malayavach :Alpinia galanga, a plant in the ginger family, is an herb used in cooking in Southeast Asia. It is one of four plants known as galangal and is differentiated from the others with the common name greater galangal, lengkuas, or Thai ginger. The galangals are also called blue ginger.
HISTORICAL AND MYTHOLOGICAL REVIEW:The rhizomes of galangal and its derivatives have been used for their aromatic stimulant, carminative, and condiment properties, much like ginger, and are extensively used in Asian cuisine. Young inflorescences and leaves are eaten raw in salads in Asia. Galangal oil is used to flavor French liqueurs and is also used in some tobaccos. The "ginger" of Thailand is obtained from A. galanga. The large, ordinary, preserved ginger of China is also derived from A. galanga. A. galanga (greater galangal), containing the volatile oil essence dAmali, is used in China and northern India for various respiratory complaints in children, particularly bronchial catarrh (mucous membrane inflammation). Other traditional uses include the treatment of rheumatism, ulcers, incontinence, fevers, microbial infections, bad breath, whooping cough, throat infections, and diabetes.
Allied species:Galangal is from the same family as ginger, the Zingiberaceae, but the species are not equivalent, and also should not be confused with the unrelated "galingale" from the genus Cyperus
VERNACULAR NAMESSanskrit: Sugandhmula, Malaya, Vacha, Mahabharivacha
English: java glangal , Photo: Krishan Lal Common name: Thai Ginger, siamese ginger, Greater Galangal
Hindi: Kulanjan, Kulinjan
Bengali: Kulanjana, Kurachivach
Malayalam: Aratta, Cifarratta
Arabic: Khalanjan, Adkham, Galangal, Kulnjan,Kholongan,Gorengal
Varities:Alpinia galanga (L.) Sw. (Zingiberaceae) is commonly known by various names as galangal, greater galangal, Java galangal and Siamese ginger (English). The related species are A. officinarum Hance and A. calcarata Rosc., which are known as lesser galangal. All the three species have more or less similar properties and uses and hence in trade practically no distinction is made among them.
SynonymsSynonyms in Ayurveda: mahabharivaca, kulaj, gandhamula, kulanjan, gandhabija, ugragandha, sugandha, mahabhairavach, malayavaca
Under the names chewing John, little John to chew, and court case root, it is used in African American folk medicine and hoodoo folk magic
Guna: Laghu Ruksha Teeskhsna
Galangal was known to the ancient Indians, and has been in the West since the Middle ages. Its stimulant and tonic properties are recognized by the Arabs who ginger up their horses with it, and by the Tartars, who take it in tea. In the East, it is taken powdered as a snuff, and is used in perfumery.
Cultivation:A plant for the warmer tropics, preferring high humidity and a temperature that does not fall below 15°c. It is found at elevations up to 1,200 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 27 - 32°c, but can tolerate 20 - 36°c. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 2,500 - 3,000mm, but tolerates 2,000 - 3,700mm
Prefers a well-drained, humus-rich soil and a position in partial shade Succeeds in full sun and can tolerate some drought. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 6.5, tolerating 5 - 6.8
Propogation:Seed - best sown as soon as ripe. Sow in containers and keep at around 20c
Division of the rootstock as new growth begins. Very easy. Shoots from pieces of galanga rhizome emerge about 1 week after planting; within 4 weeks 2 - 3 leaves have developed
Harvesting:The rhizome develops quickly and reaches its best harvest quality 3 months after planting
Plants can spread rampantly when growing in suitable conditions
Phytochemistry:Kulanjan contains Volatile oil, containing α - pinene, β - pinene, limonene, cineol,eugenol, terpinen - 4 - ol and α – terpineol, sesquiterpenes, isomers of cardinene and resin contains galangol, kaempferide, galangin, as well as starch and other constituents.
- kulanjan churna
- kulanjan taila
- kulanjan rhizome
Parts used for medicinal purposeUnderground rhizomes, ,
Substitute:Use equal amounts of ginger to substitute for galangal.
Adultrants:Alpinia galangal is adulterated with Alpinia officinarum, which is known as lesser galang.
