Extracts of Ayurveda: Getting satisfied through rasa: 6 tastes

Jul 20, 2022 | Ayurveda

Some people have special qualities just like some herbs have unique qualities. Certain people have the ability to calm those around them, while others aggravate people, which is how some herbs are as well. If you consume these special herbs, your auras, your immunity, everything starts to activate beautifully. You will experience a calm and peaceful feeling of wellbeing, which is why they are called superfood. For example, moringa is a superfood.

The first thing we will talk about is Rasa of which there are six, a number more than what is noted in the Western way of thinking.

What are the Rasa? According to the Western thinking it is usually sweet, sour, salty and bitter. However, in Ayurveda there are six rasa, sweet, sour, salty, astringent, pungent and bitter. Pungent and astringent are tastes that are difficult to understand. My patients find it difficult to explain these tastes to me.

When you eat it is important that the six tastes are satisfied. Otherwise the body does not feel satiated. That is the importance of these six tastes. The food we eat is usually sweet, sour or salty, which means that we always feel as though something is lacking and that we are not nourished. When this happens you will keep looking for something else to eat to feel satisfied. This is why people crave sweets after a meal.

I help patients, especially overweight patients, change their diet and eating habits during the first consultation itself. They consume the prescribed herbs, sometimes three or four kilos, which provide them with the three very prominent tastes – pungent, astringent and bitter. It is like magic, but it is not magic. When these tastes are satisfied your cravings reduce. Suddenly, you do not need coffee any more, not craving coffee, beer or chocolates anymore. Our brains receive the message that we have satisfied all our taste cravings so that when we eat our hunger is actually reduced. When all the taste cravings are not satisfied your brain receives negative feedback from your tongue, which is why you feel as though you need more food.

This is one of the main reasons people are addicted to curry here, because it gives them a punch and rush which creates a feeling of satisfaction. When you have spices like cinnamon, cardamom, cloves they fulfil the astringent, pungent and bitter tastes prominently, instead of the sweet, sour and salty. This is why you feel more satisfied after eating curry which is why people in Scotland eat more curry than in India.

We need to put six tastes in our food and our medicine to feel satisfied. I ask my patients to take the medicine and place it on their tongues. It does not taste good. In fact it can taste quite disgusting. It is definitely not like eating chocolate cake, but unlike cake it has a very positive effect on you.

After eating the herbs, the change is noticeable. The patient’s tastes change, and addictions reduce because the six states are satisfied. The Triphala tablet is also ideal for this as it has a bitter astringent taste. It identifies your senses and helps your body balance the tastes it needs which helps balance your dosha. What happens if your intuitions tells you that it tastes horrible and because of that it is probably not good for you? It is human nature to reject what you do not like to do even when it is good for you. This human quality is mentioned in the Mahabharata as well, humans look for the easy way out and are reluctant when something is difficult. In life we tend to look for the easy way out and are reluctant to handle the hard things, but sometimes the hard path is better for us.