Galangal is a root that looks like ginger and is a part of the ginger family. It is grown in several parts of Asia and in fact it is a staple herb in Thai cooking. The best part of galangal is that it is known to be very much healthy and is known to treat various kinds of cancers. Galangal is also known as the cancer fighting herb because it has shown to fight several types of cancer quite effectively. Now, let us explore more of this cancer fight herb in the following array of the article.
Know-About Galangal And Its Nutritional Facts:
Just like turmeric and ginger, galangal can also be eaten fresh or cooked and it is widely known to be added in several Chinese, Malaysian, Indonesian, and Thai dishes.(2)
Though galangal looks like ginger, it is not as spicy as ginger. Galangal is known to improve several kinds of health ailments, treat infections and inflammation, enhance male fertility, and most importantly fight several types of cancer.
Now, talking about the nutritional facts of galangal, 100 grams of the galangal root offers 71 calories, 15 grams of carbohydrate, 2 grams of fiber, 1 gram of protein, 1 gram of fat, and 5.4 grams of vitamin C.
Galangal: The Cancer Fighting Herb
Galangal or Alpinia officinarum is a traditional oriental spice and is also used in traditional medicine. Galangin is a flavonol that is derived from this galangal root and it exerts anticancer effects of various types of cancers. Galangin exerts anticancer effects in colon cancer cells(3) as well as in melanoma cells.(4)
Test-tube studies have suggested that galangin found in galangal might kill cancer cells as well as prevent these cancerous cells from spreading.(5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
A study has highlighted the ability of the galangal root to kill 2 strains of human colon cancer cells. There are also several studies which suggest it might be beneficial in fighting breast cancer, skin cancer, bile duct cancer, and liver cancer cells.
Though the test-tube finding are promising, more research in humans is required.
Beneficial Effects of Galangal In Fighting Several Types Of Cancers:
Here we will take a look on some of the types of cancers that are affected by galangal.
- Leukemia: Acute monocytic leukemia cells, or a fast-moving leukemia that generally begins in the bone marrow, were exposed to a liquid galangal extract so as to find a natural cancer treatment that would actually not damage adjoining cells, such as in case of dangerous chemotherapy. The researchers in Jamaica that were conducting the study have indicated that this could be a really potential treatment for such form of leukemia, and that is something that the scientists explained quite strongly.(10) However, this study was just the beginning, and more research is required to be done so as to examine the beneficial effects of galangal on leukemia cells.
- Melanoma: There are also studies that link galangal’s effects on melanoma. Researchers at the National Chiayi University in Taiwan had studied the impact of 3 compounds found in the galangal root on skin cancer or the human melanoma cells.(11) They found that all the 3 compounds had an ‘antiproliferative” effect, thus they stopped the growth of new cells.
- Gastric Cancer: Galangal root has also got significant impact on the gastric cancer. It was found from a study of 2014 in Iran that a liquid extract of galangal root destroyed the number of gastric cells in a laboratory test after 48 hours significantly.(12)
- Colon Cancer: Galangal root can also be used for colon cancer. It was studied for the first time against human colon cancer cells in the year 2013; and scientists found that the galangal root resulted in apoptosis or cell death on 2 types of colon cancer cells.(13)
- Pancreatic Cancer: A study that was released in the year 2017 tested multiple compounds from this root in the laboratory and their impact on the pancreatic cancer cells. It was found that these compounds from the galangal root stopped the growth of new cells and also suppressed gene pathways that are responsible for expanding the impact of cancer in the body.(14)
- Liver or Hepatic Cancer: One reason why cancer is so devastating to our body is the way it actually spreads or metastasizes to other organs from where the cancer originates; and this is particularly true with liver cancer. A Taiwan study conducted in the year 2015 investigating the impact of galangal root extracted compounds on a type of liver cancer known as HepG2, found that the natural compounds found in it reduced the instance of metastasis by stopping the cells from attaching to any other healthy cell.(15) In one more study related to liver cancer, combination therapy was used along with galangal and more common therapy agents; thus producing an apoptotic effect more significant than actually displayed by the individual therapies.
- Breast Cancer: In the year 2014, an Iranian University detailed that a galangal extract, spawned apoptosis in human breast cancer cell line, the MCF-7; however, it did not harm the healthy breast cells, the MRC-5.(16) So, we known that galangal root has its significant impact on breast cancer.
- Bile Duct Cancer: Bile duct cancer is also known as Cholangiocarcinoma. This form of cancer is rare in the United States, however; it is an aggressive cancer and infects the bile ducts that connects the liver to the small intestine. It impacts individuals more commonly in the sub-tropical and tropical regions; especially in Thailand.
The Kaempferol rhizome extract from the root was tested in a study during 2017 in Thailand and it appeared to give mice (the subjects in the study) longer spans of life, less incidence of metastasis and also did not produce any sort of noticeable side effects on the mice.(17)
So, we already know that galangal is a part of ginger family and is originated from Thailand and China and is one of the most widely researched roots for its beneficial effects in fighting several types of cancers and thus it can be considered as one of the best cancer fighting herb. With all these beneficial effects of galangal in treating various types of cancers, it is a must to add to your diet.