Updated: Feb 5, 2019
Galangal (Kaempferia galanga and Alpinia galanga), commonly known as kencur, aromatic ginger, sand ginger, cut cherry, or resurrection lily, is a monocotyledonous plant in the ginger family.
It is a plant whose properties have been known for centuries, in Thailand, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Middle East. Its large knotty rhizome is widely used in cooking in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Its slightly pungent flavour often replaces ginger in many dishes. There is also a second, much rarer species, the small galanga,
Galangal can be found in fresh or dried slices, whole or powdered in oriental grocery stores.
There are two different varieties which one is known as the “Kaempferia Galanga” and other called to be the “Alpinia Galanga” which is very light in colour and subtler in whiff you can easily find in most Thai and Indonesian cuisine.
The galanga is also known for its properties considered as aphrodisiacs. It is given the property of warming the body, especially that of women, to "boost" the libido and stir sensuality with its aroma. Galanga already belonged to the Ayurvedic pharmacopoeia, which used its invigorating and stimulating properties, but it is the traditional Arab medicine that praised it for its aphrodisiac properties.
Thus, the galanga passed in Europe, where, since the middle Ages, it is famous for its aphrodisiac virtues