Debunking The Six Ayurvedic Tastes


Understanding the Six Aurvedic tastes could be the beginning of a revolution in your eating and health…

SpicesThe ayurvedic palate includes six tastes, or combinations of elements in food, that when used mindfully, could be your golden ticket in turning your food into medicine. Below is a listing, including the elements you find making up each taste, their properties, therapeutic effect, and examples of these tastes in your cupboard and fridge! Happy, healthy eating!

1.)  SWEET: Earth + Water

The sweet taste has many excellent qualities including promoting strength and longevity, increasing ojas and nourishing all 7 dhatus. In excess it may lead to disease, including diabetes, obesity, lymphatic congestion, edema, and general aggravation of Kapha Dosha.

Pacify: Pitta & Vata
Aggravate: Kapha

Examples: Wheat bread, milk, cream, ghee, rice, starchy vegetables, dairy, meat, molasses, sugar, honey, syrup, fruits such as ripe banana, pear, and dates


2.) SOUR: Earth + Fire

The sour taste can be cleansing and illuminating to the palate, body & mind. It refreshing and stimulating, and helps to purify the body and liver specifically, in moderation. In excess, sour foods can aggravate inflammatory conditions including irritation, heartburn, ulcers, acne, rashes, and hyperacidity.

Pacify: Vata
Aggravate: Kapha & Pitta

Examples: Yoghurt, grapes, vinegar, aged cheeses, fermented foods, and most citrus, tomatoes, berries, alcohol


3.) SALTY: Water + Fire

Salty foods are heating and heavy. In moderation they can help keep the body hydrated, help digestion, support proper electrolyte balance and bring out flavors in food. Certain salts are also a laxative and can cause cleansing. In excess, salt can cause hypertension, excess body heat, edema, increased blood pressure, aggravate ulcers and can even cause skin problems.

Pacify: Vata
Aggravate: Kapha & Pitta

Examples: All types of salt, soy sauce, miso, tamari, sea weed, some fish, salted meats


4.) PUNGENT: Air + Fire

The pungent taste helps stimulate digestion, reduce congestion, improve circulation, and can support mental clarity. It cleans the mouth and is heating and light in nature. In excess it can burn the tissues, creating inflammation, nausea, heartburn, diarrhea, and a reduction in fertility.

Pacify: Kapha
Aggravate: Vata & Pitta

Examples: Chillies, ginger, garlic, onions, black pepper, mustard, horseradish, cayenne, cloves, salsa


5.) BITTER: Air + Space

The bitter taste is most lacking inthe American diet. It’s quite medicinal and undervalued. Bitterness is very cleansing to the palate, liver and blood. It reduces fever, kills certain parasites, and stimulates digestion. It can enhance other flavors as well. It is light and drying to the system. Overuse can cause dehydration, emaciation, and sexual debility.

Pacify: Pitta & Kapha
Aggravate: Vata

Examples: Arugula, dandelion, bitter greens, turmeric, coffee, aloe vera, rhubarb, fenugreek, bitter melon, green & yellow vegetables, kale, celery, beets, broccoli


6.) ASTRINGENT: Air + Earth

The astringent taste is cooling, drying and constricting. It can produce a dry choking sensation in the throat. It can help with the healing of ulcers and the clotting of blood, as it’s an anti-inflammatory taste. It can also reduce sweating and diarrhea. In excess it can cause weakening, constipation, heart spasms, gas retention, dry mouth and even premature aging.

Pacify: Pitta & Kapha
Aggravate: Vata

Examples: Lentils, beans, cruciferous vegetables, apples, pears, unripe bananas, pomegranate, parsley, saffron, basil, okra, alfalfa sprouts, turmeric, tea


Stay tuned for future Ayurvedic Wisdom (most) Wednesdays.

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Yoga&Ayurveda fertilitySarah is a Yoga + Ayurveda Specialist who is passionate about seeing the ‘matrix’ of Ayurvedic wisdom all around us. She teaches classes & workshops around the US, and lives near Bellingham, Washington (a much delicious ecosystem for her constitution!)

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