Ayurveda recognizes that each element in nature has a subtle impact on us. It is not only because we are ingesting the substances but also because we are made of the same resonance. It is hard to believe that there are already the elements of an apple, a rock and a river inside of us.
Each of the tastes we put in our mouth produces a secretion in the stomach, an emotional response and a mental attitude. The importance of taking all six tastes is not only for optimum digestion and balance but is also a way of maturing our senses, emotions and intellect.
The Sweet Taste (Madhura – earth and water)
Sweet taste is often associated with feelings of love, care and compassion. If there is an imbalance of sweet taste or a lack of contentment, and through indulging in sweet foods, sweet taste brings positive memories, thoughts of loved ones and feelings of devotion. Likewise, we offer chocolates and candy to our lovers as a token of love and friendship. Basically, sweet taste is the taste of compassion and satisfaction. When the sweetness is over it brings possessiveness and attachment.
The Sour Taste (Amla – earth and fire)
The sour taste is hot and sharp in nature, which aids concentration and sharpening the intellect. This taste brings discrimination and stimulation. An imbalance of sour taste can cause feelings of anger, envy, jealousy and criticism that may be result of unfulfilled desires. For example, people that complain a lot are referred to as a “sour apple” or a sour puss”.
The Salty Taste (Lavana – water and fire)
The salty taste enhances the flavour of the foods, and it is believed that the salty taste lifts the spirit and sparks interest in life. It brings confidence and increases the zest of life. Like the sweet taste, it increases Kapha energy, which is related to emotions like possessiveness, greed and attachment. Indulgence in salty taste promotes temptation, desires, greed and being over ambitious. Salt also balances all the other elements and serves as a grounder.
The Pungent Taste ( Katu – air and fire)
The pungent taste is associated with drive and motivational energy. It brings boldness, vigour and vitality. It improves concentration and sharpness of thoughts. Indulgence in this taste can bring anger, violence and hatred.
The Bitter Taste (Tikta – air and space)
The bitter taste is the opposite taste of sweet. It brings hatred and dissatisfaction. This is the taste that aides the desire to be celibate and promotes introversion and introspection. In excess, it makes a person boring, isolated, lonely and having grief and sorrow.
The Astringent Taste (Kashaya – air and earth)
The astringent taste is composed of the Earth element. Thus, it is supporting and grounding which brings together scattered feelings, thoughts and emotions. In excess, it brings insecurity, anxiety, depression, absent-mindedness and fear.