Galangal – a drug to prevent heart attack

galgant-02Galangal minor, Alpina officinarum Hance, is botanically closely related to ginger. On his trips Marco Polo described plantations of galangal in the province Kachanfu and by Tonkin. Originally galangal grew in Southern China and Thailand. But today it is found in all of Indonesia, Australia, Japan, East India and even in Central America on the Antilles Islands.

The branching roots are robust and spread in all directions creating many stems. The stems with their white fragrant blossoms grow 60 to 150 cm. high.

In the 16th century Dr. Mattioli wrote: „Galangal freshens the breath, supports digestion and rids the body of unpleasant gas." This indication has been reinforced by modern science and led to its acceptance and official approval as a medicine. Similar results were discovered by Paracelsus.

The abbess Hildegard of Bingen described galangal as a heart medicine: "Whoever has pain in the heart area or is suffering weakness due to the heart, should immediately eat enough galangal and he will recover." As in other cases Hildegard's indication is completely different from the medical knowledge of her time, which proves that she did not compile the medical knowledge from the cloisters of her era into her works.

The galangal root contains essential oil and resin that cause the hot-bitter taste. Galangal is also rich in bioflavonoids, which are only found in genuine galangal with its characteristic sharp biting taste. Galangal oil (Oleum Galangae) is distilled from the dry powdered root. It is a yellow liquid with a eucalyptus-cardamon-ginger smell. The dried root contains .5 - 1.5% essential oil which has 81 various constituents all of which have been identified by gas chromatograph techniques. Besides oil 6 other sharp ingredients have been isolated and identified.


Pharmacological effects

1. Cardiac effects
Several medical studies show that galangal influences cardiac activity by regulating body functions, especially by fortifying the strength of the heart's muscle contraction (positive inotrope effect) and by influencing heart frequency (chronotrope effect). In addition to that galangal has a dromotrope and bathmotrope effect on the heart muscle.

2. Anti-inflammatory effect
There is scientific evidence that galangal inhibits the prostaglandine biosynthesis. This anti-inflammatory effect is comparable with acetylsalicylic acid and indomethacine.

3. Anti-colic effect, digestive and dyspeptic effects
The essential oil in galangal prevents meteorism and intestinal spasms. The oil also inhibits the growth of bacteria and fungus infections. In the literature for its patent there are reports, that the galangal root is used to inhibit the growth of pathogene bacteria in the mouth cavity. These anti-microbial characteristics offer an interesting possibility to preserve groceries compared with preservation through artificial preservatives.

4. Anti—cancerogenic effects
The bioflavanoids, Flavon, Galangine, Hesperidine, Caempherole, Myricetine and Quercitine, inhibit the production of cancer-causing
materials out of benzopyrene and aflatoxine by hydroxylation to dehydro-2.3-dihydroxiafatoxine. In addition bioflavanoids are powerful scavengers of free radicals.

5. Spasmolytic effect
The drug galangal belongs to the family of Amara acria because of its content of spicy constituents and essential oils. These constituents not only enhance the taste of foods but also stimulate the appetite by increasing the production of stomach and intestinal fluids and thereby improving digestion. This effect is responsible for eliminating gas and colics in the Roehmheld syndrome.

6. Inhibition of thrombocitic aggregation
Like acetylsalicylic acid, galangal exhibits an anti-inflammatory effect which prevents the aggregation of thombocytes which can cause thrombosis or emboly.

Clinical effectivity and medical experience

In the last 20 years over 10,000 patients have proven that galangal is safe and effective for the following symptoms:

  • Heart pain caused by angina pectoris attack
  • Heart pain caused by heart attack
  • Heart pain after heart attack
  • Gastro-cardiac heart pain (Rhoemheld syndrom)
  • Dizziness, fatigue and shortness of breath caused by a weak heart

Official dosage is 1 – 2 tablets of 0.1 g galangal daily. The tablets should melt slowly in the mouth, because they are mainly effective over the mucous membranes.
Shortly after taking 1 – 2 tablets of 0.1 g galangal or 1 tablet of 0.2 g in an emergency or after the first onset of a heart attack, pain and angst disappear as fast as with nitroglycerine. Nitroglycerine with its side effects can be completely replaced with galangal.
The German Drug Administration recommends 3 times a day 4 tablets of 0.2 g galangal a day, but the normal dosage is 1- 2 tablets every 5 minutes, 3 times in a row, until the pain is gone.

