FoodGalangal: The unsung hero in your spice rack with health benefits

Galangal: The unsung hero in your spice rack with health benefits

This spice is still little known.
This spice is still little known.
Images source: © Adobe Stock

9 July 2024 16:48

We've already discovered that ginger has many benefits. Now it's time to introduce another spice from the ginger family that is still relatively unknown but can easily be found in health food stores. It's Chinese galangal, also known as Alpinia officinarum, and often called "wild cardamom." What should you know about it?

If you enjoy Thai cuisine, you have likely encountered this spice. It is often listed among the ingredients of soups, sauces, and other dishes. Galangal belongs to the ginger family and is closely related to ginger and turmeric. The edible part of this plant is the rhizome or root. It is most commonly used as dried ground root. It has a sharp, slightly spicy taste and a very fresh aroma.

Fat stands no chance

The Thai use it to season dishes, and scientists are researching galangal. They have found that it can support the digestive system. It stimulates intestinal peristalsis, which boosts metabolism. It also regulates the secretion of digestive juices. Scientists argue that galangin found in Alpinia officinarum can prevent obesity, as it inhibits fat absorption from digested foods.

No more snacking

If you are concerned about weight loss, there is another reason to be interested in this spice. It stabilises blood glucose levels, which are often the "spikes" in blood sugar that lead to hunger pangs and snacking between meals. Using galangal in dishes can, therefore, support weight loss and help control excessive appetite. Like ginger, galangal also mitigates gastrointestinal discomfort. It soothes stomach pain, bloating, and nausea. During the summer, another benefit stands out: it helps with symptoms of motion sickness.

For heart troubles

Other properties of this plant were pointed out by St Hildegard, whose diet is still popular today. She believed that galangal is excellent for people with high fever, back pain, and heart problems. She especially recommended it during the autumn and winter when the risk of flu and colds increases.

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