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Alpinia (Alpinia galanga)
Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Copyright © 2011 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
*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 against this use (it may not work);
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).
The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. 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 health care professional.
- 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, H. pylori, 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.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
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.
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 (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.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. 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.
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.
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).
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
- Altman RD, Marcussen KC. Effects of a ginger extract on knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis. Arthritis Rheum 2001;44(11):2531-2538. View Abstract
- 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. View Abstract
- 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. View Abstract
- 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. View Abstract
- 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. View Abstract
- 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. View Abstract
- 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. View Abstract
- 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. View Abstract
- 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. View Abstract
- 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. View Abstract
- 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. View Abstract
- 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. View Abstract
- 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. View Abstract
- 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. View Abstract
- 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. View Abstract
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.