The 6 Tastes of Ayurveda: Road To Perfect Health

In Ayurveda taste or Rasa is considered an important part of the overall wellbeing of an individual.
Rasa is the Sanskrit word for “taste”. Ayurveda identifies 6 tastes in our diet: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent.
And each of the tastes is believed to be a combination of 5 natural elements of Space (Aakash), Air (Vayu), Fire (Teja), Water (Jala), and Earth (Prithvi) just like the human body and 3 doshas.
Each taste type has two or more life elements that make it an important factor while treating different doshas and each of which plays a significant function in our physiology, health, and well-being.
For Example, the sweet taste is a mix of Earth and Water elements, both of which are also part of the Kapha dosha. Hence, excess consumption of sweet taste can cause a rise in Kapha dosha leading to various illnesses. Whereas, on the other hand, for people with Vata dosha, when consuming sweet taste in moderation, can have a positive effect on health.
Here is a table to help you understand the 6 tastes better:
Tastes Elements Balances Aggravates
Sweet (Madhura) Earth & Water Vata, Pitta Kapha
Sour (Amla) Earth & Fire Vata Pitta, Kapha
Salty (Lavana) Water & Fire Vata Pitta, Kapha
Pungent (Katu) Fire & Air Kapha Vata, Pitta
Bitter (Tikta) Air & Space Pitta, Kapha Vata
Astringent (Kashaya) Air & Earth Pitta, Kapha Vata
Ayurveda suggests including all 6 flavors into each meal. It is believed that including all six tastes into your meals and adjusting the amounts based on your Prakriti (body constitution) can help you maintain balanced nutrition, good health, and overall well-being.
Still, wondering what is your Ayurveda Dosha Type? Take our Dosha Quiz to know more.

The 6 tastes of Ayurveda


Sweet taste is also known as “Madhura” in Sanskrit which means Pleasant and Sweet. Sweet taste is made up of >Water & Earth and helps in balancing Vata and Pitta Dosha.
In Ayurveda out of all the 6 tastes, Sweet is known to be the most grounded and nourishing. It improves longevity, energy, and promotes healthy bodily fluids and tissues when consumed in moderation.

Sweet taste is said to be is the flavor of energy due to which it enhances the Ojas, a vital element of life.

The sweet flavor is obtained from naturally occurring sugars and can be found in foods such as sweet fruits, root vegetables, mung dal, honey, rice, milk products, wheat, rice, pumpkin, maple syrup, cereals, dates, and Yashtimadhu (Glycyrrhiza Glabra), Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus), Bala (Sida Cordifolia), etc.


Sour taste is also known as “Amla”in Sanskrit which means Acidic and Easily Fermentable. Sour taste is made up of Earth & Fire and helps in balancing Vata Dosha.
According to Ayurveda, the sour taste is said to awaken ideas and emotions and promote metabolism, saliva production, and improve overall gut health.
It should be consumed in moderation because it can aggravate Pitta and cause hyperacidity due to its acid nature.
The sour flavor is found in unripe mango, green grape, lemon, tamarind, kiwi, yogurt, cheese, sour cream, vinegar, pickles, soy sauce, alcohol, fermented foods, and Amlaki (Emblica Officinalis), Dadima (Punica Gratum), Amlavetas (Garcinia pedunculate)


Salty taste is also known as “Lavana” in Sanskrit which means Salty in nature. It is made up of Water & Fire and helps in balancing Vata Dosha.
Because of its hydrating nature, salty taste is believed to sharpen senses, confidence, and courage, as well as add flavor to foods, stimulate digestion, cleanse tissues, and boost mineral absorption in the body.
It is recommended to be consumed in moderation as it is linked to hypertension, kidney stones, skin disorders and can cause the blood to thicken due to salt retention
The Salty flavor is found in all types of salt, sea vegetables, black olives, tamari, processed foods, and Shilajit.

Pungent (spicy)

The pungent or spicy taste is also known as “Katu” in Sanskrit which means Very Hot or Pungent in taste. It is made up of Fire & Air and helps in restoring Kapha Dosha imbalance.
Pungent Taste is the hottest of all Rasas, so it, improve appetite, detoxifies tissues, and improve blood circulation.

When used moderately, it stimulates Agni (Digestive Fire), promoting better digestion and absorption, and helps to clear the sinuses.

It provides zeal, stamina, and aids in the sharpening and focusing of the intellect, however, if taken in excess can cause you to be overly critical and cause disorders like diarrhea, heartburn, nausea, Peptic ulcers, and skin problems.

The Pungent flavor is found in Chillies, garlic, onions, and spices such as cayenne pepper, red chili, black pepper, mustard, and ginger.


The bitter taste is also known as “Tikta” in Sanskrit which means Bitter in taste. It is made up of Space & Air and helps to balance Pitta & Kapha Dosha.
It is characterized as the coolest of the six tastes. It is naturally detoxifying and aids in the removal of waste and toxic waste from the body.

Bitter foods also aid in mental purification by relieving you of any negative emotions.

It has cooling, anti-inflammatory, anti-toxic properties due to which kill germs and works as a laxative which It’s good for the pancreas and liver, thus it helps with skin problems and digestion.
If taken in excessive amounts it can induce dryness, roughness, anorexia, and loss of body tissue.
The Bitter taste is found in green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, courgette, eggplant, aubergine, neem, turmeric, fenugreek, dandelion, aloe vera, coffee, tea, grapefruits, olives, bitter melon.


Astringent taste is also known as “Kashaya” in Sanskrit. It is made up of Air & Earth and helps to balance Pitta & Kapha Dosha.
According to Ayurveda this is the driest of all the six flavors due to which it supports wound healing and lessens swelling in the body.
Astringent flavor has anti-inflammatory, decongestant, and anti-diarrheal properties. It can also reduce fat and help in treating ulcers.
It is calming, stabilizing, and assists the mind in organizing itself but when consumed in excess it can cause confusion, sleeplessness, worry, and anxiety. It can also induce constipation, dryness, spasms, and vascular blockage.

The Astringent taste is commonly found in beans and lentils, pomegranates, pears, broccoli, cauliflower, artichoke, asparagus, turnip, rye, buckwheat, quinoa, turmeric, marjoram, coffee, tea.

Saumya Singh

Saumya is a writing enthusiast & a lover of literature who enjoys to write and tell stories. She holds a Master’s degree in English and has a keen interest in the world of Ayurveda.

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