Scientific name: Alpinia officinarum

Common names: Catarrh root, Galanga, Galingal, greater or lesser

Ayurvedic names: Rasna

Chinese names: Gao liang jiang

Bangladesh names: Kulanjan

Arabic names:    الخولنجان (al khawlanjaan)

Rain Forest names:

Family: Zingiberaceae

Approximate number of species known:

Common parts used: Root

Collection:  Root collected in late summer, and early Autumn

Annual/Perennial: Perennial

Height: 3 to 5 feet

Actions: Stimulant, carminative

Known Constituents: Galangol, kaempferol, galangin, alpinin

Constituents Explained:


Often grown in China, this herb is used less than it was in yesteryear.  

Traditional Use:

Has the unique action of being a stimulant while calming the nervous system.  Used for motion sickness.

A relative of ginger?

Clinical Studies:

The smaller galangal is extracted, purified and identified the bioactive compounds. The purpose of this research was to investigate whether these isolated compounds have antibacterial and synergistic activity against amoxicillin-resistant Escherichia coli (AREC) when used singly and in combination with amoxicillin. The primarily mode of action is also studied.

The galangin, kaempferide and kaempferide-3-O-β-d-glucoside were isolated. The minimum inhibitory concentrations(MIC) of amoxicillin and these flavonoids against AREC were between 500 and >1000 μg ml.

Synergistic activity was observed on combining amoxicillin with these flavonoids. The combinations of amoxicillin and these flavonoids exhibited a synergistic effect, reducing AREC cell numbers. 

Electron microscopy showed that these combinations damaged the ultrastructure of AREC cells. The results indicated that these combinations altered outer membrane permeability but not affecting cytoplasmic membrane. 

Enzyme assays showed that these flavonoids had an inhibitory activity against penicillinase. These results indicated that these flavonoids have the potential to reverse bacterial resistance to amoxicillin in AREC and may operate via three mechanisms: inhibition of peptidoglycan and ribosome synthesis, alteration of outer membrane permeability, and interaction with β-lactamases.

These findings offer the potential to develop a new generation of phytopharmaceuticals to treat AREC.


Eumkeb G, Siriwong S, Phitaktim S, Rojtinnakorn N, Sakdarat S. “Synergistic Activity And Mode Of Action Of Flavooids Isolated From Smaller Galangal And Amoxicillin Combinations Against Amoxicillin-Resistant Escherichia Coli.” 2012 January