Plant Profiler

Alpinia (Alpinia galanga)

Alpinia galanga
Synonyms / Common Names / 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 vetší, 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).

Mechanism of Action


  • Constituents: The root contains a volatile oil, resin, galangol, kaempferid, galangin and alpinin, and starch. The active principles are the volatile oil and acrid resin. Galangin is dioxyflavanol, and has been obtained synthetically. Alcohol freely extracts all the properties, and for the fluid extract there should be no admixture of water or glycerin.
  • Antiallergic effects: The structures of the gingerol and diaryheptanoid constituents indicate they may be active against 5-lipoxygenase, an enzyme involved in leukotriene biosynthesis.18
  • The 80% aqueous acetone extract of the rhizomes of Alpinia galanga was found to inhibit release of beta-hexosaminidase, a marker of antigen-IgE-mediated degranulation in RBL-2H3 cells.19
  • Antianaphylactic effects: Alpinia oxyphylla water extract suppressed immunoglobulin E-mediated anaphylactic reaction in rats.1
  • Antibacterial effects: In laboratory studies, Alpinia galanga6 and Alpinia speciosa20 demonstrated antibacterial effects.
  • Antiemetic effects: Bioasay-guided fractionation of the antiemetic constituents of Alpinia officinarum was performed, and eight compounds, including a new compound, were isolated. Among the seven known compounds, five of those compounds showed antiemetic activity in a copper sulfate induced emesis assay in young chicks.13
  • Antifungal effects: The chloroform extracts of Alpinia galanga had pronounced antifungal activity against Cryptococcus neoformans and Microsporum gypseum, but exhibited weak activity against Candida albicans.21
  • Anti-inflammatory effects: The gingerols and diaryheptanoids constituents of alpinia are potent inhibitors of PG synthetase (prostaglandin biosynthesizing enzyme).22 Diarylheptanoids contained in Alpinia oxyphylla down-regulate cyclooxygenase-2 and iNOS expression through suppression of NF-kappaB activation in the TPA-treated mouse skin.23
  • Antinociceptive effects: Alpinia calcarata and Alpinia zerumbet have demonstrated marked dose-dependent antinociceptive activity. This effect was mediated by opioid mechanisms.15,16
  • Antiplatelet effects: Alpinia mutica Roxb. demonstrated strong inhibitory effects against platelet-activating factor.24
  • Anti-tumor effects: A variety of Alpinia species have demonstrated anti-tumor properties that can contribute to chemopreventive potential.5,7,25,26,27,8
  • Blepharocalyxin D, a diarylheptanoid from the seed of Alpinia blepharoclyx, showed potent antiproliferative activity against murine colon 26-L5 carcinoma cells; blepharocalyxin E, another diarylheptanoid from the seed of Alpinia blepharoclyx, showed potent activity against human HT-1080 fibrosarcoma cells.25 Chemical investigation of the Alpinia blepharocalyx extract led to the isolation of forty-four new and one known diarylheptanoids, eleven phenolic compounds together with beta-sitosterol glucoside. Almost all the isolated compounds showed significant antiproliferative activity in a concentration-dependent manner.7
  • Galangin, a member of the flavonol class of flavonoid, found in high concentrations in Alpinia officinarum, demonstrated anti-oxidative and free radical scavenging activities capable of modulating enzyme activities and suppressing the genotoxicity of chemicals.26
  • Yakuchinone A and yakuchinone B, diarylheptanoids derived from Alpinia oxyphylla Miquel, blunted the TPA-induced superoxide generation in differentiated HL-60 cells in a concentration-related manner and also inhibited lipid peroxidation in rat brain homogenates. Furthermore, these components nullified the activation of the activator protein-1 (AP-1) in immortalized mouse fibroblast cells in culture.27 Additionally, yakuchinone A and yakuchinone B inhibited the TPA-induced expression of cyclooxygenase-2 at both transcriptional and translational levels which suggested these diarylheptanoids have an anti-tumor promotional activity that may be related to their anti-inflammatory properties.5
