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Pungent taste is made up of the elements air and fire. It is the hottest of all the tastes and most stimulating to digestion. It is light and very dry in quality. It's It's virya is hot
Its vipak is pungent, that is, it stays hot, light and dry in its effect on the body from beginning to end. For this reason, it is a marvelous balancer for Kapha, drying out and warming up Kapha's excess dampness and mass.
Small amounts of pungent taste can be useful for Vata, especially in conjunction with other less drying tastes. In these quantities it will warm and stimulate Vata digestion. Larger amounts of pungent foods can be most aggravating to Vata because the lightness and dryness create extra movement and dehydration in the system.
Bitter taste is made up of the elements air and ether. It is the coldest and lightest of all the tastes. It also tends to be fairly dry. It's virya is cold
Its vipak is pungent. This means that bitter continues to have a lightening and drying effect over time, yet its, coolness is somewhat moderated or warmed by its pungent vipak. Short-term effects of bitter are definitely cooling.
Bitter taste provides an excellent balance for the heavy, moistening qualities of salty, sour and sweet tastes.
Dark leafy greens are one excellent example of a bitter food.
Air and earth compose the sixth taste, astringent. It has a cooling virya, not so cold as bitter, yet cooler than sweet in its effect on digestion, which it inhibits. It has a slight lightening and drying quality.
Its vipak is pungency. In the short term it is cool, light and dry. Over time it continues to be light and dry, yet exerts less and less of a cooling effect on the body.
Its gentle coolness moderates Pitta's heat. Its light dry qualities help balance Kapha. Astringent taste is not at all useful for Vata, because, like bitter, it simply makes Vata more chilly and dry. Astringent taste has a contracting effect on digestion and can slow it down.
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