Abstract, ScienceDirect, 2006
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. Data on production, consumption and trade individually are not reliable because traders make no distinction between A. galanga, A. calcarata and A. officinarum; all the three are used as the source plants for the Ayurvedic raw drug “raasna.” India is a major supplier along with Thailand and Indonesia, however, its volatile oil attracts more international interest because of its high medicinal value. Galangalis a native of Indonesia though the exact origin is not known, but has become naturalized in many parts of South and South-East Asian countries. Oldest reports about its use and existence are from Southern China and Java. It is of frequent occurrence in the sub-Himalayan region of Bihar, West Bengal and Assam. Currently, A. galanga is cultivated in all South-East Asian countries, India, Bangladesh, China and Surinam. It shows exuberant growth along the eastern Himalayas and in southwest India and is cultivated throughout the Western Ghats. India exports galangal in different forms. Production in South East Asia must be considerable as it is a common spice used daily by millions of people; however, no reliable data are available. It is mostly cultivated in home gardens and organized plantations do not exist. The main suppliers are Thailand, Indonesia and India.