Rasa – the taste of life

We don’t normally think of taste as having healing properties of being therapeutic, food yes but taste? Not so much.

According to Ayurveda, the taste of a herb is not incidental, it is an indication of its actions and healing properties. The word Rasa means essence or juice, so it is more than just taste, it is the essence of the plant or herb.

There are six main rasas in ayurvedic terms and they interact with our dosha in different ways (if unsure of your dosha or dosha imbalance you can do our dosha quiz or event better, book a consultation as no quiz I know of is 100% accurate):

  • Sweet – cooling – balances pitta and vata but aggravates kapha
  • Sour – heating – balances vata but aggravates pitta and kapha
  • Salty – mildly heating – balances vata but aggrevates pitta and kapha
  • Bitter – cooling – balances pitta and kapha but aggrevates vata
  • Pungent – heating – balances kapha but aggrevates pitta and vata
  • Astringent – mildly cooling – balances kapha and pitta but aggravates vata

Ideally a fulfilling meal will contain all these tastes, it’s why we often crave something sweet after a savoury meal as this is often the taste that has been missed (but doesn’t have to be) or why we want a bitter coffee or astringent glass of red wine with or after a meal, we are unconsciously aiming to satisfy all of these tastes.

If we can successfully provide our body with the full spectrum of tastes then it will prevent us from craving something more and it’s our cravings that often have a negative impact on our health. If we are satisfied we won’t need a dunkin’ donut after a fine dining meal out.

Eating all six rasas also has the added benefit of stimulating the digestive system – one of the big causes of disease is a sluggish digestion, when the food we eat is not properly digested it creates ama (toxins) which in turns causes illness and disease.

But you are probably questioning why I am suggesting you round out a meal with all the tastes if some of them will aggravate your dosha – the secret as always, is balance. A little is fine but if you are a pitta person who goes heavy on the salt, loves salty food, smashes salty crisps (I talk from experience), then that will cause an imbalance FOR SURE. A little salt in your meals will not.

In addition, eating all six tastes is said to BALANCE the doshas whereas eating predominately two or three will cause an imbalance.

So, hope onto instagram to see some visuals of what sort of food relates to each rasa but here’s a little recipe for you to hit the rasas in one swoop with thanks to Hale Pule.

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