Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Galangal, formerly written Galingale, is an aromatic stimulant drug, apparently introduced into Europe, by Arabian physicians, from China, its name being derived from Kauliang-kiang, "ginger from Kaoliang" (Kauchawfu), in Canton. The ordinary galangal of European commerce is the dried rhizome of Alpinia officinarum, a member of the ginger family, native to Hainan and probably also to Southern China. The rhizomes are cylindrical, forked, 3/4 inch or less in diameter, fibrous, striated, and reddish-brown externally with ring-shaped, transverse scars of leaf-scales. It has a pungent odour and a taste resembling Grains of Paradise. Though no longer used in English medicine, galangal is largely employed in Russia in veterinary medicine and cordials. Greater or Java galangal, distinguished by its larger size, orange-brown colour, and feebler odour, though mentioned by Marco Polo, is now rarely imported. It is the rhizome of A. Galanga. Galanga cardamoms, used in China, are believed to be the capsules of this species. The preserved ginger from Siam and China is the rhizome of an Alpinia. China exports. mainly from Shanghai to India, about 600 tons of galangal annually. The tubers of species of Cyperus were formerly used as a substitute for this drug, and Gerard calls C longus "English galingale."