This root, which is part of the ginger family, originated in China and Thailand, making its way into common Ayurvedic medicine.
Benefits of Galangal includes fights inflammation, strengthens the immune system, increases sperm count and motility, protects against cancer, is a natural antimicrobial, good for skin, supports digestive health, linked to brain health, may help reduce blood cholesterol levels, fights respiratory ailments, can boost cardiac health, must-have in your beauty arsenal too and may help with nausea.
Lets look at these benefits in detail.
Reasons to use Galangal Root
Rich in antioxidants
Galangal root is a rich source of antioxidants, which are beneficial plant compounds that help fight disease and protect your cells from damaging free radicals.
It’s especially rich in polyphenols, a group of antioxidants linked to health benefits, such as improved memory and lower blood sugar and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Polyphenols are also thought to protect against mental decline, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Galangal is also full of powerful flavonoids like Alpin, Kaempferide, galangin-3-methyl ether, and galangin.
Helps Fight Inflammation
In addition to helping to ward off premature aging, the anti-inflammatory power of galangal is tied to calm inflammation throughout the body. The anti-inflammatory gingerols play a role in inhibiting prostaglandin synthesis, which leads some experts to believe that it may help arthritic patients.
A 2014 study found that galangin, a flavonol in lesser galangal can elicit an anti-inflammatory effect by inhibiting ERK and NF-κB-p65 phosphorylation. Inflammation is common pathogenesis of many chronic diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory skin conditions, and bowel disease.
It can help increases Sperm Count and Motility
In the Middle East, Galangal is used as an aphrodisiac, and South-East Asians often use Galangal in menstrual disorder treatments. More research on this topic is needed, but a 2014 study revealed that ethanolic extract of A. galanga significantly increased rat spermatogenesis.
One study in Denmark investigated the effect a galangal rhizome, paired with a pomegranate fruit extract, had on sperm in healthy human males. Researchers concluded that the number of motile sperm increased by three times the amount of the placebo.
Protects Against Cancer
The most striking health benefit of galangal, suggested by a massive (and growing) body of scientific research, is its ability to fight and potentially prevent a broad number of cancers and tumors.
Test-tube studies suggest that the active compound in galangal root, known as galangin, may kill cancer cells or prevent them from spreading. More specifically, one study highlighted the spice’s ability to kill two strains of human colon cancer cells. Other studies suggest it may fight breast, bile duct, skin, and liver cancer cells.
May fight inflammation and pain
It’s well-known that inflammation is at the root of most diseases. This means that chronic inflammation is related to the development of many diseases, including cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and several others.
Research displays that galangal root exhibits an anti-inflammatory effect on the body in a general manner and against specific conditions. Galangal root may reduce disease-causing inflammation, as it contains HMP, a naturally occurring phytochemical that test-tube and animal studies have suggested boasts potent anti-inflammatory properties.
Antibacterial and Antifungal Qualities
Research shows that galangal extract exerts an antimicrobial effect on several bacteria known for infecting foods, including staphylococcus, E. coli, listeria, salmonella, and clostridium.
It can even fight amoxicillin-resistant E. coli and reverse the resistance some strains have to amoxicillin, based on a study conducted in Thailand.
Galangal helps skin rejuvenation as well.
Good For Skin
We know that antioxidants support skin health, but galangal may help turn back the clock when it comes to skin aging. In an in vivo study published in Cosmetics and Toiletries, scientists state that galangal extract boosts hyaluronic acid production. Surprisingly, the participants reported a reduction in smile lines, increased skin radiance, and skin density.
Galangal also soothes away eczema, burn and itchiness, and fungal infections. With a healthy dose of vitamin C, galangal helps skin rejuvenation as well. Nice perk for spice with so many additional benefits!
Supports Digestive Health
The fibre in galangal – two grams per hundred gram – supports good gut health and bowel regularity. Galangal reduces the salivary and digestive acid secretion thereby soothing the GI tract. This is especially beneficial for ulcerous patients.
Linked to Brain Health
Some of the nutrients and ACA in galangal have been linked to a healthy brain and better cognition, plus protection against depression. Evidence also shows that by reducing beta-amyloid plaque deposition in the brain, this spice can slow or prevent the onset of neurodegenerative disease. Animal research has also confirmed Alpinia galangal’s anti- anti-amnesic effect.
Reduce Blood Cholesterol Levels
We’ve long known that increased cholesterol levels raise the risk of nearly every chronic disease, including heart attack, peripheral artery disease, and stroke. Kaempferol, quercetin, and galanin, the primary flavonoids in galangal, can prevent cholesterol spikes. Research also shows that these compounds can inhibit fatty-acid synthase, thereby reducing blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
One more particularly significant condition that may benefit from galangal treatment is acute lung injury leading to acute respiratory distress syndrome. This illness is somewhat common, especially among those who are already critically ill, and occurs when fluid leaks into the lungs and stops oxygen from being transferred to vital organs. Unfortunately, acute lung injury is often fatal.
However, study findings out of China indicate that galangal’s anti-inflammatory activity seems to have a positive impact on acute lung injury and may be a significant treatment option in the future.
Help With Nausea
Galangal has long been a popular remedy for nausea, often results from morning sickness, motion sickness, and seasickness. In addition to the traditional use for nausea, modern science also backs up these claims.
More specifically, evidence points to gingerol, the active ingredient in galangal and other Zingiberoside members. An animal model showed that gingerol can increase gastrointestinal transportation and relax the muscles, which can relieve nausea and vomiting.
Precaution and Side-Effects
Research reveals little or no information regarding galangal side effects. Actually, galangal is classified as a hypo-allergenic food, so chances are good that you won’t experience skin or gut allergies.
As mentioned, galangal may increase stomach acid production. If you have any gastrointestinal diseases, it’s probably best to avoid this root.