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Alpinia (Alpinia galanga)

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Also listed as: Lesser galangal
Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • Adkham, Alpinetin, Alpinia allughas, Alpinia blepharocalyx, Alpinia calcarata Roscoe, Alpinia conchigera, alpinia epoxide, Alpinia flabellata, Alpinia formosana, Alpinia galanga, Alpinia galanga Wild, Alpínia galangová, Alpinia hainanensis, Alpinia henryi, Alpinia japonica, Alpinia javanica, Alpinia jianganfeng, Alpinia katsumadai, Alpinia katsumadai Hayata, Alpinia kumatake Makino, Alpínia liecivá, 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, 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, Djus rishe, Dok kha, East India catarrh root, East India root, epicalyxin F, epicalyxin H, fingerroot, galanga, galanga maggiore, Galangagyökér, galangal, galangal root, galangarot, galangin, galango, galanki, galgán, galgán lekársky, galgan obecný, galgán veliký, galgán vetsí, galgant, galigaan, gao liang, gao liang jiang, garanga, gargaut, gengibre do laos, gengibre tailandés, gettou, ginza, gou lèuhng geung, greater galangal, großer Galgant, grote galanga, havlican, hong dou kou, hùhng dáu kau, India root, jouz rishe, junça ordinária, kacchuramu, kalgan, kalkán, kallengal, khaa, kha ta deng, khaa-ling, khulanjan, kolinjan, koshtkulinjan, kulanja, kulanjam, kulinjan, langkwas, 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, 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, yakuchinone B, Zingiberaceae (family).
  • Note: Alpinia should not be confused with ginger (Zingiber officinale).

Background
  • Alpinia is a large genus from the ginger family (Zingiberaceae). 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 flatulence (gas), dyspepsia (stomach upset), vomiting, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal complaints, and sea sickness.
  • Alpinia has been studied for its diuretic (increasing urine flow) effects. Although alpinia is generally believed to be well-tolerated, safety is not well studied. Currently, there is not enough available scientific evidence for or against the use of alpinia for any indication.

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 *


Limited evidence suggests that extract of alpinia may increase diuresis (the secretion of urine). However, some laboratory studies contradict these findings and more studies are needed in this area.

C


Alpinia, also known as Chinese ginger, has been studied in combination with another ginger species for the treatment of osteoarthritis. Although alpinia shows promise for the reduction in knee pain, more studies using alpinia alone would strengthen the evidence for this indication.

C
* 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, anaphylaxis, antibiotic, antifungal, antihelminthic, antihypertensive (lowering high blood pressure), anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-parasitic, antiplatelet, antispasmodic, arthritis, cancer, cardiovascular disease, chemoprotectant, dementia, diabetes, dyspepsia (upset stomach), expectorant (expels phlegm), fever, flatulence (gas), gastrointestinal disorders, , hyperlipidemia, hypertension (high blood pressure), immune stimulant, inflammation, insect repellant, insecticide, intestinal disorders, leukemia, nausea and vomiting, neurologic disorders, pain, sea sickness, skin disorders, snake bites, stimulant, ulcers, vasorelaxant.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

  • Based on available scientific evidence, there is no proven safe or effective dosing for alpinia. 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 used.

Children (younger than 18 years)

  • There is currently not enough scientific evidence to recommend the use of alpinia in children.

Safety

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.

Allergies

  • Avoid in patients with known allergy to alpinia or the ginger (Zingiberaceae) family.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Alpinia is generally considered to be well-tolerated, with few adverse effects. Alpinia has Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status in the US, and is likely safe when taken by mouth in amounts commonly found in foods.
  • Decreased blood pressure, pruritus (itching), abnormally slow movements or alterations in movement, diuresis, and prolonged sleep time have been reported following use of Alpinia speciosa.
  • Adverse effects of taking Alpinia galanga may include decreased blood sugar levels or mild gastrointestinal complaints.
  • Elevated red blood cell levels have also been noted.
  • Caution is advised in patients with diabetes; in patients taking blood sugar-lowering medications; in patients with electrolyte imbalance; in patients with low blood pressure; or in patients with known allergy to the ginger (Zingiberaceae) family.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Alpinia is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to lack of available scientific evidence.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • Alpinia may increase stomach acid, and thus may decrease the effectiveness of antacids, including H2-blockers. Alpinia may also interact with proton pump inhibitor (PPIs). Caution is advised.
  • Small reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure have been associated with the use of alpinia. Caution is advised in patients taking medications that alter blood pressure due to the risk of additive effects. Consult with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, before taking alpinia.
  • Alpinia (Alpinia speciosa) may act as a diuretic and increase urine flow. Patients taking other medications that have a similar effect should use caution as an additive effect may occur. Alpinia may decrease blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes who are taking medications by mouth that alter blood sugar, or insulin. Consult with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, before taking alpinia.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Alpinia (Alpinia speciosa) may act as a diuretic and increase urine flow. Patients taking other herbs or supplements that have a similar effect should use caution as an additive effect may occur.
  • Alpinia may decrease blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in patients taking herbs and supplements that alter blood sugar. Consult with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, before taking alpinia.
  • Small reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure have been associated with the use of alpinia. Caution is advised in patients taking herbs and supplements that alter blood pressure due to the risk of additive effects. Consult with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, before taking alpinia.

