Not too sure this is identical to galangal
Yes, they seem to share the same etymological roots, and are now used interchangeably, but my impression is that medieval European usage was somewhat independent from the actual plant(s) bearing the name in Asia. Among other things, it was also applied to Cyperus longus, apparently a local substitute. I would characterize the relationship with a sort of an O-shaped Venn Diagram: beginning together, then splitting, then reuniting. At the very least, the sense of Cyperus longus applies strictly to "galingale" and not to "galangal"
I'll have to see if I can hunt down some references. Chuck Entz 22:27, 21 January 2012 (UTC)