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Do you know the Essential Oil of Galangal?

Updated: Jul 14, 2021

Family: Zingiberaceae

Origin: India, Indonesia, Thailand, and southern China.

Plant description: Herbaceous perennial, tropical evergreen perennial with a thick aromatic rhizome. Each plant typically grows to 6' tall in a clump of stalks clad with long green leaves. It has greenish-white orchid-shaped flowers with dark red-veined tips.

Part of plant used for essential oil: Rhizome or root

Method of extraction: Steam distillation or CO2 extraction

Main chemical constituents: According to the country of origin, there is a significant variance in the chemotypes and chemistry, harvest time, climatic and seasonal variations. Galangal rhizome from southern India contained 1–8-cineole (30.3%), camphor (5-14%), α-terpineol (2.3-9.53%), α-fenchyl acetate (1.1-12.7 %), and (E) methyl cinnamate (2.6-5.3%).

Galangal rhizome from Indonesia had higher α and β-pinene (18.6%) and 1–8,cineole (47.3%).

Galangal rhizome from Yunnan, China, contained α-pinene (10.89%), camphene (4.14%)

β-pinene (14.36%), 1–8-cineole (22.63%), fenchol (1.72%), borneol (8.41%), α-terpineol (8.59%), and gerinol (2.13%).

PRECAUTIONS: It is non-toxic, non-irritating, and non-sensitizing. No contraindications are known.

PROPERTIES: Analgesic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiseptic, bactericidal, carminative, diaphoretic, stimulant, stomachic, and gastroprotective.

Middle note essential oil.


Digestive: Reduces flatulence, dyspepsia, and nausea, colic, aids in digestion, gallbladder and liver complaints, a natural laxative.

Nervous system: Reduces fatigue, helps strengthen Zhi (willpower), improves sleep.

Musculoskeletal: Helps relieve low back pain, reduces rheumatoid arthritis and arthritis, joint and muscle stiffness.

Respiratory: Reduces bronchitis, colds, asthma, and flu.

Galangal Root Essential Oil is also known as false ginger. It is used mostly in Asia in foods as a delicious spice and an additive to many soups. They boil down the root to make a special tea to help prevent air-borne diseases and bacteria. The Turks used the plant in the 13th century for preparing tea. The oil is considered to have magical properties useful for warding off evil spirits and attracting wealth.


Battaglia, Salvatore. “Galangal.” The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. Black Pepper Creative, 2018, pp.312-315.

Many thanks to Kerry Adams, L.P. N., for sharing this materia aromatica profile. She has worked in various settings, including geriatric and end of life, working with developmentally disabled individuals, and won awards for her dedication and service. She is the mother of an autistic child & volunteers with a non-profit autism group whose focus is on enhancing the lives of those on the spectrum and creating a supportive and inclusive community. Her passion is to help people on the spectrum improve their quality of life by utilizing aromatherapy. This inspiration has led her to become a clinical aromatherapy mastery program student with Aroma Apothecary Healing Arts Academy.


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