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Thai ginger (Greater galangal, Galanga, Siam)

Thai ginger (Greater galangal, Alpinia Galanga, Siam, galangal root) is only related to ginger and is very similar to it, but has other active ingredients.
The nutritional information for this ingredient corresponds toour nutrition table and is taken into account there. More specific details were not available.
Macronutrient carbohydrates 79.22%
Macronutrient proteins 14.94%
Macronutrient fats 5.84%

The three ratios show the percentage by weight of macronutrients (carbohydrates / proteins / fats) of the dry matter (excl. water).

Ω-6 (LA, <0.1g)
Omega-6 fatty acid such as linoleic acid (LA)
 : Ω-3 (ALA, <0.1g)
Omega-3 fatty acid such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
 = 0:0

Omega-6 ratio to omega-3 fatty acids should not exceed a total of 5:1. Link to explanation.

Values are too small to be relevant.

What is Galanga? What is Galangal? Raw Thai ginger , also known as Greater Galangal ( Alpinia galanga (L.) Willd.), is a popular and almost indispensable spice in Thai cuisine. Greater Galangal should not be confused with the related Galangal or with ginger.

Using Thai ginger in the kitchen:

What does galangal taste like? The aroma of fresh galangal is reminiscent of pine needles and has subtle bitter, sharp and lemony components. When dried, Thai ginger has a sweet and cinnamon-like smell. Essential oils and resins (galganol, alpinol) are responsible for its taste. The different taste characteristics of fresh and dried Thai ginger can be explained by the different oil composition. Thai ginger only vaguely resembles ginger in terms of taste.

The yellowish, woody rhizome with the pink side shoots and the young stems of Thai ginger are mainly used. The edible and aromatic leaves of the greater galangal can also be used and the seeds serve as a cardamom substitute .

Thai ginger is used as a spice. In Arabic and Southeast Asian cuisine, it enriches many typical Indonesian and Thai dishes. In Thailand, the rhizome is usually used raw, as it has a completely different taste when dried.

Sometimes greater galangal is an additional ingredient in the Chinese five-spice powder, which contains cloves , star anise , fennel seeds , Sichuan pepper and cassia cinnamon . While Thai ginger was very popular in Western countries in the Middle Ages, it is now rarely used in European cuisine.

Before use, peel the raw rhizome (colloquially tuber, root) and chop it up. Due to its woody consistency, Thai ginger (Siamese ginger) is only used as a flavoring in some dishes. Grated, its high fiber content is hardly noticeable and can be eaten without any problem. Cut into thin slices, finely chopped or grated, Thai ginger is used as a spice in curries, soups, salads , in woks, for rice dishes, fried foods, exotic drinks, smoothies or teas. Finely grated, pureed or ground, the rhizome is the main ingredient in Thai red and green curry pastes.

Thai ginger goes well with potatoes, pumpkin or coconut milk . Like its relative ginger ( Zingiber officinale ), greater galangal also goes well with garlic .

Galanga spice, which is usually available dried and in slices in Europe, can be placed in warm water before use. This reduces the spiciness and makes it more similar to the taste of fresh products.

Extracts from the rhizome are used to flavor bitters, liqueurs such as Chartreuse, low-alcohol beverages and gingerbread.

What is the difference between galangal and ginger? Thai ginger Difference to ginger: Alpinia galanga is a ginger-like spice and a medicinal plant. The two related plants are ginger plants, but belong to different genera. In the kitchen, the rhizomes can be used in a similar way. The ingredients and flavors differ from each other. Overall, Thai ginger is a little milder.

Vegan recipe for vegetable curry with Thai ginger:

Ingredients: 4 tbsp rapeseed oil ; 3 tbsp green curry paste; 2 garlic cloves, finely diced; 1 tbsp coconut blossom sugar ; 10 kaffir lime leaves (Asian shop); 2 carrots , thinly sliced; 1 small eggplant , diced; 300 g Hokkaido pumpkin , diced; 1 chili , scored; 40 g Thai ginger (alternatively: galangal), peeled and sliced; 3 stalks lemongrass , in pieces; 350 ml vegetable stock ; 400 ml coconut milk; 100 g mushrooms , quartered; 6 spring onions , in pieces; 10 cherry tomatoes , halved; 50 g cashews (or healthier: macadamia nuts ), chopped (possibly roasted); 4 tablespoons lime juice and 10 sprigs coriander , chopped.

