What are its benefits?

In the same family as ginger, galangal root looks similar but has a different flavor – sharp, citrusy, and piney. It is proving to be a powerful ally in maintaining gut health. Various studies on galangal have identified promising effects of consuming this spice, long used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine.

  • Anti-inflammatory: Galangin, a polyphenolic compound derived from the galangal root, has been shown in multiple studies to have anti-inflammatory effects. The mechanisms varied based on the specific study but included suppression of proinflammatory gene expression as well as reduced production of components that cause inflammation.
  • Antibacterial: In one study of 68 spices, galangal was one of five that exhibited the highest antibacterial capacity against pathogens Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella enteritidis. Another study identified four pathogens against which galangal had an antibacterial effect: E. coli, clostridium, staphylococcus, and salmonella.
  • “Clean up” via autophagy: Galangin has been shown to induce the process of autophagy, which is a natural method by which the body gets rid of damaged and old cells. This process inhibits the malignant transformation of cells, and in the case of the gut, can help maintain the barrier between the small intestine and the gut bacteria.

What is it?

Galangal root is a spice native to Southern Asia. The most commonly used forms are greater galangal (alpinia galanga) and lesser galangal (alpinia officinarum). It is rich in antioxidants and polyphenols. Used in traditional medicines, it is also used either dried or fresh to flavor savory dishes. Galangal contains some carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, and vitamin C. Plus is has compounds methyl cinnamate, eugenol, resins, tannins, starch, gingerol, and flavonoids.