Well, how many of us aren’t fond of “tasty” food !!!! Apart from liking and relishing different tastes it would be interesting to know that tastes play a vital role in balancing of body functions. This is one of the basic considerations in a healthy meal choice as per wisdom of Ayurveda. Now let’s know how these basic six tastes have it do with our health, I’ll health and nourishment….
First of all, let us know what are the six basic tastes. They are, sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent tastes. All of them have their own pros and cons. None the less, all these pros and cons completely depend on our percentage of indulgence in each taste. Let’s see how!!!
1. Madhura rasa – sweet taste – One of the most popular of all tastes, being frequently consumed by many. Well, people with a “sweet tooth” can completely get my point here…. It would be interesting to know the effects of sweetness on the body and mind. This taste essentially increases kapha dosha and balances pitta and vata doshas. This is in general heavy for digestion. But provides good nourishment to the tissues, soothes the sense organs and also good for ojas ( the essence of all tissues).
2. Amla rasa – sour taste – This taste decreases vata, increases pitta and kapha. It improves digestion, stimulates appetite. It causes salivation and improves the taste. Also never to forget it gives pleasure to our mind. But caution part is it might cause or worsen bleeding tendencies owing to its hot potency.
3. Lavana rasa – salty taste – This taste decreases vata and increases pitta and kapha. It is again hot in potency and hence needs to be regulated. In general all salts improves appetite, aids digestion. It causes an important phenomenon called “kapha nissarana” i.e. it liquifies the kapha dosha.
There are about five types of salts told which are suitable for consumption and all of them have different properties. As we all know, best among the five is Saindhava lavana. Another thing which can’t be ignored is that, salt taste can cause early aging when used in excess.
4. Katu rasa – pungent taste – In general terms we can call it spicy taste too. This taste increases pitta and vata doshas and decreases kapha dosha. It has properties of hot potency and dryness. It stimulates the tongue and causes burning sensation too. Like sour and salt taste, this too improves digestion. Excess consumption of this is not a good idea as it can worsen bleedings, can cause too much thirst etc… From body tissue perspective too, having too much spicy taste isn’t a great thing as it can deplete them.
5. Tikta rasa – bitter taste – This taste isn’t a very popular one. But we do have a saying that, one must “eat what is tasty for the tummy and body and not just tasty for the tongue”… This in general is cold in potency, dry and very light. It is recommended for worm infestations. It is good for oral health and detoxifies blood. But caution is that, it can act as non-aphrodisiac.
6. Kashaya rasa – astringent taste – This taste, the most unpopular one, increases vata and decreases pitta and kapha. Just like bitter taste, this too is light and dry in nature. This too is good for oral health. Caution here is, it is not good for fertility and reproductive health and might cause constipation too. It is good for people with loose motions since it is a good “grahi”.
Now, it’s important to note that, the explanation given above is just a tip of the iceberg. There is much much more to it like the connection between different tastes and the five elements called pancha Mahabhutas, choice of tastes for therapies in various disease conditions etc… These general norms given here with regard to effect of tastes on doshas are very general understanding anday vary rarely. Let’s learn about it in the coming articles ..
Until then, stay tuned !!!
Happy time !!!!