Thai Herbs For Thai Cuisine, Medicine, Thai Spas And Aromatherapy Part Two

In this post I want to continue to look at Thai herbs and the parts they play in the world of Thai cuisine, medicine, spa treatments and  aromatherapy.

Galangal

Galangal known as Kha in Thailand  and also known by the name of Alpina officinalis. Galangal is a member of the rhizome family and that basically means it grows under ground, it is closely related to and similar in appearance to ginger hence the reason it is also known as the Chinese ginger, however galangal is a lot harder than ginger and the cooking requirements are longer.

Galangal In Thai Cooking

  • Used to flavour meat dishes and fish dishes
  • You will often find a slice of galangal added to your Tom yam or Tom Kha soup as flavouring.

The Health Benefits Of Galangal

  • Like ginger it can aid digestion and also help with the treatment of stomach disorders such as diarrhea, and with the relief of constipation and feeling bloated.
  • Can be used in dyspepsia and for the loss of appetite.
  • Helps to fight inflammation and could be beneficial with arthritis.
  • Good for providing more blood circulation to the hands and feet.
  • Again like ginger can aid with motion sickness and travel sickness.
  • Has been said that galangal can even halt the hiccups.
  • Packed with anti-oxidants and contains iron, fiber, sodium and essential vitamins.
  • Is also thought to be a protective agent against the risk of some cancers.

Galangal In Aromatherapy And Spa Treatments

  • Popular in aromatherapy for digestive problems.
  • Galangal essential oil is beneficial to the circulation, stiffness and exhaustion.
  • Can be taken as a tea extract or as a capsule.
  • Used in spa treatments as one of the ingredients in a herbal body scrub or mask.
  • As a fresh herbal wrap with a combination of ginger, lemon grass, camphor and galangal applied to the body.

Garlic

Known for its protecting and boosting abilities and called the natural antibiotic Garlic has been used in cooking and as natural medicine for thousands of years in Asia. Garlic is an annual herbaceous plant and its therapeutic powers owe a lot to the Sulphur compound that is released when garlic is cut, crushed or chewed called Allicin which contains incredible properties.

Garlic In Thai Cooking

Garlic has been used by the Thais to cook with for countless of years and is used in the majority of Thai dishes, but here are a few popular and absolutely delicious  dishes where garlic is a major ingredient.  In Thailand garlic is known by the name of grathiam.

  • Special Thoot Gratiam Prik Thai (fried pork or chicken with straw mushrooms in white pepper with a garlic sauce)
  • Khao Man Gai (steam Chicken with fresh ginger, chilli, garlic and a dark soya sauce)
  • Som Tam … Green Papaya Salad (Papaya salad with peanuts, lime, fresh chilli, garlic and tomato)
  • Nam Prik On (minced pork with fresh chilli, garlic, tomatoes, onions, shrimp paste and fish sauce)
  • Gung Gratiam (prawns with white pepper and a garlic chilli sauce)

The Health Benefits Of Garlic

It is said that Garlic can possibly help…..

  • Maintain a healthy digestive system.
  • Contains antibacterial properties to assist in fighting infection.
  • A diamond remedy for colds, fevers and sore throats.
  • possibly good for ear infections.
  • Can help with chest congestion.
  • Can help with asthma problems by expelling mucus and taken regularly can also help to prevent asthma.
  • It is said if consumed on a daily basis that it helps to keep blood pressure under control.
  • Can help with lowering cholesterol and the prevention of blood clots.
  • Has even been said to aid in the fight against heart disease.

Garlic In Aromatherapy And Spa Treatments

  • Tincture mix for athlete’s foot
  • Garlic aromatherapy oil for bath oil, body oil or moisturising oil
  • Garlic mask for aid with spots and acne (peel and crush 7 -8 cloves of garlic, apply to the face being careful to avoid the eye areas, leave for 10 – 15 minutes and wash off with a warm cloth.

Turmeric

Turmeric or Curcuma longa as it is also known as  part of the ginger family originating from India and used in India for more than 2,500 years, however it is widely used throughout Asia especially  in places like Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. In Thailand turmeric is known as Khamin. The active ingredient in turmeric is Curcumin.  

Turmeric In Thai Cooking

In Thai cooking turmeric is widely used in a number of dishes, but it is a firm favourite of the Southern region of Thailand who add it to curries, soups, stir fried dishes and desserts. Turmeric is a colouring and a flavouring.

  • Added to  Gang Gari yellow curry, giving the curry its colouring and adding to the flavour.
  • Added to  Gang Massaman to spice up the curry.

and both these curries are favourites of the Southern region of Thailand.

The Health Benefits Of Turmeric

Turmeric is said to be one of natures great healers and used widely in South and South East Asia, the Japanese are even fond of a few cups of turmeric tea. In Thailand it is said to hold magic powers by healing scars and that includes its own … magical indeed.

  • An antiseptic for cuts, burns and bruises
  • An anti bacterial agent
  • Helps with stomach problems
  • A possible remedy for gastrointestinal discomfort connected with irritable bowel syndrome
  • A natural pain-killer
  • Assisting in weight management
  • Used for many years in Chinese traditional medicine to treat depression.
  • Is currently under going research for the possibility that it may benefit sufferers with Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis and some cancers

Turmeric In Aromatherapy And Spa Treatments

  • The Thai turmeric body scrub.
  • Turmeric is one of the major ingredients in some facial scrubs.
  • The Thai hot herbal compress containing  turmeric.
  • A natural moisturiser
  • Natural turmeric essential oil
  • Thai turmeric soap which is anti bacterial soap preventing skin infections and spots

This information is solely for educational purposes always check with your health advisors before taking any products.

For more information on health and wellness in Thailand and Asia including spas please visit www.engagingthailand.com

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