Action of Taste in Ayurveda
6.1 Ayurveda and Taste:
To understand how dietary and herbal treatments are used in Ayurveda it is first necessary to understand the Ayurvedic concept of taste. Prana is the source of the five states of matter, which in turn combine to make the six recognized tastes. It is the interaction of the five elements together with prana that give a taste to a substance.
Water and earth constitute the substratum for the manifestation of taste which is the object of the gustatory sense organ. As to the specific qualities of taste, the remaining three (elements: ether, air, fire) are responsible for their manifestation.
Thus we see that the water, then the earth elements are the basic for taste. In fact, without water we cannot taste. Together these two accommodate the possibility for taste, also they provide the basis of most of our food. The other three elements give the qualities to a substance and the variation in taste. Ninety percent of our food has the taste predominant in the water and earth principles. Together these five elements create the six recognized therapeutic tastes.