Kaempferia galanga is used as an hallucinogen in New Guinea. Throughout the range of this species, the highly aromatic rhizome is valued as a spice to flavor rice, and also in folk medicine as an expectorant and carminative. A tea of the leaves is employed for sore throat, swellings, rheumatism, and eye infections. In Malaysia, the plant was added to the arrow poison prepared from Antians toxicaria.
This short-stemmed herb has flat-spreading, green, round leaves measuring 3-6 in. (8-15 cm) across. The white flowers (with a purple spot on the lip), which are fugacious, appear singly in the center of the plant and attain approximately 1 in. (2 1/2 cm) in breadth.
Beyond the high content of essential oil in the rhizome, little is known of the chemistry of the plant. Hallucinogenic activity might possibly be due to constituents of the essential oils.
TRADITIONAL PREPARATION: Being exposed to the vapors and smoke of this combination (or wild galangal by itself) when burned as an incense is thought to increase energy and overcome exhaustion, melancholy, and sadness. Many Tibetan incense formulas still use Galangal, especially in formulas to promote awareness, overcome physical exhaustion and create a mood for contemplation.
Galangal was known to the ancient Indians, and has been in the West since the Middle Ages. Its stimulant and tonic properties (also to instantly reduce fever and indigestion) are recognized by the Arabs who ginger up their horses with it, and by the Tartars, who take it in tea. In the East, it is taken powdered as a snuff, and is used in perfumery and in brewing. Another mystical property of this root is that it can be re used several times when used for making tea. Simply boil 1 oz of the root / 3 cups of water for 5 minutes, remove the galangal and let dry. Re use when you are ready for another journey to awareness.
Authentic, organically grown Galanga is available at The IAmShaman Shop.