Introduction of Gao Liang Jiang:Lesser Galangal Rhizome or Rhizoma Alpiniae Officinarum.

TCM Herbalism:Medicinals and Classifications. ✵The article gives records of the herb Lesser Galangal Rhizome, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its botanical source one plant species, ①.Alpinia officinarum Hance., with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of this plant species, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of this plant species, the features of the herb Lesser Galangal Rhizome, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Rhizoma Alpiniae Officinarum(Lesser Galangal Rhizome).

Rhizoma Alpiniae Officinarum Pin Yin Name: Gāo Liánɡ Jiānɡ.
 English Name: Lesser Galangal Rhizome.
 Latin Name: Rhizoma Alpiniae Officinarum.
 Property and flavor: hot, pungent.

 Brief introduction: The herb Rhizoma Alpiniae Officinarum is the dried rhizome of Alpinia officinarum Hance, used to warm the stomach for relieving gastralgia and vomiting due to cold. The herb is commonly known as Rhizoma Alpiniae Officinarum, Lesser Galangal Rhizome, Gāo Liánɡ Jiānɡ.

 Botanical source: Herbal classic book defined the herb Rhizoma Alpiniae Officinarum (Lesser Galangal Rhizome) as the dried rhizome of (1). Alpinia officinarum Hance. It is a plant of the Alpinia Genus, the Zingiberaceae family (ginger family), Zingiberales order. This commonly used species is introduced:

(1).Alpinia officinarum Hance.


 Alpinia officinarum Hance.:growing plants Botanical description: Alpinia officinarum Hance is commonly known as Gāo Liánɡ Jiānɡ. A perennial herb, the plant grows up to 30~110 cm high. The rhizome is cylindrical, amphitropous, red-brown, 1~1.5 cm in diameter, has nodes, nodes have circinal (ring-like) membraneous scales, and roots grow on nodes. Stems are tufty, upright. Petioles are sessile or subsessile; leaf blades are linear-lanceolate, 15~30 cm long, 1.5~2.5 cm wide, the apex is acuminate or caudate, the base is narrowing, entire, both surfaces are glabrous; leaf sheath opens, amplexicaular (amplexicaul), has membraneous edges; paraphyll (ligule) is membraneous, 2~3 cm long, not crack.

 Racemes are apical, upright, 6~15 cm long, rachides (inflorescence axis) are tomentose; the calyx is terete (tube-shape), the tube is 8~14 mm long, apex is irregularly 3-lobed, corolla tube is funnelform (funnel-shaped), about 1 cm long, corolla has three lobules, oblong, the labellum is oval (egg-shaped), white and has red stripes, about 2 cm long; lateral staminode is subuliform; 1 developed stamen, about 1.6 cm long, grow over the corolla throat; the ovary is 3-loculed, densely tomentose, style is thin and long, under the base there are 2 connate cylindrical nectarium (nectar glands), stigma is bilabiate.

 Capsularfruits are spheric shape (globular), not split, about 1.2 cm in diameter, tomentose, and turn salmon pink (orange red) at maturity. Seeds have arils, obtuse edges and corners, and are brown. Its flowering period is from April to September, and the fruiting period is from August to November.

 Ecological environment: The plant grows in bushes on the barren hill or in open forests, or cultivated. The plant is distributed in the Zhujiang river area, Hainan, Taiwan, and southwest areas of China.

 Growth characteristics: The plant Alpinia officinarum prefers a warm and moist climate. It is advisable to choose fields with deep soil layers, fertile and loose sandy loam with good drainage for cultivation.

 Lesser Galangal Rhizome:herb photo Characters of herbs: The rhizome of the herb is cylindrical, mostly is curved and branched, 4~9 cm long, and 1~1.5 cm in diameter. The surface is brownish-red or dust-colour (darkish brown), has fine longitudinal wrinkles and taupe brown ring nodes, the internodes are 0.5~1 cm long, and there are round root marks on the undersurface. The texture of the herb is tough and pliable, not easy to break, the fracture surface is taupe brown (grayish-brown) or brick red (reddish-brown), fibrous, the endothelial ring is obvious, and has scattered vascular bundle marks. The herb has a fragrant odor, and it tastes spicy and hot.

 The herb of a better grade has few branches, reddish-brown, with a strong aroma and spicy taste.