Preparation: First, heat the rapeseed oil and sauté the curry paste and garlic in it. Then add the sugar, kaffir lime leaves, carrots, aubergine, pumpkin, chilli, galangal ginger ( Alpinia galanga ) and lemongrass and sauté all the ingredients briefly. Then pour the vegetable stock and coconut milk over the curry and simmer for 10 minutes. Now add the mushrooms and cook the curry for a further five minutes. Then simmer the spring onions and tomatoes for a further three minutes. Finally, season the curry with the lime juice and sprinkle with coriander leaves and cashews before serving. If you prefer a healthier option, do not use coconut products or cashews.

Recipe for fresh Thai ginger tea:

You can make tea from fresh, grated galangal root. To do this, boil the root pieces with drinking water (approx. 2 teaspoons/250 ml) and let the brew simmer for a few minutes or up to 30 minutes, depending on your taste. Then strain the solids and add a little lemon juice. You can refine the tea with honey , agave syrup or maple syrup .

The combination of Thai ginger, ginger, turmeric and galangal is also suitable for a tea variation, e.g. together with some cinnamon bark.

Vegan recipes with Thai ginger can be found under the note: " Recipes that have the most of this ingredient ".

Not only vegans or vegetarians should read this:
Vegans often eat unhealthily. Avoidable nutritional mistakes

Shopping - where to buy fresh galangal?

Fresh Thai ginger can be bought in raw food quality (raw quality) in many Asian shops. In some supermarkets (e.g. Rewe , Edeka, Coop vitality ) and in well-stocked organic shops you can sometimes get dried galangal slices or galangal powder, which is often also called 'Laos powder'. We have not yet found any Thai ginger in supermarket chains such as Migros , Denner , Volg , Spar , Aldi , Lidl or Hofer and in the organic supermarkets Denns and Alnatura . There is a large selection of Thai ginger in online stores, some of which are also from controlled organic cultivation (kbA, organic).

Thai ginger (also ginger Thailand, Thai ginger, Thai ginger, Thai Siam) is not to be confused with galangal ( Alpinia officinarum ), ginger ( Zingiber officinale ), Chinese ginger ( Boesenbergia rotunda ), spice lily ( Kaempferia galanga ) or turmeric ( Curcuma longa ).

Found in the wild - Galangal root season:

Galangal Thai ( Alpinia galanga ) is found in Southeast Asia as a perennial up to two meters high with ginger-scented rhizomes, lanceolate leaves (up to 50 cm long) and pale green, orchid-like flowers with white, pink-striped lips. 1

The flowering period is from May to August. Fruiting occurs from the third year of planting from September to November. Thai ginger grows in moist forests, in ravines, in thickets and bushes at altitudes of 100 to 1,300 m. 2 Season: The rhizomes can be dug up in their natural locations all year round.

Storing galangal ginger:

Fresh bulbs can be stored in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator, wrapped in cling film. This way, the rhizome stays fresh for about 2-3 weeks and does not dry out so quickly.

The shelf life of Thai ginger increases when dried. To do this, peel the galangal root, cut it into thin slices and place it on baking paper to air dry. Before use, soak the dried galangal slices in lukewarm water for one to two hours, similar to dried mushrooms. When ground ('Laos powder'), greater galangal quickly loses its aroma, but the spiciness increases due to dehydration. Dried galangal roots are best stored in a dark, cool and airtight place.

Galangal: Ingredients - Nutritional Values - Calories

The fresh rhizome contains up to 1.5% essential oil. It is mainly composed of β-santalene, 1,8-cineole, β-bisabolene, trans-β-farnesene, α-bergamot, terpinenol-4 and α-pinene. Other ingredients include the pungent-tasting galangal acetate, chavicol acetate, chavicol, linalool, geranyl acetate, eugenol and bornyl acetate. 3

When dried, the proportion of essential oils is much lower and the composition is different. It mainly contains cineole and farnesene. 3

The complete ingredients of fresh Thai ginger, the coverage of the daily requirement and comparison values with other ingredients can be found in our nutrient tables. In the article Nutrients explained you will get a detailed insight into the topic.

