This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Galanga Minor C. B. Wanhom Kaempfer amanitat. exot. Galangal or Lesser galangal: the root of a grafly-leaved plant, (Kaemferia Galanga Linn.) brought from China and the East Indies, in pieces about an inch long and scarce half so thick, branched, full of knots and joints with several circular rings, of a reddish brown colour on the out side and a pale reddish within. We sometimes meet with a larger root of the same kind, an inch or more in thickness, under the name of galanga major: this is to be rejected, as being much weaker, yet more disagreeable, than the small.
Galangal root has an aromatic smell, not very grateful; and an unpleasant, bitterish, hot, biting taste. It was formerly in common use as a warm stomachic bitter, and generally made an ingredient in bitter infusions; but is now almost wholly laid aside, on account of its un-pleasant flavour. Nor indeed does bitterness appear to be its proper medical character; the heat and pungency greatly prevailing. An extract made from it with rectified spirit is ex-cessively fiery, setting the mouth as it were in a flame: the watery extract is likewise very hot and pungent, though much less so than the spirituous, its quantity being about three times as large: neither one nor the other extract discovers any great bitterness. In distillation with water, there arises an essential oil, to the quantity of about a dram from sixteen ounces, of little smell, and of no great pungency. The pungent matter of the galangal appears from these experiments to be of the same nature with that of pepper; redding, not in the volatile oil, but in a more fist matter.