The rhizome or underground stem
Greater Galanga is the dried rhizome of a plant Alpenia galanga. This is a perennial, robust, tillering, rhizomatous herb. The plant is 1.8 to 2.1 mtrs high and bears perennial rhizome (2.5 to 10 cm thick), which are deep orange to brown in colour, aromatic, pungent and bitter. The pseudostem formed by the rolled leaf sheaths is erect, the inflorescence is terminal, many flowered. The fruits are about 13 mm long, constricted in the middle and contain 3 to 6 seeds.
Origin and Distribution
Greater Galanga is a native of Indonesia and is currently cultivated in all South East Asian countries, India, Bangladesh, China and Surinam. The plant requires sunny or moderately shady locations with fertile moist soil preferably sandy or clayey, rich in organic matter with good drainage. In tropics the plant occurs up to an altitude of 1200 mtrs.
The rhizomes have many applications in traditional medicines such as for skin diseases, indigestion, colic, dysentery, enlarged spleen, respiratory diseases, mouth and stomach cancer. Rhizomes show anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-protozoal, and expectorant activities. Young rhizome is a spice used to flavour various dishes in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and China.
Indian Name of Spices
Hindi : Kulanjan Sanskrit : Kulanjana Kannada : Rasmi Malayalam : Chittaratha,Kolingi Marathi : Koshtkulinjan Gujarati : Kolinjan
Foreign Name of Spices
French : Galanga,Souchet long German : Galgant Indonesian : Laos Thai : Dok kha Vietnam : Rieng Dutch : Grote galanga English : Siamese ginger Arabic : Galangal Chinese : Gou leuhng geung