Ayurveda talks of six tastes, Sweet, Sour, Salty, Pungent, Bitter and Astringent. Each one is governed by a Dosha. Each taste may aggravate or alleviate a particular Dosha, Dhatu or Mala/s. The varying combinations of the Maha Bhutas are responsible for creation of these six tastes in nature.
The six tastes are:
Taste Comprised of (C/of) Aggravates (Agg.) Pacifies (Pac.)
- Sweet (Madhura): (C/of) Water + Earth; (Agg.) Kapha; (Pac.) Vata & Pitta;
Pros: Gives strength to Body tissues, gives the body its lustre, good hair, sense organs, provides good body shape, soothing to the throat, increases breast milk, helps in healing of the broken bones etc., is heavy, prolongs life, unctuous, alleviates Vata, Pitta & Poison. Honey, Old Rice, Meat of desert dwelling animals etc. do not increase Kapha in the body.
Cons: Excess intake vitiates Kapha, and causes related problems like Obesity, Dyspepsia, Diabetes, Delirium, Malignant Tumour, Neck Enlargement etc.
Examples: Ghee, Molasses, Most fruits, Gold, Gokshura etc.
- Sour (Amla): (C/of) Fire + Earth; (Agg.) Pitta & Kapha; (Pac.) Vata:
Pros: It stimulates the digestive fire, appetiser, unctuous (and thus help in elimination of faeces, urine and flatus), good for heart, potency-hot, Causes moistening, increases Kapha & Pitta and moves excess Vata downwards. Amalaki (Awla) does not increase Pitta in the body.
Cons: Causes flabbiness of the body, loss of strength, loss of vision, whitishness to the skin, fever, small pox, skin related issues.
Examples: Curd, Amalaki, Silver etc.
- Salty (Lavana): (C/of) Fire + Water; (Agg.) Pitta & Kapha; (Pac.) Vata:
Pros: Provides flexibility, clears obstructions of the channels, Increases digestive fire, Induces sweating, dissolves skin growths like abscess etc.
Cons: Increases Vata & Pitta, Baldness, Greying of hair, adversely affects vision, skin wrinkles & other skin ailments, loss of body strength. Sendha Salt is not bad for eyes.
Examples: Sendha salt, Alkalis, Lead etc.
- Pungent (Katuka): (C/of) Air + Fire; (Agg.) Vata & Pitta; (Pac.) Kapha:
Pros: Cures throat ailments, Skin ailments, Indigestion, Water retention in the body, Reduces swelling/Dries ulcers, Good for excess oily skin, Appetiser, Eliminates excess Doshas in the body, Breaks up hard masses/tumours of the body, Expands the channels, Alleviates Kapha.
Cons: Causes Thirst, Depletion of Shukra (semen), Loss of energy, Fainting, Vitiates Vata & Pitta, Bach-Ache
Examples: Heeng, Maricha, Leafy Vegetables, Pitta (Liver Bile) etc.
- Bitter (Tiqta): (C/of) Ether (Akasha) + Air; (Agg.) Vata; (Pac.) Pitta & Kapha;
Pros: Cures Anorexia (Dislike for food! Desire to look thin!), Intestinal worms, Thirst, Blood Impurity/ies, Skin Ailments, Unconsciousness, fever, Nausea, Has drying action on body fats, faeces & Urine, Increases Intelligence, Improves the working of the Mammary glands, Soothes/Cures throat ailments. It is cool in potency, and alleviates Pitta & Kapha.
Cons: In excess causes depletion of Dhatus, Vitiates Vata.
Examples: Aguru, Guduchi, Bronze, Iron etc.
- Astringent (Kashaya): (C/of) Air + Earth; (Agg.) Vata; (Pac.) Pitta & Kapha.
Pros: Alleviates Pitta & Kapha, Blood Cleanser, Heals wounds, Cold in Potency, Cleanses the Skin.
Cons: Heavy, Diminishes Digestive Fire, Flatulence, Obstruction in Channels (Body Ache/Ache in the region of Heart), Fainting.
Examples: Honey, Dates (Khajura), Pearl, Coral, Antimony etc.