|The Six Tastes
Ayurveda recognizes six tastes in food and herbs. These are sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter and
astringent. Each is composed of two elements. Sweet is composed of earth and water; salty of water
and fire; sour of earth and fire; pungent of fire and air; bitter of air
and ether; and astringent of earth and air.
Sweet is sweet or pleasant in taste as in most foods; sugars, starches,
carbohydrates, dairy, nuts, meat. It is strengthening and nourishing and
has a tonic, demulcent and laxative effect. Salty is as in table salt. It
has a stimulant, demulcent, laxative and sedative effect. Sour is as in sour
fruit, pickles or vinegar.
It has a stimulant, expectorant and laxative
effect. Pungent is as in spices like pepper, mustard, ginger or cinnamon. Its properties are
stimulant, diaphoretic, decongestant, analgesic and diuretic. Bitter is as in
bitters like gentian, golden seal. Its action is cleansing, detoxifying, alterative