Galangal is not something that we hear of often in our daily conversation but ask your folks and they will tell you how it is a herb that is extremely beneficial for our health. If you didn’t already know, this herb is found mostly in South-east Asia (from our neighbours in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia) and is commonly used as a spice to make our food so much more flavourful.
On exterior looks alone, galangal looks a lot like ginger and that is because of its allegiances to the ginger family. Most people describe the flavour of galangal as one that is exceptionally unique due to its taste — at first, you will uncover notes of earthiness and those that are citrus-like and shortly after, it would bring about a nice spicy kick at the end of it. But unlike the active ingredient of capsaicin in most spicy food, galangal has been found to work slightly different and instead of having a long-lasting burning sensation, you get hit by the spiciness and it goes away soon after. This intriguing flavour profile is extremely popular in Thai cuisine like the tom ka gai and there are a few other reasons why galangal is such a popular ingredient for its many health benefits. Read on to discover more.
Benefits Of Galangal
Ask anyone and they will quickly go into a spiel of how galangal is good for our health. If you haven’t been on the receiving end of one, let us tell you more about the wonders of galangal.
It Fights Cancer
This would be the first thing on most people’s minds because of how galangal has been widely believed to fight and prevent a range of cancers and tumours. It isn’t just hearsay only since it has been proven to work by many scientific research studies. A 2014 study done in Iran discovered that gastric cancer cells were destroyed in significant numbers after the liquid extract of galangal has come into play for 48 hours. On top of that, galangal root has been found to be extremely effective in halting the growth of new skin cancer cells as they had an antiproliferative effect on human melanoma cells.
It Wards Away Inflammation
Because of how inflammation is the cause for many of our ailments, chronic inflammation is what leads to the development of diseases like cancer, heart disease and even Alzheimer’s disease. How it works is a phytonutrient in galangal actually works to suppress and limit the activity of TNF-alpha in our body and this is what reduces the inflammation throughout our entire body. It has also been found to be extremely useful for the elderly in our home. Galangal has been found to reduce inflammation that is connected with arthritis. In a lab study, subjects who combined the use of galangal with ginger extract saw a lessening of severity in their knee pain and that reduces their reliance and need for medication.
Bids Bacteria and Fungi Goodbye
It is incredible what galangal can do for our body and when we consider its antibacterial qualities, it pushes it right to the top as one of the most important herbs that we should count on for good health. What galangal extract has been found to be effective for is its antimicrobial effect on some of the bacteria that might infect our food like staphylococcus and E. coli. When it comes to seafood, you run the risk of getting infected with some bacteria if you are not careful during the preparation process. If you are whipping up a shellfish dish for the family, try cooking it with galangal extract as it is found to restrain the effect of the Vibrio bacteria on our body. Another bacteria that you should look out for is H. pylori and it is much more common than we think, almost 77 per cent of humans across the world carry this bacteria in them. The bad news for this bacteria is that galangal is the perfect thing to neutralise and undo any damage it might inflict onto our body including painful stomach ulcers.
When we think antioxidants, we think berries like blueberries, cranberries and even blackberries. But if you are looking for something to take their place, galangal is not too bad as a substitute. Although you wouldn’t find the same types of antioxidants in galangal that you would in berries, they are just as beneficial to your health and ensures that your cells are protected, including those of your skin to prevent any acne breakouts from happening.
For A Healthier Brain
It has been found that galangal could be good for our brain health and this is because of a compound called ACA that helps protect our brain from age-related cognitive degeneration. As mentioned earlier, galangal regulates the TNF-alpha protein in our body and that has been found to also combat depression.
It goes without saying that galangal is a herb of life because of the wide range of benefits that it could provide for you and I. There are many ways that you could utilise the galangal herb and if you are a fan of Thai food, this herb would be no stranger to you!