Alpiniagalanga, a plant in the ginger family, bears a rhizome used largely as an herb in Unani medicine and as a spice in Arab cuisine and Southeast Asian cookery. It is one of four plants known as "galangal", and is differentiated from the others with the common names lengkuas, greater galangal, and blue ginger.
Alpiniagalanga is also called Lengkuas in Indonesia or laos in Javanese and laja in Sundanese.
It is valued for its use in food and traditional medicine, and is regarded as being superior to ginger. The rhizome has a pungent smell and strong taste reminiscent of black pepper and pine needles.
The rhizome is a common ingredient in Thai curries and soups such as tom khakai, where it is used fresh in chunks or cut into thin slices, mashed and mixed into curry paste. Indonesianrendang is usually spiced with galangal.
The rhizome of lengkuasis used forstomachic properties. An infusion of the rhizome is used fortreating rheumatism, fever, impotency, bronchitis, dyspepsia and diabetes. The juice of therhizome is given with human urine for cobra-bite poisoning. A paste prepared with alittle garlicand vinegar is used as a remedy for herpes.