The concept of the 6 tastes

In order to be able to choose what kind of food is more beneficial to our health, we should understand the following concepts: Rasa, Virya y Vipaka.

Rasa – Taste

The taste starts in the mouth, thanks to the taste buds and the water. Without water, we could not perceive the flavors. In order to have a good digestion all the buds should be activated, this means that in more or less proportion all the tastes should be present per meal. Each taste is linked to some elements.

The concept of the 6 tastes Ayurveda Sayoni Care

Ayurveda recognizes 6 types:

  • Neutral – Sweet “Madhura”: Earth + water.
  • Salty “Lavana”: Earth + fire.
  • Sour “Amla”: Water + fire.
  • Bitter “Tikta”: Space + air.
  • Pungent “Katu”: Air + fire.
  • Astringent “Kasaya”: Earth + air.

*Dosha increase:

  • Vata: bitter / pungent/ astringent
  • Pitta: Sour / salty / pungent
  • Kapha: Neutral – sweet / sour / salty

*Dosha decrease:

  • Vata: Neutral – sweet / sour / salty
  • Pitta: Neutral – sweet / bitter / astringent
  • Kapha: Pungent / bitter / astringent

The concept of the 6 tastes Ayurveda Sayoni Care

Virya – Heating or cooling action

Virya addresses the cold or hot experience produced by foods when they reach the stomach. The ability of food to stimulate or suppress the metabolism

  • Cold Virya: sweet, bitter y astringent (increase Vata and Kapha, balance Pitta)
  • Hot Virya: salty, sour, hot (increase Pitta, reducing Vata and Kapha)

The concept of the 6 tastes Ayurveda Sayoni Care

Vipaka – Post digestive effect

The post-digested effect produced by ingested food in long term.

  • Neutral – sweet and salty taste become neutral – sweet taste (anabolic, builds tissues)
  • Sour taste remains sour in long-term (anabolic, builds tissues)
  • Pungent, bitter and astringent become pungent in taste (catabolic, reduces tissues)

There are some exceptions which in Ayurveda are called Prabhav. As an example see the list below to mention a few:

  • Honey, has a cold Virya but is warming in nature.
  • Lemon, is sour and has a warming Virya but its effects to the body are cooling.
  • Turmeric is bitter and cold but warms the body up.
  • Pomegranate is astringent, cold and with a pungent Vipaka, but has a neutral effect to the body.