Galangal Root: Uses, Benefits, and Side Effects

If you've ever gone shopping for ginger root, you may have almost picked up galangal root by mistake because it looks a lot like ginger.


Indeed, galangal root resembles ginger so closely that it is sometimes called "Thai ginger" or "Siamese ginger."

What Is Galangal?

Galangal, a root spice originating in China and Thailand, is a member of the ginger family. 

Ancient Indians were aware of galangal, which has been present in the West since the Middle Ages. 


Like ginger, this root grows from underground stems called rhizomes. Even though it's not a common ingredient in most Western cooking, it's often used in Thai and traditional Chinese dishes.


Ginger and galangal may have a similar appearance, but galangal has an entirely different flavor profile; thus, they are not commonly substituted. Galangal has a citrusy, earthy scent and flavor and a spicy hot, but luckily brief kick to the taste buds.


Though it is a staple spice in Thai cooking, it also has some impressive medicinal uses. Galangal is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine. Traditional medicine has used galangal root to treat a variety of illnesses, and more and more scientific studies back up these uses.


It has been shown to help fight eight different types of cancer and reduce chronic and certain kinds of inflammation, often better than medicine.


So, let’s explore some of the most significant benefits of galangal root.

Health Benefits

May Fight Specific Cancers 


According to a large (and expanding) body of scientific study, the most impressive health advantage of galangal, like the kind in 8th Wonder Sparkling Green Tea, is its capacity to fight and potentially prevent a variety of malignancies and tumors. 


Let’s examine, one by one, the several cancers galangal can help treat. 

Melanoma


Researchers at Taiwan's National Chiayi University looked at how three compounds from galangal root affected human melanoma (skin cancer) cells. They discovered that all three  compounds stopped the growth of new cells, which is what is meant by the term "antiproliferative."

Colon Cancer


When galangal was tested on human colon cancer cells for the first time in 2013, scientists found that it killed two strains of colon cancer cells through a process called apoptosis (2).

Breast Cancer


In 2014, an Iranian university study reported that a galangal extract caused breast cancer cells to die (apoptosis) in the cancer cell line, MCF-7, without damaging healthy breast cells, MRC-5 (3).

Leukemia


In 2013, acute monocytic leukemia, which develops in the bone marrow and progresses rapidly, was subjected to a liquid extract of galangal in an attempt to find a natural cancer treatment that would not harm neighboring cells, as chemotherapy does. The researchers found that galangal did, indeed, appear to stop this cancer from spreading (4). 


The researchers concluded that using plant extracts like galangal might be a safer approach to treating acute monocytic leukemia and may even lead to a cure for this devastating disease. However, more research must be done before testing galangal on human subjects. 

Pancreatic Cancer


A 2017 study examined the effects of several galangal chemicals on pancreatic cancer cells and found that they inhibited the formation of new cells and repressed the gene pathways essential for the cancer's spread (5).


The researchers were so impressed by these results that they surmised that galanga might be a candidate for “anti-pancreatic cancer drug development” (6).

Gastric Cancer


An Iranian study from 2014 indicated that a liquid extract of galangal dramatically reduced the number of gastric cancer cells in a laboratory test after 48 hours, a finding that the researchers deemed "prominent." (7).

Liver Cancer


One of the reasons cancer is so challenging to treat is that it doesn’t always stay in the organ of origination. Instead, it often spreads or metastasizes to other organs in the body. This is a common development in liver cancer.  


In 2015, researchers in Taiwan looked at the effects of galangal-extract compounds on HepG2 cells, a type of liver cancer. They found that the natural compounds stopped the cells from attaching to healthy cells, which made metastasis less likely (8).


In another trial involving liver cancer, combining galangal with conventional therapy agents resulted in the death of cancer cells to a greater degree than with individual treatments (9).  

