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Scientific Name(s): Alpinia galanga, Alpinia officinarum Hance, Kaempferia galanga L.
Common Name(s): Ankaferd BloodStopper, Blue ginger, Chewing John, China root, Chinese ginger, East Indian root, Galanga, Galangal root, Greater galangal (A. galanga), Kulanjan, Laos, Lesser galangal (A. officinarum), Little John chew, Rhizoma galangae

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 1, 2021.

Clinical Overview


Clinical trials are lacking, with the majority of support for therapeutic use of galangal based on in vitro and animal data or anecdotal and traditional claims. Potential applications may arise from antimicrobial and antioxidant effects.


Clinical studies of galangal monotherapy are lacking to provide a basis for dosage recommendations.


Contraindications have not been identified.


Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.


None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Clinical studies and case reports are lacking.


No data.

Scientific Family

  • Zingiberaceae (ginger)


Galangal is a reed-like perennial herb, with stems growing up to 1 m in height and covered by sheaths of narrow lanceolate leaves. Its inflorescence is a short raceme of white flowers that are veined and shaded in dull red. The plant has been cultivated for its rhizomes in India, China, and Southeast Asia. Galangal rhizomes appear on the market as branched or simple rhizome fragments with wavy, reddish-brown annulations of the leaf bases that have an aromatic, spicy, and pungent odor and flavor. A synonym is Languas galanga (L.) Stuntz. Galangal is from the same family as ginger (Zingiber officinale; Zingiberaceae family), but the species are not equivalent; galangal also should not be confused with the unrelated "galingale" from the genus Cyperus.(USDA 2021, Rao 2011)


The rhizomes of galangal and its derivatives have been used for their aromatic stimulant, carminative, and condiment properties, similar to ginger, and are extensively used in Asian cuisine. Young inflorescences and leaves are eaten raw in salads in Asia. Galangal oil is used to flavor French liqueurs and is also used in some tobaccos. "Ginger" of Thailand is obtained from A. galanga. Preserved ginger of China is also derived from A. galanga. A. galanga (greater galangal), which contains the volatile oil essence d'Amali, is used in China and northern India for various respiratory complaints in children, particularly bronchial catarrh (mucous membrane inflammation). Other traditional uses include the treatment of rheumatism, ulcers, incontinence, fever, microbial infections, halitosis, whooping cough, throat infections, and diabetes.(Leung 2003, Rao 2011) A. officinarum has been used for its antiemetic and analgesic effects in Asia.(Gong 2018)


Galangal contains a greenish-yellow volatile oil composed of cineo; eugenol; sesquiterpenes; isomers of cadinene; a resin containing galangol, kaempferide, and galangin; as well as starch and other constituents. Phenolic compounds such as flavonoids and phenolic acids are found abundantly in A. galanga. The dominant components isolated from the rhizomes were glangoisoflavonoid, beta-sitosterol diglucosyl caprate, methyleugenol, p-coumaryl diacetate, 1′-acetoxyeugenol acetate, trans-p-acetoxycinnamyl alcohol, trans-3, 4-dimethoxycinnamyl alcohol, p-hydroxybenzaldehyde, phydroxycinnamaldehyde, trans-p-coumaryl alcohol, galangin, trans-p-coumaric acid, acetoxychavicol acetate, hydroxychavicol acetate, and galanganol B.(Kaushik 2011, Leung 2003, Rao 2011)

Uses and Pharmacology

Clinical trials are lacking, with the majority of support for galangal therapeutic use based on in vitro or animal data, or anecdotal and traditional claims.

Antimicrobial activity

Animal and in vitro data

Activity against a number of pathogenic bacteria has been shown in vitro for whole plant and crude rhizome extracts, as well as for galangin and kaempferide.(Kaur 2010, Latha 2009, Niyomkam 2010, Rao 2010, Rao 2011, Sawamura 2010, Srividya 2010, Vuddhakul 2007) Synergistic effects with antibiotics against resistant bacteria have also been demonstrated in vitro.(Eumkeb 2010, Eumkeb 2012, Lee 2008) The rhizome extract of K. galanga was also found to have some inhibitory activity against Helicobacter pylori in vitro, with a minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) of 25 mcg/mL.(Bhamarapravati 2003) In vitro experimentation in H. pylori–infected gastric epithelial cells was conducted with 24 medicinal plants indigenous to Pakistan to evaluate their effects on secretion of interleukin 8 (IL-8) and generation of reactive oxygen species in order to assess anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective effects. Although no direct cytotoxic effects on gastric cells or bactericidal effects on H. pylori were found, a rhizome extract of A. galanga was observed to have moderate and strong inhibitory activity on IL-8 at 50 mcg/mL and 100 mcg/mL, respectively.(Zaidi 2012) Another in vitro study found no activity against Aspergillus niger or Candida albicans.(Srividya 2010)

In mice, a methanol extract of A. galanga rhizomes showed inhibitory activity against the malaria parasite Plasmodium berghei.(Al-Adhroey 2010) Activity against the influenza virus was demonstrated in mice following oral administration of an A. officinarum extract.(Sawamura 2010)

Antioxidant activity

Antioxidant activity has been described for galanga crude extracts and for specific flavonols and phenols.(Guo 2010, Hanish Singh 2011, Puangsombat 2011, Srividya 2010)

