Types of Ginger Root and Galangal

Ginger and galangal are popular culinary and medicinal root spices. Ginger is an aromatic addition to many eastern dishes as well as the key ingredient in warming teas for colds and digestive problems. Despite its name, which derives from the Arabic for "mild ginger," galangal is a completely different root type. Pinker in color and more peppery in taste than ginger, it is also used in cookery and medicine.

Both root types have different varieties, each with their own subtle differences.

  1. Greater Galangal

    • Also known as Indonesian galangal because of its origins on the island of Java or by the Latin Alpina Galanga, greater galangal is a large root with an orange-brown skin. Its peeled flesh is pale yellow or white. Greater galangal is the form of galangal most commonly found in the west. It is sold in fresh or powdered form and has a medium to strong flavor and a pine-like aroma.

    Lesser Galangal

    • Otherwise known as Alpina Officinarum, or Krachaai Galangal, this form of the galangal root originates in China. A smaller root than Greater galangal, it has a stronger taste which resembles a combination of ginger and pepper. Its flesh is also more fibrous. It is often used as a medicinal rather than a cooking spice in China.


    • Zingiber Officinale, or common root ginger in the East Indies, it is a perennial root with a hot spicy bite. Its commercial varieties come in either white or black. Black ginger is produced by scalding the root in boiling water before leaving it to dry. White ginger is scraped and dried without the scalding. Other varieties of ginger root include green or immature ginger and preserved ginger which is steeped in syrup.

    Wild Ginger

    • Aasarum Canadense, or wild ginger, is not related to Zingiber Officinale. Its roots, however, have a similar hot, spicy flavor. Found in North America, Europe and Asia, it grows in woods and by roadsides. Its roots are a yellowish-brown color with white flesh. In taste, it is similar to ginger although it can be slightly bitter. While not popular in cooking, it can be used as a remedy for similar complaints to ginger proper.

Related Searches


  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

You May Also Like

  • Information on Ginger Root

    Ginger has a long history of being used as a spice to flavor foods, but ginger root is being used as an...

  • How to Grow Galangal Root

    Galangal (Alpinia galanga) is a spicy root herb closely resembling ginger. The root is native to the warm, tropical regions of Asia...

  • How to Make Ginger Root Tea

    There are many health benefits of ginger. Ginger can be effective for easing cold symptoms and is thought to enhance the immune...

  • Understand the Different Types of Mats for Picture Framing

    Rag mats, fabric mats, leather mats and many others provide you with a barrage of choices for your picture or artwork. Learn...

  • Types of Microphones & Their Uses in Radio

    Types of Microphones & Their Uses in Radio. A microphone is a relatively simple device: you speak into it, and it picks...

  • Thai Ginger Plants

    Thai Ginger Plants. Two types of Thai ginger plants dominate Thai cuisine: galangal and grachai. While they are related to traditional ginger,...

  • Types of Ginger Root

    Ginger root is a spicy root vegetable, used popularly in Near- and Far-East Asian cooking. It's also lauded as a medicinal herb,...

Related Ads

Watch Video

5 Ways to Keep Your Baby Safe at Home