A wild plant in the East, which grows by waters, and has some resemblance of the generality of our water plants in its leaves, and manner of growth. It is two feet and a half high, and has white flowers. The roots spread about the surface, and are of an irregular shape. The leaves are a foot long, not half an inch broad, sharp at the point, and at the edges. The stalk is firm, thick, round, and of a purplish green; the flowers are small, and of a snow white; they consist of a larger upper lip, and a smaller tender one, each divided into three parts. The seed-vessels are oblong, and have each three divisions, containing many seeds. The roots have a very acrid taste, and are reddish: as we have two sorts of galangal roots at the druggists, it might be expected there should be found two galangal plants, but they are both the roots of the same.
The lesser galangal is most used: it is a warm and fine stomachic, we put it in all bitter tinctures. Head-aches which arise from disorders in the stomach, are greatly relieved by this root. What is called English galangal, is the root of the long cyperus, described already in its place.