Galangal root has antiseptic and antiviral properties and it also increases circulation. This makes it useful in topical preparations such as Bloodroot Salve. The botanical name is Alpinia officinarum, and it is a member of the ginger family. It is also known as lesser galangal.
Both the herb and the name originated in China. It is mainly found in South-East Asia. Galangal is a food flavoring and spice used in recipes across Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia. It has also been recognized for its medicinal properties since ancient times, especially in the Middle East and India. The galangal plant is imported in great quantities to Europe for its medicinal properties and culinary use. There are four main types of the galangal plant. These include greater galangal, lesser galangal, sand ginger, and Chinese ginger. It can grow several feet high, with long leaves and reddish-white flowers.
Beyond common use as a flavoring, aromatic stimulant, carminative, and traditional use to treat children’s respiratory complaints, galangal species show promise as antifungals, hypotensives, and enhancers of sperm count and motility. Antitumor and antidementia effects have been observed in rodents. Galanga contains a greenish-yellow volatile oil containing cineol, eugenol, sesquiterpenes, isomers of cadinene, a resin containing galangol, kaempferide, galangin, as well as starch and other constituents. Recent studies reveal several flavonoids. (Source) Dried galangal root, also known as Gao Liang Jiang herb, is the most important raw material in famous Chinese medicine of Ertianyou balm, universal oil, menthocamphorate (cooling oil), and Tiger balm. A 100% decoction of galangal root shows antibacterial effects on bacillus anthracis, hemolytic streptococcus, diphtheria and diphtheroid bacilli, pneumococcus, staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus, and other gram positive bacteria. (Source)