The Rasas

In Sanskrit, “rasa” means taste

One of COVID-19’s lesser-known symptoms is anosmia, otherwise referred to as loss of smell. Our senses are intricately connected, with taste and smell sharing an especially intimate relationship. The six tastes of Ayurveda are as follows:

  1. Madhura ~ Sweet

  2. Amla ~ Sour

  3. Lavana ~ Salty

  4. Katu ~ Pungent

  5. Tikta ~ Bitter

  6. Kashaya ~ Astringent

Madhura is the most nourishing rasa. Amla assists in stimulating our body, from promoting metabolism to eliciting ideas and feelings. Lavana keeps us hydrated by maintaining the water-electrolyte balance. Katu provides the body warmth and so it encourages toxin removal through sweating and the like. Tikta also serves as a detoxifier but through cooling and drying methods such as alleviating thirst. Kashaya promotes unifying the body in order to prevent situations like excess bleeding, diarrhea, etcetera.

Those with Vata tendencies would benefit from consuming sweet, salty, and sour substances. Individuals who are Kapha-dominant should lean towards eating astringent, bitter, and pungent aka spicy food. Pitta people fall in the middle, as they derive benefits from sweet flavors as well as astringent and bitter properties.

Source: Lad, V. The Textbook of Ayurveda, Volume One. The Ayurvedic Press: Albuquerque, 2002.