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Kaempferia galanga
from Plants of The Gods, by Schultes & Hofmann


Kaempferia galanga is used as an hallucinogen in New Guinea. Throughout the range of this species, the highly aromatic rhizome is valued as a spice to flavor rice, and also in folk medicine as an expectorant and carminative. A tea of the leaves is employed for sore throat, swellings, rheumatism, and eye infections. In Malaysia, the plant was added to the arrow poison prepared from Antians toxicaria.

This short-stemmed herb has flat-spreading, green, round leaves measuring 3-6 in. (8-15 cm) across. The white flowers (with a purple spot on the lip), which are fugacious, appear singly in the center of the plant and attain approximately 1 in. (2 1/2 cm) in breadth.

Beyond the high content of essential oil in the rhizome, little is known of the chemistry of the plant. Hallucinogenic activity might possibly be due to constituents of the essential oils.