Side effects:
Galangal has practically no side effects. And since it is very hot like ginger, its essential oil prevents misuse or over-dosage. It is important to prepare patients for the intake of galangal and the fact that it is hotter than pepper. Galangal has to be dissolved slowly and reacts on the tip of the tongue causing the Bethzold- Jarisch effect, a spasmolytic effect opening the blood vessels. It should not be swallowed without chewing so as not to cause gastritis in a sensitive stomach or by larger amounts (more than 1 g) possible stomach pains.

Heart pain by attacks of angina pectoris

Angina pectoris is actually not a sickness in itself, but rather a symptom with various factors:
--clogging of the arteries
--high blood pressure
--high cholesterol
--mental and physical stress
--sensitivity to weather
--over-stimulation of the senses

Therefore it is important during every therapy or treatment to transform all sick-making habits found in life style and in nutrition.

Galangal therapy is successful

by causing heart pain to disappear in a few minutes after taking 1 – 2 tablets of 0.1 or 0.2 g Galangal and by eliminating the shock and its life-threatening condition.
Galangal immediately gets rid of cardiac conditions of fear and over-stimulation. It is interesting that galangal reacts "globally" i.e. on the entire organism.
The heart shock is a severe complication of angina pectoris and also is found in all acute cases of heart attack. The following symptoms accompany heart shock: lower blood pressure, arrhythmia with a rise in heart frequency, paleness, cold sweat and cold extremities.

Rehabilitation after heart attack

According to many authors angina pectoris pain re-occurs in 90% of all cases after a heart attack. Because this pain can effectively be treated through the intake of galangal with no side effects, the galangal therapy is a successful and cautious treatment after a heart attack. Galangal is a reliable drug for the quick elimination of cramps and spasms.

Circulatory problems, conditions of fatigue and weakness

Patients with conditions of fatigue and weakness, cardio-vascular disease, PMS and cramps, digestive complaints (nausea, vomiting, undefined stomach ache) and circulatory problems can be helped in 1 to 2 1/2 weeks by taking 1 – 2 galangal tablets 3 – 4 times a day. This therapy is best supported by a spelt-based nutrition. Physical and mental activity increased, general health reported better and complaints disappeared.

Pseudo-epileptic attacks, fainting

Attacks of cramping and fainting in children and young persons disappeared after taking 3 – 4 teaspoons of 20 – 30 % galangal- honey 3 times a day after meals (small children take 5 – 10 % galangal-honey).

Monography approval BGA (equivalent of the US FDA)

Although there are no official clinical studies with galangal available, the German Drug Administration has published the following monography. (note that the application of galangal for angina pectoris is excluded due to missing clinical studies)

Bundesanzeiger (official journal of the German Drug Administration) September 18, 1986

Active ingredient: galangae rhizoma, dried root of Alpinia officinarum (L.) Hance

The drug contains essential oils, spicy substances and flavonoids.

Dyspeptic disorder (flatulence and cardio-gastric disorder)
Loss of appetite

If pregnant or breast-feeding, ask a health professional before use, since there are not sufficient studies available.
Keep out of reach of children.

Side effects:

Adults and children 12 years of age and older take 1 tablet 0.2 g galangal 3 times a day after meals. In emergencies take 1 tablet every 5 minutes. Maximal dosage is 3 times 4 tablets of 0.2 g galangal.

Anti-inflamatory (inhibits the prostaglandine synthesis)

Contact author for further literature
Dr. Wighard strehlow
Strandweg 1
D-78476 Allensbach am Bodensee

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