Galangal (Alpinia galanga) belongs to the Zingerberaceae (the Ginger family). It is an evergreen perennial herb that is native to East Asia, from China to Indo-China, India and Malaysia. This herb grows in forest margins, scrub and grasslands, and up a height 2-3.5 m. The leaves are broad lanceolate, measure 15-40 cm long. The flowers bloom in the spikes. The flowers and young shoots can be eaten raw, steamed as a vegetable, or used as a spice. The slightly pungent rhizomes are used fresh or dried as a flavouring in a variety of dishes such as curries and soups. The plant has long been cultivated in tropical regions, especially southern Asia.