Table of Contents > Herbs & Supplements > Alpinia spp. Print

Alpinia spp.


Also listed as: Lesser galangal
Related terms

Related Terms
  • 1'S-1'-acetoxychavicol acetate, Adkham, Alpinae oxyphyllae, Alpinetin, Alpinia allughas, Alpinia blepharocalyx, Alpinia calcarata Roscoe, Alpinia conchigera, alpinia epoxide, Alpinia flabellata, Alpinia formosana, Alpinia galanga, Alpinia galanga Wild, Alpínia galangová (Slovak), Alpinia hainanensis, Alpinia henryi, Alpinia japonica, Alpinia javanica, Alpinia jianganfeng, Alpinia katsumadai, Alpinia katsumadai Hayata, Alpinia kumatake Makino, Alpínia liecivá (Slovak), Alpinia mutica, alpinia nigra, Alpinia nutans, alpinia officinalis, Alpinia officinarum, Alpinia officinarum Hance, Alpinia oxyphylla Miquel, Alpinia pupurata, Alpinia rafflesiana, Alpinia sanderae, Alpinia smithiae, Alpinia speciosa, Alpinia speciosa Schum, Alpinia tonkinensis, Alpinia zerumbet, Alpiniae fructus, Alpinija, Arrata, Arattai, baidukou, beta-sitosterol glucoside, blepharcalyxins A and B, calyxin H, calyxin I, caodoukou, Cao khuong huong, Cao luong khuong, cardamonin, catarrh root, chewing john, China root, Chinese ginger, colic root, colonia, colony, Da gao liang jiang, daaih gou lèuhng geung, dehydrokawain, diaryhepatanoids, Djus rishe, Dok kha, East India catarrh root, East India root, epicalyxin F, epicalyxin H, fingerroot, galanga, galanga maggiore, Galangagyökér (Hungarian), galangal, galangal root, galangarot, galangin, galango, galanki, galgán (Czech), galgán lekársky (Czech), galgán obecný (Czech), galgán veliký (Czech), galgán vetsí (Czech), galgant, galigaan, gao liang, gao liang jiang, garanga, gargaut, gengibre do laos, gengibre tailandés (Portuguese), gettou, ginza, gou lèuhng geung, greater galangal, großer Galgant (German), gingerol, grote galanga (Dutch), havlican, hong dou kou (Chinese), hùhng dáu kau, India root, jouz rishe (Persian), junça ordinária (Portuguese), kacchuramu, kalgan, kalkán, kallengal, khaa, kha ta deng, khaa-ling, khulanjan, kolinjan, koshtkulinjan, kulanja, kulanjam, kulinjan, langkwas, Languas, languas speciosa, laos, lengkuas, lengoewas, lesser galangal, lèuhng geung, liang jiang, little john chew, madeng, mot loai gung, nankyo, nootkatol, orchid ginger, pa de gaw gyi, padagoji, palla, pras sva, puar, punnagchampa, rasmi, rasna, red ginger, Renealmia alpinia, rhizomes, Rhizoma Galangae, rieng, rieng nep, romdeng, sannadumparashtramu, saan geung, sga-skya, shall-flower, shan jiang, shellflower, shell ginger, Siamese ginger, siam-Ingwer, small shell ginger, son nai, souchet long, souchet odorant, suur kalganirohi, Thai alpinia galangal, variegated ginger, wild ginger, yakuchinone A and B, Zingiberaceae (family).
  • Note: Alpinia should not be confused with ginger (Zingiber officinale).

  • Alpinia is a large genus from the ginger plant family. Alpinia has been known in Europe for several centuries longer than its botanical origin. It was 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.
  • Traditional uses have included treatment of gas, stomach upset, vomiting, high blood pressure, stomach complaints, and sea sickness.
  • Alpinia has been studied for its effects on increasing urine flow. Although alpinia is generally believed to be well-tolerated, safety is not well studied. Currently, there is insufficient available scientific evidence for or against the use of alpinia for any condition.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *

A mixture of herbs containing alpinia has been successful in stopping bleeding during surgeries and other conditions. Further research assessing alpinia alone is needed to draw conclusions.


Limited evidence suggests that the extract of alpinia may increase urine flow. More studies are needed in this area to draw conclusions.