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

Bibliography
  1. Altman RD, Marcussen KC. Effects of a ginger extract on knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis. Arthritis Rheum 2001;44(11):2531-2538.
  2. Ando S, Matsuda H, Morikawa T, et al. 1'S-1'-Acetoxychavicol acetate as a new type inhibitor of interferon-beta production in lipopolysaccharide-activated mouse peritoneal macrophages. Bioorg Med Chem 2005;13(9):3289-3294.
  3. Arambewela LS, Arawwawala LD, Ratnasooriya WD. Antinociceptive activities of aqueous and ethanolic extracts of Alpinia calcarata rhizomes in rats. J Ethnopharmacol 2004;95(2-3):311-316.
  4. Bendjeddou D, Lalaoui K, Satta D. Immunostimulating activity of the hot water-soluble polysaccharide extracts of Anacyclus pyrethrum, Alpinia galanga and Citrullus colocynthis. J Ethnopharmacol 2003;88(2-3):155-160.
  5. de Araujo PF, Coelho-de-Souza AN, Morais SM, et al. Antinociceptive effects of the essential oil of Alpinia zerumbet on mice. Phytomedicine 2005;12(6-7):482-486.
  6. de Moura RS, Emiliano AF, de Carvalho LC, et al. Antihypertensive and endothelium-dependent vasodilator effects of Alpinia zerumbet, a medicinal plant. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol 2005;46(3):288-294.
  7. Grzanna R, Phan P, Polotsky A, et al. Ginger extract inhibits beta-amyloid peptide-induced cytokine and chemokine expression in cultured THP-1 monocytes. J Altern Complement Med 2004;10(6):1009-1013.
  8. Jantan I, Pisar M, Sirat HM, et al. Inhibitory effects of compounds from Zingiberaceae species on platelet activating factor receptor binding. Phytother Res 2004;18(12):1005-1007.
  9. Jantan I, Rafi IA, Jalil J. Platelet-activating factor (PAF) receptor-binding antagonist activity of Malaysian medicinal plants. Phytomedicine 2005;12(1-2):88-92.
  10. Koo BS, Lee WC, Chang YC, et al. Protective effects of alpinae oxyphyllae fructus (Alpinia oxyphylla MIQ) water-extracts on neurons from ischemic damage and neuronal cell toxicity. Phytother Res 2004;18(2):142-148.
  11. Leal-Cardoso JH, Moreira MR, da Cruz GM, et al. Effects of essential oil of Alpinia zerumbet on the compound action potential of the rat sciatic nerve. Phytomedicine 2004;11(6):549-553.
  12. Matsuda H, Morikawa T, Managi H, et al. Antiallergic principles from Alpinia galanga: structural requirements of phenylpropanoids for inhibition of degranulation and release of TNF-alpha and IL-4 in RBL-2H3 cells. Bioorg Med Chem Lett 2003;13(19):3197-3202.
  13. Sawangjaroen N, Subhadhirasakul S, Phongpaichit S, et al. The in vitro anti-giardial activity of extracts from plants that are used for self-medication by AIDS patients in southern Thailand. Parasitol Res 2005;95(1):17-21.
  14. Wang YC, Huang TL. Screening of anti-Helicobacter pylori herbs deriving from Taiwanese folk medicinal plants. FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol 2005;43(2):295-300.
  15. Yu X, An L, Wang Y, et al. Neuroprotective effect of Alpinia oxyphylla Miq. fruits against glutamate-induced apoptosis in cortical neurons. Toxicol Lett 2003;144(2):205-212.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


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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