Galangal - McDowell's Herbal Treatments

It is used medicinally for digestive problems, stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting. It has been used for sea sickness, headaches, spleen enlargement, catarrh, bronchitis, rheumatism, foot pains, liver and gall bladder disorders, sore gums, as well as used as a respiratory and heart stimulant, and as a treatment for impotence.

stock galangal sml

A drink, made from grated galangal and lime juice, is valued as a tonic in Southeast Asia. Galangal is a specific herb for a sluggish metabolism; also used as a body deodoriser and breath cleanser, as well as a tonic and aphrodisiac. Hildegard of Bingen, herbal writer of the 12th Century, esteemed galangal for indigestion, deafness, arthritis, to lower high blood pressure and improve circulation, and relieve stomach and heart pain. She said, "If there would be a herb to wake up the dead, then galangal would be the first choice".

Dose: To make as a tea; infuse 1/2 teasp. of powdered rhizome in 1 cup of boiling water, steep 10-15mins, drink 1-3 cups a day. A tincture is applied to skin complaints including tinea and ringworm.

Try cooking with spices as the Thai people do, so that the food itself is easier to digest, but digestive and carminative herbs can also be taken as supplements or post-digestive tonics, sort of like an after dinner aperitif. A chocolate covered mint is hardly comparable to galangal!

Today, galangal is available in the fresh vegetable section of the supermarket, frozen food section in Asian food stores, as a powder in the spice department. It has an incredible aroma of its own but combines well with other carminative spices such as star anise, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and pepper. These spices can be added to a pot of one's favourite tea, making a "masala chai" or, for those inclined, they greatly enhance another traditional winter favourite, hot buttered rum!


We acknowledgement Isabell Shipard and her wonderful book , "How I can Use Herbs in my Daily Life" and website.

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McDowell's staff Herbalists can not diagnose your disease or illness. What they can do is offer a herbal program to assist with healing, after you have had advice from your doctor or specialist. If you have unexplained pain or symptoms, seek medical advice.

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