Alpinia galanga, (also Languas galanga), a plant in the ginger family, is an herb used in cooking, especially in Indonesian and Thai cuisines. It is one of four plants known as galangal, and is differentiated from the others with the common name greater galangal (or simply Thai galangal). The galangals are also called blue ginger or Thai ginger.
A. galanga is called laos in Indonesian and is the most common form of galangal used in cooking. It is also known as lengkuas and galanga root. In Manipuri, it is known as kanghu. in Myanmar, it is called pa de kaw (ပတဲေကာ).
The plant grows from rhizomes in clumps of stiff stalks up to 2 m in height with abundant long leaves which bear 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.
The rhizome is a common ingredient in Thai curries and soups, where it is used fresh in chunks or cut into thin slices, mashed and mixed into curry paste. Indonesian rendang is usually spiced with galangal.
Under the names 'chewing John', 'little John to chew', and 'court case root', it is used in African American folk medicine and hoodoo folk magic. Ayurveda considers A. galanga (Sanskrit:-rasna) as a Vata Shamana drug. Known as பேரரத்தை (perarathai) in Tamil, this form of ginger is used with licorice root, called in Tamil athi-mathuram (Glycyrrhiza glabra) as folk medicine for colds and sore throats.
The rhizome has been shown to have weak antimalarial activity in mice.
Chemical constituentsA. galanga rhizome contains the flavonol galangin.
- Duke, James A.; Bogenschutz-Godwin, Mary Jo; duCellier, Judi; Peggy-Ann K. Duke (2002). Handbook of Medicinal Herbs (2nd ed.). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. p. 350. ISBN 0-8493-1284-1. Retrieved 1 March 2011.
- Al-Adhroey, Abdulelah H.; Nor, Zurainee M.; Al-Mekhlafi, Hesham M.; Mahmud, Rohela (2010). "Median Lethal Dose, Antimalarial Activity, Phytochemical Screening and Radical Scavenging of Methanolic Languas galanga Rhizome Extract". Molecules 15 (11): 8366–76. PMID 21081857. doi:10.3390/molecules15118366.
- Kaur, A; Singh, R; Dey, CS; Sharma, SS; Bhutani, KK; Singh, IP (2010). "Antileishmanial phenylpropanoids from Alpinia galanga (Linn.) Willd". Indian journal of experimental biology 48 (3): 314–7. PMID 21046987.
- Van Wyk, Ben-Erik (2005). Food Plants of the World. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press, Inc. ISBN 0-88192-743-0
- Greater galangal
- Scheffer, J.J.C. & Jansen, P.C.M., 1999. Alpinia galanga (L.) Willd.[Internet] Record from Proseabase. de Guzman, C.C. and Siemonsma, J.S. (Editors). PROSEA (Plant Resources of South-East Asia) Foundation, Bogor, Indonesia. 
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- Alpinia galanga (L.) Willd. Medicinal Plant Images Database (School of Chinese Medicine, Hong Kong Baptist University) Invalid language code. Invalid language code.