 Brief history and stories: The genus Alpinia was named by Plumier (Charles Plumier, 1646–1704, French and Italian botanist, the author of a massive work Nova Plantarum Americanarum Genera, 1703–04, and was appointed botanist to King Louis XIV of France.) after Prospero Alpino, a famous Italian botanist of the early seventeenth century. The name Galangal is derived from a perversion of a Chinese word meaning "mild ginger". The galangal has been known in Europe for seven centuries longer than its botanical origin, for it was only recognized in 1870, when specimens were examined that had been found near Tung-sai, in the extreme south of China, and later, on the island of Hainan, just opposite. The name of Alpinia officinarum was given to the herb, as the botanical source of Lesser Galangal.

 The Greater Galangal is a native of Java (A. Galanga or Maranta Galanga), and is much larger, orange-brown, has a feebler taste and odour. It is occasionally seen at London herb sales, but is scarcely ever used. There is also a resemblance to A. calcarata. The herb grows to a height about 5 feet (1.52 meters), the leaves are long, rather narrow blades, and the flowers, of curious formation, growing in a simple, terminal spike, the petals are white, with deep-red veining distinguishing the lip petal.

 The branched pieces of rhizome are from 1 and 1/2 to 3 inches (3.81~7.62 cm) in length, and seldom more than 3/4 inch thick. They are cut while fresh and the pieces are usually cylindrical, marked at short intervals by narrow, whitish, somewhat raised rings, which are the scars left by former leaves. They are dark reddish-brown externally, and the section shows a dark center surrounded by a wider, paler layer which becomes darker in drying.

 Lesser Galangal Rhizome The herb's odor is aromatic and tastes pungent and spicy. The herb is tough and difficult to break, and the fracture is granular, has small, ligneous fibers interspersed throughout one side. The root has been used in Europe as a spice for over a thousand years, having probably been introduced by Greek physicians, but it has now largely gone out of use. Closely resembling ginger, it is used in East European countries too: it is a favorite spice and medicine in Lithuania and Esthonia, used for flavoring vinegar and the liqueur 'nastoika', barbarians prepare a kind of tea that contains it, and it is used by brewers. The reddish-brown powder is used as snuff, and in South Asia, the oil is valued in perfumery.

 The Alpinia officinarum Hance is a perennial plant of the Zingiberaceae family. The root is much like ginger, and it is used into Curry's, stew and every dish where ginger is used. Harvested at the turn of summer and autumn, the rhizome that has grown for 4 to 6 years is dug up and picked for use. Procedure: remove the stems, fibrous roots and remaining scales above the ground from the rhizome, wash it clean, cut it into segments and dry it in the sun for use when raw.

 Pharmacological actions: ①.promote the secretion of gastric juice, antidiarrhoea, analgesic effect; ②.antithrombotic, anticoagulant and antiplatelet aggregation effects. Rhizoma Alpiniae Officinarum ether extraction had no anti-hypoxia effect; ③.different degree of inhibition on Bacillus anthracis, alpha-hemolytic streptococcus, beta-hemolytic streptococcus, bacillus diphtheriae, and diphtheroid bacillus, pneumococcus, staphylococcus aureus, staphylococcus alba, etc.

 Medicinal efficacy: Warming the stomach and disperses cold, dispelling wind, promoting the circulation of Qi, regulating Qi and relieving pain, aid digestion and relieving pain. It is indicated for epigastric cold pain, cold in the spleen and stomach,  vomiting and cold stomach, belching and acid swallowing, vomiting and diarrhea, choke vomiting and regurgitation, dyspeptic retention, malignant malaria, cold fetish, etc.

 Administration of Rhizoma Alpiniae Officinarum (Gāo Liánɡ Jiānɡ): 
 
Reference: Administration Guide of Rhizoma Alpiniae Officinarum (Gāo Liánɡ Jiānɡ)
TCM Books: ①.Internally:3~6 grams; ②.Internally:water decoction, 0.5~1 qian (about 1.5~3 grams), or prepare to pill,powder; ③.Internally:water decoction, 3~6 grams, prepared to pill, powder.

 

 
  

 

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References:
  • 1.Introduction of Gao Liang Jiang:Lesser Galangal Rhizome or Rhizoma Alpiniae Officinarum.

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