Health aspects - Galangal effects:

Is galangal healthy? The active ingredient in the rhizomes and seeds of Alpinia galanga is 1'-acetoxychavicol acetate (ACA). ACA has numerous medicinal properties. These include anti-allergic, anti-microbial, anti-diabetic, anti-carcinogenic, gastroprotective, anti-inflammatory and anti-obesity effects. 4

One study also shows effectiveness in improving mental alertness and increasing alertness scores compared to the placebo group. 5

In alternative medicine, Alpinia galanga has been used to treat rheumatism. However, the exact effect of the extract is not yet fully understood. Data from another study suggest that the reduction in inflammatory stimuli could be due to the effects of Alpinia galanga extracts. Therefore, these could be a promising therapeutic agent for arthritis. 6

Recent research on mice shows positive effects on neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease. 3

Dangers - Intolerances - Side effects:

Does galangal ginger have side effects? Too high a dosage of Thai ginger can lead to stomach problems. If you do not feel well after taking it, you should definitely seek medical advice. Self-treatment for heart problems should be discussed with a doctor.

"Wichtl – Teedrogen und Phytopharmaka" describes no side effects, at least for the related Galangal ( Alpinia officinarum ). 7

Use of galangal root as a medicinal plant:

HMPC ( Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products ), ESCOP ( European Federation of National Societies for Phytotherapy ) and Commission E ( Expert Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products ) have not yet written any plant monographs on Thai ginger. Galangal is a medicinal plant recognized by Commission E for dyspeptic complaints (digestive disorders) and loss of appetite. 7

Thai ginger in folk medicine and naturopathy:

The rhizomes and essential oil of Thai ginger are suitable for (alternative) medical applications. 1

In addition to its use in cooking, Thai ginger is used as a traditional medicine in Asia. There it is used to treat colic, digestive disorders, diarrhea, stomach cancer, diabetes mellitus, incontinence and fever. 3

Alpinia galanga is also used for rheumatism, bronchial catarrh (bronchitis), heart disease, chronic enteritis, kidney disease, tartar and diabetes. 3,8

In the south of Thailand, herbal drinks with galangal ginger, so-called jamu drinks, are popular for maintaining health. For stomach pain, people drink the juice made from a mixture of grated galangal root and lemon juice. Compresses with galangal powder can help against skin rashes. 9

In traditional Chinese medicine ( TCM ), the active ingredients of Thai ginger are used to warm the stomach, relieve pain and distribute cold. Indications for applications with galangal are pain in the stomach cavity as well as vomiting and diarrhea due to harmful substances or spoiled food. 2

For oral administration, boil 3-5 g of the root or use powder or pills made from galangal. For external use, crush or puree fresh Thai ginger and apply "an appropriate amount" to the appropriate areas. According to TCM, it can be used to treat numbness in the joints, itching on the skin, and bites from snakes, insects, and scorpions. 2

According to Wikipedia , in Unani medicine (Graeco-Arabic medicine or ancient medicine of the Orient and the Occident), mainly the red varieties of galangal are used as a heart tonic and for asthma, coughs, sore throats and other illnesses. 10,11,12

While greater galangal is rarely used in western countries today, it gained importance in Europe in the Middle Ages, especially among the upper classes. It was used as a spice and sometimes as a remedy for stomach and intestinal diseases, but also for heart failure, anxiety and other mental disorders. 13

Occurrence - origin of galangal ginger:

The Alpinia galanga group includes four species that originate from a common original form. The branched inflorescences with small flowers, the open bracts, a pointed flower lip and the thin-walled fruits are particularly characteristic of this group. The area of origin of Thai ginger is southern China. The representatives of the group are mainly found in continental Asia. 14,15

Growing galangal - in the winter garden or as a potted plant:

Galangal can be grown as a potted plant in the house, winter garden or greenhouse. To do this, you need a fresh rhizome or a part of it. You can get ready-made plants from specialist plant dealers.