  • Cells treated with the extract of Alpinia oxyphylla exhibited internucleosomal DNA fragmentation in time- and concentration-dependent manners. TPA-stimulated generation of superoxide anion in differentiated HL-60 cells was also blunted by Alpinia oxyphylla.8
  • Anti-venom effects: Renealmia alpinia was active against Bothrops atrox venom in mice.17,28 The rhizomes of Renealmia alpinia demonstrated 100% neutralizing capacity within 48 hours.28
  • Cardiovascular effects: Chronic oral administration of Alpinia zerumbet induced a significant reduction in systolic, mean, and diastolic arterial pressure in rats with DOCA-salt hypertension. The vasodilator effect of Alpinia zerumbet may be dependent on the activation of the NO-cGMP pathway and independent of activation of ATP-dependent, voltage-dependent, and calcium-dependent K+ channels. Bradykinin receptors may also participate in the vasodilator effect of Alpinia zerumbet.2
  • Intravenous treatment with Alpinia zerumbet in either anaesthetized or conscious rats induced an immediate and significant hypotension, an effect that could be partially attributed to the actions of its main constituent, terpinen-4-ol. The hypotension appears independent of the presence of an operational sympathetic nervous system, suggesting that the Alpinia zerumbet may be a direct vasorelaxant agent.4 In another similar study, intravenous treatment with either Alpinia zerumbet or terpinen-4-ol dose-dependently decreased blood pressure in conscious hypertensive rats, and this action was enhanced when compared with uninephrectomized controls. This enhancement could be related mainly to an increase in Alpinia zerumbet-induced vascular smooth muscle relaxation rather than to enhanced sympathetic nervous system activity in this hypertensive model. These data further supported that the hypotensive effects of Alpinia zerumbet are partially attributed to the actions of Trp-4-ol.3
  • Fatty acid synthase inhibition: The galangal, the rhizome of Alpinia officinarum Hance, can inhibit fatty-acid synthase. The inhibition of fatty acid synthase by galangin, quercetin and kaempferol, the main flavonoids existing in the galangal, showed that quercetin and kaempferol had potent reversible inhibitory activity, but all three flavonoids had no obvious slow-binding inactivation. Analysis of the results led to the conclusion that the inhibitory mechanism of galangal extract is different from that of some other previously reported inhibitors of fatty acid synthase, such as cerulenin, EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) and C75.29
  • Gastroprotective effects: 1'S-1'-acetoxychavicol acetate and related phenylpropanoids from the rhizomes of Alpinia galanga demonstrated gastroprotective effects in rats.30
  • Glucose effects: Alpinia galanga produced a fall in blood glucose levels in normal rabbits and the principles, both organic and inorganic, are extractable in methanol and water.9
  • Immunostimulatory effects: Alpinia galanga L. was tested for its immunostimulating activity in mice. Alpinia galanga showed a marked stimulating effect on the reticulo-endothelial system (RES) and increased the number of peritoneal exudate cells (PEC), and spleen cells of mice.10
  • Insecticidal activity: Alpinia oxyphylla was found to give an insecticidal activity against larvae of Drosophila melanogaster Meigen.11,12
  • Neurologic effects: Alpinae oxyphyllae fructus water-extract exerted a neuroprotective effect by reducing the nitric oxide-mediated formation of free radicals or antagonizing their toxicity.31
  • Co-treatment of the neurons with Alpinia oxyphylla fruits extract in the presence of glutamate significantly elevated cell viability, reduced the number of apoptotic cells and decreased the intensity of glutamate-induced DNA fragmentation suggesting the neuroprotective potential of Alpinia oxyphylla fruits against glutamate-induced neuronal apoptosis.14
  • Findings suggest that Alpinia galanga extract may be useful in delaying the onset and the progression of neurodegenerative disorders involving chronically activated microglial cells in the central nervous system.32
  • Nitric oxide inhibition: 1'S-1'-Acetoxychavicol acetate from the rhizomes of Alpinia galanga has shown potent inhibitory effect on the production of nitric oxide in lipopolysaccharide-activated mouse peritoneal macrophages.33


