The six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent) play an essential role in our digestive, assimilation, and elimination processes. Their medicinal qualities can bring balance and therapeutic value to the health of the body, mind, and spirit.
This month we will discuss the Salty taste, which is associated with salt, seaweeds, and sea vegetables, soy sauce, tamari, miso, cheeses, and celery.
Ayurvedically speaking, the Salty taste is a combination of the water and fire elements, which creates moisture and heat, and a grain of salt starts salivation in the mouth and the digestive process.
Because of these qualities, it is considered grounding for the nervous system and encourages stability. Also, it promotes overall growth, muscle strength, keeps the body moist, and helps to maintain the water-electrolyte balance.
Excess use can overshadow the other tastes and disturb the doshas causing water retention, thickening of the blood, narrowing the blood vessels, and high blood pressure. Additionally, Ayurveda believes that excess usage impacts the emotions, causing greed, and the desire for more flavor.
There are many types of salts available (article below), but Natural Mineral Salt (sometimes referred to as Himalayan) is cooling rather than heating and is far more balancing for pitta. It’s mildness, and diverse mineral content helps to minimize the potential hazards of excess salt.
Elements: Fire and water
Gunas: Heavy, oily and hot
Rasa (taste): Salty
Virya (temperature): Heating
Vipaka (after effect): Sweet
Aggravates: Pitta & Kapha
Bio-medical actions: Anti-spasmodic, appetizer, expectorant, anti-flatulent, moistener, and is a laxative.