingiberales
Familia: Zingiberaceae
Subfamilia: Alpinioideae
Tribus: Alpinieae
Genus: Alpinia
Species: Alpinia officinarum


Alpinia officinarum Hance

Vernacular name

Русский: Калган лекарственный
Türkçe: Havlıcan


Data compiled from various sources by Mark W. Skinner. National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

  • Journal of the Linnean Society. Botany. London 13:6. 1873
  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Online Database]. [1]
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Alpinia officinarum on Wikimedia Commons.


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