May Defend Against Inflammation


It is common knowledge that inflammation is the root cause of most ailments. This indicates that chronic inflammation is associated with the development of numerous diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease, and others. Therefore, reducing chronic inflammation is essential for lowering the risk of many diseases, and studies suggest that galangal may help. 


Galangal root contains HMP, a naturally occurring phytochemical that research in test tubes and on animals suggests has strong anti-inflammatory capabilities. As a result, it may lower disease-causing inflammation (10, 11, 12).


The galangal that’s included in 8th Wonder Organic Green Tea may also aid in the reduction of arthritis-related inflammation. In a trial conducted in 2001, individuals who took a combination of galangal and ginger extract had a significant reduction in knee pain, and the need for drugs, and experienced an improvement in their overall condition (13).


However, additional research on the pain-relieving benefits of galangal root is required before definitive findings can be drawn.

May Battle Infections


Galangal extract has been shown to have antimicrobial effects on several food-infecting bacteria, including staphylococcus, E. coli, listeria, salmonella, and clostridium. According to a study done in Thailand, it can even combat amoxicillin-resistant E. coli and, surprisingly, even reverse bacterial resistance to the drug (14).


As you can see, the above are all food-borne bacteria, so it’s probably not a surprise that research shows If you cook with fresh galangal root, you may be less likely to get vibriosis, which is an infection caused by eating raw shellfish.


According to certain studies, galangal root may even defend against parasites, fungi, and yeast (15, 16).


May Improve Male Fertility


An estimated 9% of men in the United States have fertility issues, according to the National Institutes of Health. 


Fortunately, a growing body of evidence suggests that galangal root may enhance male fertility. 

Galangal root extract was shown to increase the number and motility of sperm in an animal study (17).

In a study of 66 men with low sperm quality, taking a daily supplement containing galanga root extract and pomegranate fruit extract led to a 62% increase in sperm motility. There was only a 20% increase in the placebo group (18).

However, whether this positive effect was due to the galangal root or the pomegranate fruit is unknown. 

A larger body of human research is needed to determine the effects of galangal root on male fertility, but cracking open a can of 8th Wonder Sparkling Green Tea with galangal can’t hurt. 

May Protect the Brain 


Advanced age is the biggest risk factor for cognitive impairment. Indeed, Alzheimer's disease, the most well-known type of cognitive impairment, may currently affect 5.1 million Americans aged 65 or older. This number is expected to rise to 13.2 million by the year 2050.


The good news is that galangal may help.


Research shows that a substance extracted from this root, known as ACA, may have a brain-protective impact, reducing some types of age-related cognitive deterioration, perhaps partly because of its anti-inflammatory effects (19).


Galangal may even help fight depression by regulating TNF-alpha. Recent studies have looked at chronic inflammation and TNF-alpha overreaction as a factor in depression (20).


May Support Digestive Health


There is no doubt that modern science has validated several amazing health benefits of this herb. However, galangal root’s most ancient usage was treating an upset stomach and other digestive problems. 


It's used in Ayurvedic medicine to calm upset stomachs, get rid of diarrhea, reduce vomiting, and even stop hiccups.

May Defend Against Diseases


Galangal, like the kind found in 8th Wonder’s Organic Green Tea, is a rich source of antioxidants, which are helpful plant chemicals that aid in disease prevention and cell protection.


It is particularly high in polyphenols, a class of antioxidants associated with health advantages such as better cognition and decreased blood sugar and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.


Additionally, polyphenols are believed to defend against cognitive decline, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.


However, these benefits have not been conclusively connected to galangal root; thus, additional research is required before firm conclusions can be drawn.

May Improve Cholesterol Levels


Chinese researchers showed that galanga extract effectively inhibited fatty-acid synthase, reducing cholesterol. How does the work? The flavonoids in galanga, including galangin, quercetin, and kaempferol, are believed to impede the fat-synthesis pathway.


In addition, Korean researchers demonstrated that galanga extract dramatically decreased triglycerides and cholesterol.

