The concept of the 6 tastes

In order to be able to choose what kind of food is more beneficial for 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.

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 address the cold or hot experience produced by foods when they reach the stomach. The ability of a 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 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 affects to the body is 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.