Lengkuas, also known as galangal or Thai ginger, is a spice that is closely related to ginger and turmeric. Compared to ginger however, it has a sharper flavour with hints of citrus and pine. In traditional medicine, lengkuas is used as a remedy for various ailments, which gave it its 13th century moniker, the “spice of life”. To appreciate all the health benefits of this zingy rhizome, read on to find out more.
1. RICH IN ANTIOXIDANTS, ESPECIALLY POLYPHENOLS
Lengkuas is a rich source of antioxidants, which help us fight diseases and protect our cells from toxins in the body. It is especially rich in a group of antioxidants called polyphenols, which are linked to health benefits, such as improved memory and lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Polyphenols are also thought to protect against Type 2 diabetes, mental decline and heart disease, though further research is required on this.
2. RELIEVE NAUSEA
Lengkuas is used to treat nausea and relieve stomach ache. If you are suffering from diarrhea, motion sickness or nausea, chew on a few slices of fresh lengkuas to seek relief. This Southeast Asian rhizome is also used to promote healthy blood circulation.
3. REDUCE INFLAMMATION AND ABDOMINAL PAIN
Lengkuas has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, which helps ease stomach pain. It also tackles arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis with its anti-inflammatory properties. Any abdominal discomfort caused by ulcers or inflammation can also be quickly reduced by adding lengkuas to the diet.
4. MAINTAIN CLEAR SKIN
The medicinal profile of lengkuas is similar to that of ginger. Lengkuas is loaded with antioxidants and has antiseptic properties, which makes it great for your skin. Applying galangal juice is said to help keep your skin clear, blemish-free and acne-free.
An infusion of the rhizome is commonly used to treat rheumatism, fever, impotence and bronchitis. Lengkuas juice is also sometimes combined with human urine to treat cobra-bite poisoning.
6. STORING AND COOKING TIPS
With a distinct peppery flavour, lengkuas is commonly added to Chinese, Indonesian, Malaysian, and Thai cuisine to add flavour and tone down the heaviness of meat and fish. To prepare lengkuas for soup or curry, peel off the skin and grate or mince it before stir-frying. Alternatively, add whole slices to a dish, but remove them before serving as the fibrous root itself is tough and inedible.
Lengkuas s best kept refrigerated and can be cooked or chewed raw.
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