May Relieve Asthma


Galangal also plays a vital part in a healthy respiratory system. Galanga, which has been utilized as a medication, has an antispasmodic effect that decreases phlegm and dilates the bronchioles to treat asthma.


Amazingly, it can also treat dysarthria, stuttering, and aphasia.

May Support the Heart and Prevent Heart Disease


Heart disease is the number 1 cause of death in the United States.


Research suggests that galangal may help reduce the risk of heart disease. 


In the blood circulatory system, galangal decreases cardiac contractions and cardiac output by enhancing blood flow to the digestive tract and other critical organs. Indeed, in traditional 

Ayurvedic and Indian medicine, galangal was frequently used to treat heart ailments. Galangal is the most effective home treatment for preventing a heart attack in German-speaking nations such as Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. 


Even Dr. Strehlew, the author of Bingen's medicine, referred to galangal as a heart attack treatment. He encourages the use of galangal in modern medicine, particularly for enhancing heart health in the younger generation.

How to Use Galangal

You can buy galangal root and powder at some health food stores or specialty shops. 


You can also purchase it for consumption in grocery stores. Fresh galangal is most likely to be found in the produce section of a supermarket, specifically in the aisle containing other exotic vegetables and fruits.


If you’re looking for powdered galangal root, you will probably find that in the international aisle, near other Asian spices or herbs. 


Visit an Asian market or buy it online if you can't locate it in the most common grocery stores, like Walmart. 

Risks and Potential Side Effects

Galangal root is probably safe when taken in the quantities normally seen in food (21).

But there is little information about a safe dose or the possible side effects of taking it in larger amounts, like in supplements.


One animal study found that ingesting 909 mg per pound of body weight caused severe side effects, including a loss of energy, lack of appetite, frequent urination, diarrhea, unconsciousness, and death (22).


These negative side effects were not present at intakes of 136 mg per pound of body weight (23).


Brief Summary

Galangal root, a common treatment in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine, is a spice related to ginger and turmeric.


It can add taste, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory ingredients to your dishes, and it may offer a variety of health advantages. These include enhancing male fertility, defending against infections, and possibly even preventing certain types of cancer.


For fresh galangal root, you will probably need to visit a specialty market or Asian market. However, dried slices and ground powder are widely available, including online.


Overall, this spice is highly recommended for use in cooking and as a natural health option that may be useful in helping a variety of health conditions.

Enjoy All These Benefits and More by drinking 8th Wonder Sparkling Green Tea with Galangal!


8th Wonder contains real fruit juice, superfoods, and ancient ingredients that fuel the body and mind. 


Each refreshing sip is like a mental and physical spa treatment, complete with a reviving spritz at the end.


Plus, 8th Wonder Sparkling Green Tea with Galangal and other superfoods contains no added sugar, sugar alcohols, GMOs, or artificial ingredients. It is also certified organic, Whole30 approved, non-GMO project verified, paleo and vegan certified, gluten-free, and caffeine free. You can’t drink a healthier beverage than 8th Wonder Sparkling Green Tea!


So, open a can of fragrant green tea organically blended with galangal, apple, passionfruit, lemongrass, and a bit of purifying ginseng. You’ll be glad you did.


Click here to learn more and place your order today.


References

1- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24027439/
2- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23925650/
3- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24935101/
4- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23819642/
5- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28258481/
6- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28258481/
7- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25250165/
8- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25698902/
9- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24480522/
10- https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213453018300697
11- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22536283/
12- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3492709/
13- https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/1529-0131%28200111%2944%3A11%3C2531%3A%3AAID-ART433%3E3.0.CO%3B2-J
14- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21218479/
15- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2883221/
16- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3646104/
17- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25709632/
18- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25275520/
19- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27481192/
20- https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-breakthrough-depression-solution/201111/the-brain-fire-inflammation-and-depression
21- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5414456/
22- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21081857/
23- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21081857/