Alpinia, also known as Chinese ginger, has been studied in combination with another ginger species for the treatment of osteoarthritis, or joint disease. Although alpinia shows promise for the reduction in knee pain, more studies using alpinia alone are needed to draw conclusions.

* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)

Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Allergic disorders, Alzheimer's disease, anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction), antibiotic, antifungal, antihypertensive, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-parasitic, antispasmodic (suppresses spasms), antivenom, arthritis, blood thinner, cancer, cancer treatment side-effects, dementia, diabetes, expectorant (loosens mucus), fever, gas, gut disorders, , heart disease, heartburn, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, immune stimulant, inflammation, insect repellant, insecticide, intestinal disorders, leukemia (blood cancer), nausea and vomiting, nervous system disorders, pain, Parkinson's disease, sea sickness, skin disorders, snake bites, stimulant, ulcers, vasorelaxant (dilation of veins), vomiting (inducing), wound healing.


Adults (18 years and older)

  • A typical dose of alpinia is 2-4 grams of the herb per day or one cup of the tea, 30 minutes before meals. The tea is prepared by steeping 0.5-1 gram in 150 milliliters hot water for 10 minutes and then straining.
  • To increase the flow of urine, 0.8 gram of Alpinia speciosa in 100 milliliters of water over seven days has been taken by mouth.

Children (younger than 18 years)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for alpinia in children.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.


  • Avoid in patients with known allergy to alpinia or the ginger plant family.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Alpinia is likely safe when taken by mouth in amounts commonly found in foods.
  • Alpinia may increase the risk of clotting. Caution is advised in people with bleeding disorders or taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
  • Alpinia may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in people with diabetes or hypoglycemia, and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may need to be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, and medication adjustments may be necessary.
  • Alpinia may lower blood pressure. Caution is advised in people taking agents that lower blood pressure.
  • Use cautiously in people with electrolyte imbalance, skin conditions, stomach or intestinal conditions.
  • Use cautiously in individuals taking agents that affect the nervous system, agents that affect the immune system, or agents that affect stomach acid.
  • Avoid in people with known allergy to alpinia or to members of the ginger plant family.
  • Avoid in children or women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Alpinia may also cause abnormally slow movements, elevated red blood cell levels, increased sperm motility and sperm counts, increased time asleep, increased urine production, itching, psychomotor excitation, reduced muscular force responses, skin tissue damage, stomach or intestine complaints, weight gain of sexual organs, and writhing.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Avoid in pregnant or breastfeeding women due lacking available scientific data.


Interactions with Drugs

  • Alpinia may increase the risk of clotting when taken with drugs that affect bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants (blood thinners) such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®).
  • Alpinia may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may also lower blood sugar. People taking drugs for diabetes by mouth or insulin should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
  • Alpinia may lower blood pressure. Caution is advised in people taking agents that lower blood pressure.
  • Alpinia may also interact with agents for vomiting, agents that affect blood vessel width, agents that affect the immune system, agents that affect the nervous system, agents that affect the skin, agents that affect the stomach and intestines, agents that increase urine flow, Alzheimer's agents, antacids, antibiotics, anticancer agents, antifungals, antihistamines, anti-inflammatories, antimicrobials, antiparkinsonians, H2 antagonists, insecticides, leukotriene modifiers, pain relievers, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), and sedatives.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Alpinia may increase the risk of clotting when taken with herbs and supplements that are believed to affect bleeding. Multiple cases of bleeding have been reported with the use of Ginkgo biloba, and fewer cases with garlic and saw palmetto. Numerous other agents may theoretically increase the risk of bleeding, although this has not been proven in most cases.
  • Alpinia may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also lower blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may require monitoring, and doses may need adjustment.
  • Alpinia may lower blood pressure. Caution is advised in people taking agents that lower blood pressure.
  • Alpinia may also interact with Alzheimer's herbs and supplements, antacids, antibacterials, anticancer herbs and supplements, antifungals, antihistamines, anti-inflammatories, antimicrobials, antioxidants, antiparkinsonians, gastric acid-reducing herbs and supplements, herbs and supplements for vomiting, herbs and supplements that affect blood vessel width, herbs and supplements that affect the immune system, herbs and supplements that affect the nervous system, herbs and supplements that affect the skin, herbs and supplements that affect the stomach and intestines, herbs and supplements that increase urine flow, insecticides, pain relievers, and sedatives.

  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (

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Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (

The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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