The Six Tastes ~ Astringent


The astringent taste is a combination of the Air and Earth elements which are drying, cooling, and heavy in nature. Its taste is generally produced by tannins from the bark, leaves, and outer rinds of fruits and trees.

Being the least common of the six tastes it is often described more in the relation to ifs effect on the tongue and mucus membranes creating an immediate dry, chalky, and puckering sensation in the mouth.

This taste is usually associated with cranberries, unripe banana, or beans. Many foods have a milder astringency like broccoli, cauliflower, crackers or chips, and most raw vegetables, and the astringent taste is frequently complimented by the sweet or sour tastes.

If overused, the astringent taste can create dry mouth, choking, spasms, gripping sensations in the intestines, gas, bloating, distention, and constipation. In addition, it can also smoother the digestive fire, cause thirst, stiffness, coagulation, and clotting in the blood, stagnation in circulation, cardiac spasms, insomnia, emotional stagnation, and depression.

Bitter Ayurvedic Facts:

Elements: Air & Earth

Energetics: Dry and Heavy

Taste (Rasa): Bitter

Temperature (Virya): Cooling

Digestive after effect (Vipaka): Pungent

Stage/Location Digestion: Cecum

Digests: Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats absorbs liquids, and is very high in minerals

Balances: Pitta & Kapha

Aggravates: Vata

Benefits: Tones tissues, reduces sweating, and cools excess heat. It stimulates peristalsis and elimination, absorbs excess moisture, promotes blood clotting, cleanses mucus membranes, decongests, scrapes fat, improves absorption, and has a binding effect in the body.

Bio-Medical Actions: Anti-inflammatory, hemostatic (stops bleeding), vasoconstrictor

Foods: Apples, bananas, cranberries, pomegranate, sprouts, avocado, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, raw carrots, cauliflower, green beans, lettuce, peas, potatoes, pasta, legumes, popcorn, basil, bay, caraway, coriander, dill, fennel, nutmeg, oregano, parsley, poppy seeds, rosemary, saffron, turmeric, and vanilla.

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