Shad rasa are the six different tastes that are known to your taste buds: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent. In Ayurveda text, these are mentioned as madhur, amal, lavana, katu, tikta, and shaya rasas.
It is a lesser known fact that these not only render the differentiation of tastes, but also provide a good contribution to your basic health by nurturing various actions in the body systems. It is therefore advisable to choose and supplement the same after actually considering your body needs and suitability.
To become a proud possessor of sound health, it is also equally important that your daily diet contains all the six tastes.
Effects of Various Tastes on Health
Madhur rasa (sweet): The sweet taste is believed to increase the general body resistance against a disease. As per Ayurvedic text, this specific taste helps to increase the body tissues, and as a consequence, it enhances the ojas, or the vital energy reserve, of the body and mind. This taste therefore aids in increasing not only immunity, but also the general health of an individual and keeps aging at a distance.
Amal rasa (sour): The sour taste is believed to enhance the strength of the body by providing nutrition to the body tissues. It also increases the taste for food and salivation.
Lavana rasa (salty): The salty taste imparts a relish for the food and provides softness to the body parts. At the same time, it causes a decrease in the body strength of an individual and increases weakness and lethargy.
Katu rasa (bitter): The bitter taste is believed to cause demolition of body tissues and obesity. It is also antitoxic in nature, and thus destroys intestinal parasites and aids in curing skin ailments.
Tikta rasa (pungent): Pungent tastes act as blood purifier and helps in creating a good appetite. It also has a nature of drying the body tissue mainly mucous, fat, and pus.
Kshaya rasa (astringent): Astringent tastes causes dryness of the body tissues and lessens the secretion from mucous membranes.
Significance of Shad Rasa
The six tastes show different processes of digestion. Food items that are sweet, sour. and salty in taste have properties of being heavy, slimy, and oily and therefore are mildly laxative by nature. Bitter, pungent, and astringent tastes are light and dry by nature, and so tend to cause constipation.
All the six types of tastes, according to their mode of action, can be divided into two categories: cold or hot. The tastes sweet, pungent and astringent are considered to be cold in nature, and thus cool the body system by reducing the body heat. Therapeutically, these are used in heat-related disorders such as fainting and burning inside the body. Sour, salty, and bitter tastes are generally hot in nature and therefore act in increasing the body heat.
For a virtuous and sustained healthy living, it is important to cultivate the habit of using all the six tastes in our daily diet. The knowledge of their actions on the body systems can prove helpful so as to supplement the desired taste, in accordance to the body requirements. Additionally, the timely curb on the tastes more extensively used can help to keep the disease at a distance.
A balanced intake of all the six tastes ensures good health. These rasas, when taken in disproportion, result into distortion in either of the three doshas, or body humors: air, heat and phlegm, and this results into production of a disease.
Dr. Sonica Krishan is Ayurveda and Natural Lifestyle Healer and Consultant based at Chandigarh, India. She has authored the natural home cure books Herbal Healers, Home Remedies, and Healing Through Ayurveda. Dr. Sonica is presently writing for national and international publications. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.herboveda.co.in/.