For your own cultivation, use a pot with nutrient-rich and loose soil. Good drainage is important, as galangal ginger does not tolerate waterlogging. Nevertheless, the plant has a high water requirement and needs to be watered daily. To compensate for the high nutrient requirement, you must fertilize it regularly, e.g. with a liquid universal vegetable fertilizer. Galangal requires comprehensive care, plenty of sun all year round, consistent warmth and high humidity. The plant should be sprayed daily with warm, lime-free water from a spray bottle. 16

If you live in a humid tropical climate, you can plant the perennial herbaceous galangal plant outdoors. The yellowish-white, woody Alpinia roots with the pink-colored side shoots can be harvested or dug up after several months of growth.

The Greater Galangal is not winter hardy. Depending on the location, the 'Galanga Thai' must be overwintered in a warmer place. The minimum temperature is 15-18 °C. 1

Cultivation - Harvesting Thai ginger:

Thai ginger is grown in Thailand, Assam, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Sumatra, Java, Borneo and the Philippines, 6 but also in India and China. In contrast to the common galangal ( Alpinia officinarum ), not only the rhizomes of Alpinia galanga (L.) Willd. are used as a spice, but also the seeds. 3

Wikipedia and other sources refer to Java as the original cultivation center of Thai ginger during the spice trade. 11,12

Risk of confusion with galangal ginger:

Due to their similarity, greater galangal can easily be confused with true galangal ( Alpinia officinarum ). True galangal is not poisonous and confusion does not pose a "danger". This information is only intended as a guide. True galangal tastes sharper and more bitter than greater galangal. Alpinia officinarum is mainly used in Chinese medicine, less so in cooking, where greater galangal is predominantly used due to its slightly milder taste. The distinction is not always clear. Both are often referred to as galangal and no distinction is made in texts.

Until the 1980s, another ginger-like plant, the spice lily ( Kaempferia galanga ), was sold in Germany. This often led to galangal being confused with the spice lily. Higher doses have a psychological effect. For some people, the hallucinogenic effect begins with just two teaspoons. 13

General information about Thai ginger:

Greater galangal, Alpinia galanga (L.) Willd., is a plant species that belongs to the ginger family (Zingiberaceae). The names are not always clear and there are similar names in both German and English. Sometimes people talk about galangal or galanga root, rarely also about Alpinia .

Thai ginger ( Alpinia galanga , also Languas galanga ) is, along with common galangal ( Alpinia officinarum , also Languas officinarum ), Chinese ginger ( Boesenbergia rotunda ) and spice lily ( Kaempferia galanga ), one of four ginger-like plants that are sometimes simply referred to as galangal and for which identical names are used.

Alternative names for Alpinia galanga:

Other botanical names and alternative names for Thai ginger are: Amomum galanga (L.) Lour, Galanga major Rumph, Languas galanga (L.) Stuntz, Languas galanga (L.) Stunz, Languas vulgare (L.) Stuntz, Languas vulgare Koenig, Maranta galanga L., Galanga, Languas, Siamese ginger, Siamese ginger lily, Calanga, Garengal, Java Galangal or Galangal German: Galangal. The following spellings are common: Thai ginger, galangal ginger, galangal Thai or galangal Thai ginger.

English names are Galanga, Lesser Galangal, Greater Galangal, Greater Galanga, Chinese Ginger, Lesser Galingale, Lesser Galangal, Small Galangal, False Ginger, Maraba, Galangale, Siamese Ginger, Galanga Root, Laos Root, Spice Ginger, East Indian Root and many others. 10

In Indonesia, the galangal root is also called Langkuas or Laos. The Thai name is Kha (ข่า) and the Chinese name is gao liang jiang. The fruits of Alpinia galanga are called Hong dou kou (Fructus Galangae). In other languages, the rhizome is called Grand Galanga, Galanga de l'Inde, Galanga Maggiore, Grote Galanga, Galigaan or Lengoewas.

The pharmaceutical name of the galangal rhizome is Rhizoma galangae.

Literature - Sources: