Concept of 6 Tastes or Rasa in Ayurveda

Concept of rasa : Ayurveda identifies 6 tastes or 6 Rasa. These 6 ayurvedic tastes play an important role in nourishing body and maintaining states of tridoshas. 

 

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We relish food because of its taste. Rasa means “essence,” “taste,” or “flavour,” “sap” or “juice” in Sanskrit. According to principles of Ayurveda the 5 building elements of universe or Panchamahabhuta are present in all matters. 6 Rasas are not an exception to this. All 6 tastes are made up of 5 elements or panchamahabhuta, out of which 2 elements are predominant. 

Here is the list of shadrasa or 6 tastes in ayurveda.

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  1. Madhura Rasa (Sweet Taste) 
  2. Amla Rasa (Sour taste)
  3. Lavana Rasa (Salt taste)
  4. Tikta Rasa (bitter taste)
  5. Katu or Ushna Rasa (Pungent taste)
  6. Kashaya Rasa (Astringent taste)

When used wisely, foods which contain these tastes energise our body and help to balance tridoshas. Kashaya rasa or Astringent taste provide least energy whereas Madhura rasa or sweet taste provide maximum energy. The energy boosting factor successively increases from Kashaya rasa to Madhura Rasa

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Relationship Between Panchamahabhuta and 6 Tastes or Rasa

As said earlier all 6 tastes contain 5 basic elements or Panchamahabhuta. But in each taste two basic elements are dominant. This is known as panchabhoutikatwa of rasa. Here goes the list

 

Rasa

Panchabhoutikatwa

Sweet (Madhura rasa)

Earth + Water

Sour (Amla Rasa)

Earth + Fire

Salt (Lavana Rasa)

Water + Fire

Bitter (Tikta Rasa )

Air + Ether

Pungent (Katu Rasa)

Fire + Air

Astringent (Kashaya Rasa)

Air + Earth

 

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Vata, Pitta and Kapha are three energetic forces which are main reason for body functions. When these are in balanced condition the body will be devoid of diseases. Any imbalance in these cause diseases.

Effect of Rasa or 6 tastes on Tridoshas

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Effect of 6 tastes on VATA DOSHA : Sweet, Sour and salt tastes alleviate Vata dosha whereas Bitter, Pungent and Astringent tastes increase it

Effect of 6 tastes on PITTA  DOSHA: Astringent, Bitter and Sweet tastes alleviate Pitta dosha whereas Sour, Salt and Pungent tastes increase it.

Effect of 6 tastes on KAPHA  DOSHA: Bitter, Pungent and Astringent tastes alleviate Kapha dosha whereas Sweet, Sour and  Salt tastes increase it.

VATA

PITTA

KAPHA

Vitiate

 

Alleviate

Vitiate

 

Alleviate

Vitiate

 

Alleviate

Bitter

Pungent

Astringent

Sweet

Sour

Salt

Sour

Salt

Pungent

Astringent

Bitter

Sweet

Sweet

Sour

Salt

Bitter

Pungent

Astringent

 

Based on individual prakruti or constitution, to keep all tridoshas in balance we have to include foods which contain these tastes (all 6 tastes) in our diet.

How foods with these tastes can imbalance body ?

Example 1:

If you regularly eat foods which are sweet, salty and sour, the Kapha  dosha increases and leads to obesity (sthoulya ) , diabetes (madhu meha ) etc.

If you eat less foods with sweet, salty , sour tastes and more foods which are bitter, pungent and astringent you can reduce body weight and control blood sugar level.

Example 2:

If you regularly eat foods which are sour, salty , pungent the Pitta  dosha increases and leads to acidity, belching and burning sensation etc. (amla pitta)

If you eat less foods with sour, salt, pungent tastes and more foods which are astringent, bitter and sweet you can control the above symptoms.

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Dr.Savitha Suri is an ayurvedic Consultant Physician. She has an experience of 26 years in the field of ayurveda. The content is copyrighted to Dr.Savitha Suri and may not be reproduced on other websites. You can contact her for free online ayurvedic consultations at drsavithasuri@gmail.com .

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