Alpinia officinarum Hance - Zingiberaceae - galangal, Chinese ginger, lesser galangal, Echter Galgant, Kleiner Galgant
Perennial herb, up to 1.50m high, native to South China, Hainan, cultivated in South China, Hainan, Vietnam, Thailand, India; rhizome hard, much-branched, with red-brown cork; leaves narrow lanceolate, up to 2cm wide and 30cm long; panicles with beautiful white, red-streaked, two-lipped flowers; fruit a capsule.
„The galangal rhizomes were widely used in ancient and medieval Europe, where they were reputed to smell of roses and taste of spice.“ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpinia_officinarum
Fresh and dried rhizomes of A.officinarum (Galangae rhizoma) are used as carminative, digestive tonic, and anti-emetic. „The main medicinal use of galangal is as a stomachic to treat dyspepsia and appetite loss. Galangal is a popular ingredient in Chinese cooking and is traditionally used in China as a medicine against indigestion, stomach pain, nausea and hiccups… Galangal is highly aromatic and contains essential oil (0.5-1%)… Galangal has proven antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antimycotic properties. The diarylheptanoids (and also the phenyl alkyl ketones) are known to inhibit prostaglandin biosynthesis.“
[Medicinal Plants of the World. Ben-Erik Van Wyk and Michael Wink, Pretoria 2004, 43]
„The essential oils from fresh and dried rhizomes of galanga (Alpinia officinarum Hance) were obtained by hydrodistillation… In the fresh rhizome, the main components (over 1.0% in content) were 1,8-cineole (50.0%), exo-2-hydroxy-1,8-cineole acetate (11.2%), β-caryophyllene (6.4%), α- and β-pinenes (1.7 and 2.6 %), β-bisabolene (2.6%), chavicol (2.0%), limonene (2.0%), 4-terpineol (1.6%), chavicol acetate (1.2%), and methyl eugenol (1.0%). On drying the rhizome, the monoterpene fraction (including hydrocarbon and oxygenated compounds) decreased in content, and the sesquiterpene and aromatic compound fractions increased. Major components of the oil from dried rhizome (over 2.0% in content) were β-bisabolene (9.6%), 1,8-cineole (8.2%), chavicol acetate (5.9%), chavicol (5.3%), eugenyl acetate (3.7%), α-farnesene (3.3%), methyl eugenol (3.3%), β-caryophyllene (2.9%), α-bisabolol (2.6%), spathulenol (2.5%), farnesyl acetate (2.4%), 4-hydroxycinnamyl acetate (2.3%).“
[Volatile components of the essential oils in Galanga (Alpinia officinarum Hance) from Vietnam.,Ly, T.N., Yamauchi, R., Kato, K., Food Science and Technology Research, Vol.7(4), 2001, 303-306]
The diarylheptenone 7-(4′-hydroxy-3′-methoxyphenyl)-1-phenylhept-4-en-3-one [HMP] owns anti-inflammatory properties in vitro model systems of inflammation. „We demonstrate that HMP suppresses the LPS-induced proinflammatory cytokines (IL-1β and TNF-α) production from human PBMCs and NO production from mouse macrophage cells (RAW 264.7). HMP also inhibits LPS induced iNOS and COX-2 mRNA and protein expression. Furthermore, we show that HMP reduces the activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) p44/42 and NF-κB DNA binding activity induced by LPS.“
[A diarylheptanoid from lesser galangal (Alpinia officinarum) inhibits proinflammatory mediators via inhibition of mitogen-activated protein kinase, p44/42, and transcription factor nuclear factor-κB., Yadav, P. N., Liu, Z., Rafi, M.M., Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Vol.305(3), 2003, 925-931]
„Rhizoma Alpiniae Officinarum (RAO), the dry root and rhizome of Alpinia officinarum Hance, is a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) mainly distributed in southern China. RAO has long been used in practice for its antioxidation, antidiabetic, anti-ulcer, anti-diarrhea, antiemetic, analgesia, anti-inflammatory and anticoagulation effects… Flavonoids, volatile components and diarylheptanoids are reported as the main constituents of RAO and volatile components contribute a lot to those bioactivities.
Main compounds [of RAO, extracted by hydrodistillation] were presented as follows: α-farnesene (19.68%), γ-muurolene (13.33%), p-menth-1-en-8-ol ([alpha-terpineol] 10.16%), eucalyptol (6.00%), 2,6-dimethyl-6-(4-methyl-3-pentenyl)bicyclo[3.1.1]hept-2-ene (5.01%), isocaryophillene (3.97%), cadinol (3.23%), cadina-1(10),4-diene (3.21%) and caryophyllene (2.76%).
Thirty-two volatile compounds from RAO [extracted by HS-SPME] were identified by GC/MS. Their peak areas occupied 91.02% of the total and the major components included α-farnesene (25.37%), γ-muurolene (14.02%), eucalyptol (7.59%), 2,6-dimethyl-6-(4-methyl-3-pentenyl)bicy- clo[3.1.1]hept-2-ene (7.05%), p-menth-1-en-8-ol (6.68%), isocaryophillene (4.35%), cadina-1 (10),4-diene (3.89%), caryophyllene (3.05%) and (Z,Z,Z)-1,5,9,9-tetramethyl-1,4,7-cycloundecatriene (2.73%).“
[Volatile components of Rhizoma Alpiniae Officinarum using three different extraction methods combined with gas chromatography–mass spectrometry., Xie, Z.S., Xu, X.J., Xie, C.Y., Huang, J.Y., Yang, M., Yang, D. P., Journal of Pharmaceutical Analysis, Vol.3(3), 2013, 215-220]
Kohl,F.G., Die officinellen Pflanzen der Pharmacopoea Germanica, t.18 (1891-1895)