  • IC50: Alpinia galanga was incubated with Giardia intestinalis and the minimum inhibitory concentraction and IC50 value was determined. The IC50 value was classified with an IC50 of less than 100mcg/mL.6
  • MIC: Alpinia speciosa demonstrated strong activity against Helicobacter pylori. The minimum inhibitory concentration ranged from 0.64 to 10.24mg/mL.20

  1. Kim SH, Choi YK, Jeong HJ, et al. Suppression of immunoglobulin E-mediated anaphylactic reaction by Alpinia oxyphylla in rats. Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol 2000;22(2):267-277. 10952031
  2. 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. 16116333
  3. Lahlou S, Interaminense LF, Leal-Cardoso JH, et al. Antihypertensive effects of the essential oil of Alpinia zerumbet and its main constituent, terpinen-4-ol, in DOCA-salt hypertensive conscious rats. Fundam Clin Pharmacol 2003;17(3):323-330. 12803571
  4. Lahlou S, Galindo CA, Leal-Cardoso JH, et al. Cardiovascular effects of the essential oil of Alpinia zerumbet leaves and its main constituent, Terpinen-4-ol, in rats: role of the autonomic nervous system. Planta Med 2002;68(12):1097-1102. 12494337
  5. Chun KS, Park KK, Lee J, et al. Inhibition of mouse skin tumor promotion by anti-inflammatory diarylheptanoids derived from Alpinia oxyphylla Miquel (Zingiberaceae). Oncol Res 2002;13(1):37-45. 12201673
  6. 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. 15614584
  7. Ali MS, Banskota AH, Tezuka Y, et al. Antiproliferative activity of diarylheptanoids from the seeds of Alpinia blepharocalyx. Biol Pharm Bull 2001;24(5):525-528. 11379774
  8. Lee E, Park KK, Lee JM, et al. Suppression of mouse skin tumor promotion and induction of apoptosis in HL-60 cells by Alpinia oxyphylla Miquel (Zingiberaceae). Carcinogenesis 1998;19(8):1377-1381. 9744532
  9. Akhtar MS, Khan MA, Malik MT. Hypoglycaemic activity of Alpinia galanga rhizome and its extracts in rabbits. Fitoterapia 2002;73(7-8):623-628. 12490221
  10. 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. 12963136
  11. Miyazawa M, Nakamura Y, Ishikawa Y. Insecticidal diarylheptanoid from Alpinia oxyphylla against larvae of Drosophila melanogaster. Nat Prod Lett 2001;15(1):75-79. 11547427
  12. Miyazawa M, Nakamura Y, Ishikawa Y. Insecticidal sesquiterpene from Alpinia oxyphylla against Drosophila melanogaster. J Agric Food Chem 2000;48(8):3639-3641. 10956162
  13. Shin D, Kinoshita K, Koyama K, et al. Antiemetic principles of Alpinia officinarum. J Nat Prod 2002;65(9):1315-1318. 12350154
  14. 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. 12927364
  15. 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. 15507354
  16. 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. 16008125
  17. Otero R, Nunez V, Barona J, et al. Snakebites and ethnobotany in the northwest region of Colombia. Part III: neutralization of the haemorrhagic effect of Bothrops atrox venom. J Ethnopharmacol 2000;73(1-2):233-241. 11025161
  18. Anon. The Review of Natural Products by Facts and Comparisons. St.Louis, MO: Wolters Kluwer Co, 1999.
  19. 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. 12951092
  20. 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. 15681161
  21. Phongpaichit S, Subhadhirasakul S, Wattanapiromsakul C. Antifungal activities of extracts from Thai medicinal plants against opportunistic fungal pathogens associated with AIDS patients. Mycoses 2005;48(5):333-338. 16115104
  22. Kiuchi F, Iwakami S, Shibuya M, et al. Inhibition of prostaglandin and leukotriene biosynthesis by gingerols and diarylheptanoids. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo) 1992;40(2):387-391. 1606634
  23. Chun KS, Kang JY, Kim OH, et al. Effects of yakuchinone A and yakuchinone B on the phorbol ester-induced expression of COX-2 and iNOS and activation of NF-kappaB in mouse skin. J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol 2002;21(2):131-139. 12086399
  24. 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. 15742349
  25. Ali MS, Tezuka Y, Banskota AH, et al. Blepharocalyxins C--E, three new dimeric diarylheptanoids, and related compounds from the seeds of Alpinia blepharocalyx. J Nat Prod 2001;64(4):491-496. 11325233
  26. Heo MY, Sohn SJ, Au WW. Anti-genotoxicity of galangin as a cancer chemopreventive agent candidate. Mutat Res 2001;488(2):135-150. 11344041
  27. Chun KS, Sohn Y, Kim HS, et al. Anti-tumor promoting potential of naturally occurring diarylheptanoids structurally related to curcumin. Mutat Res 1999;428(1-2):49-57. 10517978
  28. Otero R, Nunez V, Jimenez SL, et al. Snakebites and ethnobotany in the northwest region of Colombia: Part II: neutralization of lethal and enzymatic effects of Bothrops atrox venom. J Ethnopharmacol 2000;71(3):505-511. 10940590
  29. Li BH, Tian WX. Presence of fatty acid synthase inhibitors in the rhizome of Alpinia officinarum hance. J Enzyme Inhib Med Chem 2003;18(4):349-356. 14567550
  30. Matsuda H, Pongpiriyadacha Y, Morikawa T, et al. Gastroprotective effects of phenylpropanoids from the rhizomes of Alpinia galanga in rats: structural requirements and mode of action. Eur J Pharmacol 2003;471(1):59-67. 12809953
  31. 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. 15022167
  32. 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. 15673995
  33. 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. 15809164

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