Antiulcer effects

Animal data

In a study of rats, A. officinarum extract reduced indomethacin-induced gastric injury in a dose-dependent manner, occurring through both cyclooxygenase and noncyclooxygenase pathways.(Gong 2018)


Animal and in vitro data

In vitro studies have shown activity of galangal extracts against a variety of cancer cell lines. Active chemical constituents identified include galangin, 4-hydroxycinnamaldehyde, curcuminoids, and diarylheptanoids. Direct cytotoxicity, induction of apoptosis, antimigration, anti-invasion, and inhibition of tumor growth have been demonstrated.(An 2008, Banjerdpongchai 2011, Jaiswal 2012, Lu 2007, Matsuda 2009, Panich 2010, Tabata 2009, Zou 2020) Cytotoxic diterpenes have been found in the seeds of A. galanga.(Leung 2003, Morita 1988)

A. galanga shows antitumor activity in mice.(Jaiswal 2012, Matsuda 2009)


Animal and in vitro data

An ethanol extract of A. galanga decreased neurotoxin-induced amnesia in mice. A decrease in acetylcholinesterase and monoamine oxidase enzyme activity was observed in the amnesia mouse model and in an in vitro study.(Guo 2010, Hanish Singh 2011) An analgesic effect of A. galanga extract was demonstrated in mice using the hot plate and writhing tests.(Acharya 2011)

Clinical data

In a randomized, double-blind, double-dummy, placebo-controlled clinical trial of 59 patients with moderate caffeine intake, the effects of A. galanga (300 mg per capsule) alone, caffeine alone, a combination of A. galanga and caffeine, or placebo on mental alertness were assessed. A. galanga increased mental alertness scores at 1, 3, and 5 hours after dosing compared with placebo. Additionally when coadministered with caffeine, A. galanga impeded a caffeine "crash" at 3 hours after dosing.(Srivastava 2017)

Diabetic nephropathy

Animal data

A murine study found that an alcoholic extract of A. galanga reduced glucose levels, improved glycosylated hemoglobin A1c levels, improved lipid parameters, and ameliorated histological changes in the kidneys of rats with streptozotocin-induced diabetes.(Kaushik 2013)

Hypoalgesia effects

Clinical data

A systematic review and meta-analysis of 8 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials (N=734) published before December 2014 found an overall moderate to large effect of Zingiberaceae extracts (including turmeric, ginger, and galangal) on chronic pain compared with placebo; however, substantial heterogeneity was found. Significantly lower subjective pain was reported with the Zingiberaceae extracts versus placebo (P=0.004). A strong dose-response relationship was also demonstrated. Three studies included patients with osteoarthritis of the knee or hip, and 1 study each included patients with gonarthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, muscle soreness following exercise, postoperative pain, and primary dysmenorrhea. One of the osteoarthritis trials (n=247) used 510 mg/day of mixed galangal and ginger rhizome extracts for 6 weeks, with a moderate reduction in pain when walking demonstrated in the treatment group versus placebo.(Lakhan 2015)

Metabolic syndrome

Limited studies in rats have shown improved lipid profiles and insulin resistance with galangal supplementation.(Sivakumar 2010, Xia 2010)


Clinical studies of galangal monotherapy are lacking to provide a basis for dosage recommendations.

Pregnancy / Lactation

Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.


None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Research reveals little or no information regarding adverse reactions with use of galangal.


In a murine study assessing acute toxicity, A. galanga ethanolic extract caused defecation, writhing, sedation, and calmness, while A. galanga dichloromethane extract caused increased respiration, piloerection, Straub tail, tremors, increased muscle tone, and sedation.(Alajmi 2018) In this same study, the treatment period was extended to 12 weeks to assess chronic toxicity. Compared with control, mice receiving either extract of A. galangadid not differ in terms of body weight, food consumption, or water consumption. However, treatment with either extract was associated with increases in weight of the heart, liver, spleen, and kidneys. A. galangawas also noted to increase liver function tests and blood glucose in these models.(Alajmi 2018) One murine study indicated that an alcoholic extract of A. galangaat a dose up to 2,000 mg/kg was safe.(Kaushik 2013)

Another study in A. galanga–treated animals showed a rise in red blood cell levels, weight gain of sexual organs, and increased sperm motility and sperm counts. No spermatotoxic effects were noted.(Qureshi 1992)

Index Terms

  • Languas galanga



This information relates to an herbal, vitamin, mineral or other dietary supplement. This product has not been reviewed by the FDA to determine whether it is safe or effective and is not subject to the quality standards and safety information collection standards that are applicable to most prescription drugs. This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this product. This information does not endorse this product as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this product. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this product. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You should talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this product.

This product may adversely interact with certain health and medical conditions, other prescription and over-the-counter drugs, foods, or other dietary supplements. This product may be unsafe when used before surgery or other medical procedures. It is important to fully inform your doctor about the herbal, vitamins, mineral or any other supplements you are taking before any kind of surgery or medical procedure. With the exception of certain products that are generally recognized as safe in normal quantities, including use of folic acid and prenatal vitamins during pregnancy, this product has not been sufficiently studied to determine whether it is safe to use during pregnancy or nursing or by persons younger than 2 years of age.

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