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Get to know: The Thai Galangal

galangal root

Ever eaten a Thai dish and seen something floating around that kinda looks like ginger or maybe it could be Tumeric, it's most likely going to be Thai galangal! Galangal root is its own super herb with lots of fantastic health benefits associated with it. Galangal root is part of the ginger family (Zingiberaceae), and it is native to Thailand, China, and Indonesia.

Although it is a popular herb in Thai cuisine, at the same time it does an excellent job at reducing inflammation and fighting major diseases, especially different forms of cancer. Not only that, but this cooking spice contains antioxidant, antibacterial, and antifungal qualities. It also supports digestion and brain health.

How do you use Thai Galangal?

Fresh Thai galangal can be used in two different ways in cooking; it is either sliced or crushed. First, you need to peel off the outer layer of galangal with a peeler or sharp knife because the outer parts are inedible. Then cut the fresh root into slices, if the recipe only required slices then you can stop here. For crushed, you can cut the sliced galangal into match sticks or dice, this may make it easier for it to be crushed using a rolling pin or pestle and mortar.

You can store fresh Thai galangal in a cool dry place for about two weeks and don't forget to keep galangal moist if you keep it in the fridge. Galangal powder does not provide similar taste to fresh ones but many people use it instead of fresh galangal because of some inconvenience.

Thai Galangal is a key ingredient in Thai curry pastes and soups. All Mae Jum Thai curry pastes contain fresh galangal in the paste, you can find more about the pastes here! Tom Yum soup is a hot and sour Thai soup with a stock that is flavoured by lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and galangal.

Famous Thai Soup

Health Benefits

Prevent inflammatory and Arthritis.

Some studies have shown that Thai galangal contains anti-inflammatory substances called gingerols which inhibit prostaglandin synthesis and inhibit histaminic also serotonin pathways. This anti-inflammatory response of galangal can serve the benefit in reducing the symptoms of arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis treatment. Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition of joint disorder caused by inflammation and as an effect of long-lasting autoimmune disorder. Relieves Discomfort caused by the digestive problem.

The dietary fibre and phytochemicals in galanga help to increase the process of food mixing in the stomach. It also helps to reduce salivary and digestive acid secretion which gives a problem to people with ulcers. Consuming galangal can give a comfortable feeling to an individual’s stomach who suffering ulcer. It is also believed galanga can prevents anorexia and abdominal pain.

In Java Island, Indonesia the freshly grated galangal is given on empty stomach by adding a little salt. It is believed that it can cure enlarged spleen and relieve discomfort feeling in the stomach. The Strong aromatic odour can treat nausea ( sensation of unease and discomfort in the upper stomach which can cause vomiting).

Relieving flatulence

Besides those effects, it also supposed to have a carminative effect which relieving flatulence. The aromatic oil in galangal can stimulate and calm the nerves as well as drinking brewed galangal slices with warm water, and honey can help to relieve morning sickness and motion sickness.

Protect the body from cold

An experience of a doctor who travelled in Nepal said that galangal is immediate reliever against cold by improving blood circulation and produce “warm feeling” Relieve coughs, sore throat and clearing sound.

Thai Galangal has expectorant action and is useful in many respiratory problems, especially for children who suffer from whooping cough. In India, people mix the galangal extract with hot water to relieve chest pain, sore throat and clearing voice. Just mix some galangal powder or brew the galangal slices in boiled water with lime. It can be a tonic which can relieve coughs and throat problems.

Hair and Skin Care

Study shows that the cardiovascular effect of Thai galangal can benefit hair root growth and improves the transport of oxygen to the hair and can enhance the strength of the hair.

Some cosmetic industry uses galangal extract in the effort to create the anti-ageing formula. It's not a big deal since we know that antioxidant that contained in galangal has a great impact to prevent free radicals from entering the body which also promotes ageing. Vitamin C in galangal also play role in skin cells rejuvenation and keep the skin away from ageing.

If you having a problem with acne, galangal can be a home remedy to remove acne and dark spot. Drinking galangal juice or rubbing the galangal flesh on the skin can slowly reduce acne and skin dullness.

Keep the body stamina

In Indonesia, people used to mix Thai galangal with other ingredients such as garlic, pepper, tamarind and etc to produce tonic which they called “jamu”. This tonic is believed can keep body stamina if consuming three times a day and help to relives muscle fatigue.


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