Commercial value:-‘Khulanjan’, commonly known as the greater galangal or galanga major, is used in the indigenous system of medicine in the treatment of catarrhal affections . Two species of Alpinia (Zingiberaceae), A. galanga and A. officinarum are reported to be the source plant of galangal. However they have been referred to as greater galangal or galanga major (A. galanga) and galangal minor or lesser galangal (A. officinarum) in most of the publications on medicinal plants. A. galanga rhizome is also used as the source plant of another Ayurvedic drug ‘Rasna’ through the South India . A large quantity of the drug is sold in the Indian crude drug markets under the name ‘Bach’, source plant of which is Acorus calamus Linn.
Morphology:Tender perennial herb, aromatic, up to 2.5m high with 1.0m spread; with thick fragrant tuberous rootstocks, resembling the scent of ginger, from which the new shoots sprout in the spring .Leaves linear- lanceolate, alternating, produced on reedy stems with fringed borders 15-25x3-6 cm ; white sheath, long ligule rounded . Inflorescence racemose, tubular flowers bisexual, produced in pendulous panicles on a separate leafless peduncle, with large ovate white bracts, perianth tremors , one stamen and three carples, red in color with whitish pink or yellow labellum, The fruits are red berries; seeds obtusely angular and aromatic.
Histology:Transverse section of the rhizome shows the epidermal cells which are covered by a thick smooth cuticle. The cells are anticlinal with straight moderately thick almost beaded cell walls. The outer cortex consists of two or three layers of more or less collapsed small cells that contain pigments. The inner cortex consists of large rounded to oval parenchymatous cells with various sizes. The majority of cells are densely starch-filled and the grains are club-shaped slightly curved somewhat flattened and the smaller grains are ovoid or rounded. Interspersed throughout the cortex are numerous cells partially or completely filled with dark reddish-brown amorphous masses. Few cells contain pale yellowish volatile oil. Vascular bundles exist throughout the cortex and they contain angular-shaped vessels that are reticulately and spirally thickened. The endodermis consists of small uniform parenchymatous starchfree cells and the cells of the pericycle are small and collapsed.(Anonymous1996; Bisset 2001) .
Geographical distribution:Tropical plant from South East Asia,India, China and now widely distributed in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world ; more recently it is cultivated in US, India and South East asia.
ECOLOGICAL ASPECT:The rhizome has been shown to have weak antimalarial activity in mice.
Administration:Kulanjana powder is used against bad breath as a mouth freshener.
Clinical trials:Scheffer, J.J.C. & Jansen, P.C.M., 1999. Alpinia galanga (L.) Willd.[Internet] Record from Proseabase. de Guzman, C.C. and Siemonsma, J.S. (Editors). PROSEA (Plant Resources of South-East Asia) Foundation, Bogor, Indonesia
Precautions:information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.
Toxicity studies:information is limited
Use in other system of medicine:Galangal was known to the ancient Indians, and has been in the West since the Middle ages. Its stimulant and tonic properties are recognized by the Arabs who ginger up their horses with it, and by the Tartars, who take it in tea. In the East, it is taken powdered as a snuff, and is used in perfumery
CONCLUSION:Galangal is a reed-like perennial herb with stems growing up to 1 m high that are covered by sheaths of narrow lanceolate leaves. Its inflorescence is a short raceme of white flowers that are veined and shaded in dull red. The plant has been cultivated for the rhizomes in India, China, and Southeast Asia. Galangal rhizomes appear on the market as branched or simple rhizome fragments with wavy, reddish-brown annulations of the leaf bases that have an aromatic, spicy, and pungent odor and flavor. Galangal is from the same family as ginger, the Zingiberaceae, but the species are not equivalent, and also should not be confused with the unrelated "galingale" from the genus Cyperus.
Ayurvedic Formulations:Common Ayurvedic Formulations of malayavach with their Indications
Pothin Dravakam - Attin Brath is a general medicine to increase strength, vitality and stamina.
KEY WORDS: malayavach Alpinia galanga Willd., Alpinia calcarata
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