Ayurveda - Understanding Bitter Taste

-by Monika Manohar | 09/21/2016 |

Ayurveda- Understanding Bitter taste

Introduction - Bitterness is the most sensitive of the tastes, and many perceive it as unpleasant, sharp, or disagreeable, but it is appreciated in beer and in certain types of wines. Bitter properties in a food can enhance the flavor of other tastes, and this flavor is known to be a strong detoxifier, antiseptic agent, and helps to reduce food cravings..

Composition – Bitter taste is composed of Air and Ether elements.

Effect of Bitter taste on the three doshas (Kapha, Pitta, and Vata): –

Bitter taste decreases Kapha and Pitta. It increases Vata Dosha.

Example for bitter tasting herbs – Bitter melon, Fenugreek seeds, basil, leafy greens, turmeric, herbal teas, coffee,

Effect of Bitter taste on body and mind –

  • Bitter taste cleanses the palate, but will overpower other tastes if eaten simultaneously.
  • Cleanses oral cavity
  • Cleanses and detoxifies throat
  • Causes dryness of mouth
  • Increases digestion strength
  • Helps to relieve intestinal worms
  • Detoxifies blood
  • Useful to relieve sputum from respiratory tract
  • Heals wounds without pus formation, reduces pus formation on wounds with it
  • Acts as a drying agent on the body
  • Decreases cholesterol
  • Anti toxic
  • Relieves burning sensation
  • Decreases sweating
  • Relieves itching
  • Useful in skin disorders
  • Cleanses breast milk
  • Useful in fever

Excess of Bitter causes increase of Vata, leading to the following symptoms –

  • Emaciation and dryness of tissues
  • Dryness, roughness, of body channels
  • Debility, tiredness
  • Emaciation, weight loss
  • Fainting, unconsciousness
  • Dryness of mouth

Conclusion- The bitter taste is one of the six tastes in Ayurveda that lead to a healthy balance. However, as with many things in life, too much/too little of foods that are categorized as having a bitter taste can cause the body to come out of balance. Accordingly, it is best to make sure to get the right amount of each taste in your daily diet.

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