Ayurveda and its six basic flavors
Flavors are essential parts of Ayurveda. Each smell, herb, seasoning, taste have a function according to their most striking characteristics to the palate. Do you know all six basic flavors?
In fact, the word rasa, flavor in Sanskrit, is loaded with other meanings such as experience, enthusiasm, juice, plasma and essence. Rasa is, after all, the essence of life for Ayurveda, because it all starts with digestion, for better and for worse.
Each flavor, or rasa, contains elements of the universe itself. The six tastes and their elements are:
Sweet – Earth and Water
Sour – Earth and Fire
Pungent – Fire and Air
Bitter – Air and Ether
Salty – Water and Fire
Astringent – Air and Ground
Each rasa has an effect on each dosha – the set of mental and physical characteristics of a person, and they can attenuate or accentuate these qualities.
In general, the sweet taste is very beneficial to the mucous membranes throughout the body, to the skin, is positive for voice and to increase the immunity. It is strengthening, nourishing, energizing, tonic and soothing to the mind, often used to increase clarity and awareness.
As a powerful digestive, it increases the sensation of fullness, secretion of digestive enzymes and stimulates the metabolism. It stimulates the liver functions and flow of bile. It also awakens the mind and helps to unite the dispersed energy. It is anti-flatulent, antispasmodic, energizing, refreshing. Acid fruits are usually high in vitamin C and that’s why they are considered antioxidant and rejuvenating.
It warms the body, cleanses the mouth, clears the senses, amplifies other flavors, improves digestion, absorption and elimination of food. It is stimulating, invigorating, penetrating and sanitizing. It also increases circulation, stimulates perspiration, eliminates itching, cleanses toxins, purifies blood and muscles, lowers cholesterol and clears the internal channels.
Cleanses fat and toxins from the body. It also improves all other tastes, relieves thirst, stimulates a healthy appetite, kills germs and cleans parasites of the gastrointestinal tract. It can reduce fainting tendencies and also benefits the skin, relieving burns, itching and swelling.It also tones muscles and skin, as well as being a potent digestive tonic, as it further increases the release of digestive enzymes.
Salty flavor increase salivation and facilitate digestion. It promotes muscle growth and strength, humidify the body and maintain the electrolyte balance of water. This flavor is energizing, nourishing, soothing to the nervous system and helps protect against tumors. It also helps in combating the boredom, depression and lack of creativity in our lives.
The astringent taste absorbs excessive moisture, prevents leakage of fluids, inhibits bleeding, promotes coagulation, cleanses mucous membranes, decongests, absorbs fat, improves nutrient absorption and helps in the formation of faeces. It is a very effective tool in combating excess bleeding, sweating, diarrhea, leucorrhea, etc. The astringent taste also helps heal wounds and prevents coughing.