What is pungent taste?
Modern science does not consider pungent as a taste.This is because hot sensation after consuming pungent foods is carried to the brain not by the taste buds but by somatosensory nerves.
Ayurveda is an experience based science and pungent taste has been explained on the basis of experience.It is known as ‘katu rasa’ in Ayurveda.
What are the properties of pungent taste?
It is composed of air and fire elements. These elements impart the properties light ,hot and dry.It aggravates Pita and Vata and normalizes Kapha.
Why is it important for me to consume pungent taste?
Pungent when used in moderation cleanses the oral cavity,ignites our digestive fire,helps in absorption of food,cleanses the nose and eyes by increasing secretions,reduces toxins, edema and weight,breaks blood clots ,kills germs and opens up the micro channels .
All the actions can be understood by realizing Pita -Vata aggravating and Kapha pacifying properties of pungent taste.
Aggravated Kapha is responsible for all the blockages,atherosclerosis,high cholesterol,mucus plugs in the respiratory tract,sinus congestion ,edema,obesity,poor digestion e.t.c and pungent is a good remedy in all these conditions because of having opposite qualities to Kapha.
So a Vata personality should have less of pungent while pita should better avoid taking pungent.
How it affects my mental faculties?
It stimulates the sense organs to work more efficiently. It increases competitiveness and zeal to achieve high in life.We become more alert and clarity of thought emerges. Pungents when added to food make it rajasic or stimulating .All these are properties of strengthened Pita and Vata .
What happens if I take too much of pungent taste?
Excess of pungent taste in our diet over a period of time will lead to the bad effects like loss of virility,wasting of tissues, fainting,giddiness,burning in throat and body,loss of strength,thirst,tingling sensation,tremors,piercing and stabbing pains,Vata disorders in the limbs,back and pelvic area.
Pungent taste needs mass to act upon just as fire needs fuel otherwise it can burn up everything .If it is consumed by a lean and thin personality it will cause further loss of mass.
People used to eating Kapha aggravating foods like ice creams,cakes,pastries e.t.c. will do themselves great favor by including some pungent in their diets.
On the mental level excess use will give rise to feelings of anger,jealousy,over attachment e.t.c.
What are the sources of pungent taste?
Pungent taste is abundant in herbs and spices like black pepper,red chilies,cardamom,ginger,garlic ,mustard, basil,mentha e.t.c.
In the west unlike in India most of the spices are irradiated and hence harmful. We should look for non irradiated spices to derive all their health benefits and a better taste.