Monthly Archives: November 2011

The Six Tastes

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So far on this blog, we have touched on the 3 doshas, the 20 qualities, the 7 dhatus, the 3 gunas and others. Ayurveda has many categories within it.

So what are the six tastes? 

They are: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter & astringent. Each of the 6 tastes drives from 2 of the 5 elements – ether, air, fire, water and earth.

Sweet is made up of earth and water; Sour is derived from earth & fire, salty from water & fire, pungent is made up of fire & air, bitter of air & ether and astringent comes from earth & air. 

So let’s review the basic Like vs. Like principle: things that are like each other increase each other.

So which doshas resemble which tastes?

Vata is made up of ether & air. Bitter taste is also made up of ether & air. So what will happen if Vata eats bitter foods? Vata will increase.

This is a practical application of one of the principles in the 6 tastes. So, if you are unable to refer to the Recommended Foods list for your dosha, you can simply use the 6 tastes.

Sweet taste derives from earth & water…Kapha is made up of earth & water. Kapha should avoid the Sweet taste or risk creating imbalance (which causes accumulation of ama which causes illness).

Salty taste is made up the fire & water elements. So is Pitta dosha. Those with a primarily Pitta constitution should avoid salty things.   

And we have already discussed why Vata should avoid Bitter taste.

Sometimes when we understand the Ayurvedic principles, it becomes easier to manage  living in balance with our constitution day-to-day.