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Salty Taste

The salty taste is almost singularly derived from salt and is readily identified in our diets.

The Salty Taste At A Glance


Balances:

vata

Aggravates:

pitta and kapha

Primary Elements:

water and fire

Virya (temperature):

heating (though the mildest of the heating tastes)

Vipaka (post-digestive effect): sweet


Gunas (associated qualities):

heavy, oily, hot

Associated Positive Emotions: courage, confidence, enthusiasm, interest

Emotions of Excess:

temptation, addiction, attachment, greed, possessiveness,


irritability

Location on the Tongue:

rear edges of the tongue

Affinity for Organs:

kidneys

Most Affected Tissues:

plasma, blood, muscle, fat, and nervous tissue

Direction of Movement:

Downward (activates apana vayu)

Additional Actions:

anti-spasmodic, appetizer, expectorant, anti-flatulent,


moistening, laxative

Dr. Vasant Lad2

Examples Substances that Illustrate the Salty Taste


Vegetables

celery, seaweed

Dairy

cottage cheese

Meat & Fish

tuna

Spices & Flavorings

table salt, sea salt, rock salt, gamasio, soy sauce, tamari

Benefits
The salty taste increases salivation, and supports digestion, absorption, assimilation, and elimination. 1 It promotes
growth, supports muscle strength, moistens the body, and helps to maintain the water electrolyte balance. 1 It is also
energizing, nutritive, demulcent, grounding, soothing to the nervous system, and because it softens masses
helps to guard against tumors. The salty taste nourishes the plasma (rasa dhatu), clears the channels of the body,

prevents stiffness, and enhances the spirit.1 As an enhancing agent, it helps to combat dullness, depression and a
lack of creativity in our lives.1

In Excess
A little bit of salt enhances the flavor of other foods, but being as intense (and addictive) as it is, salt can also easily
overshadow other flavors entirely, so it is important to strike a balance by using salt in small quantities. If
overused, the salty taste can disturb all of the doshas. It tends to cause sodium and/or water retention, which can
lead to thick and viscous blood, thickening and narrowing of the blood vessels, excess thirst, swelling, edema, or
high blood pressure.1 Excess salt also aggravates skin conditions, hinders sensory perception, and may cause
burning sensations, fainting, wrinkles, grey hair, baldness, ulcers, intestinal inflammation, bleeding disorders,
hyperacidity, vomiting, and infertility. 1, 2

Contraindications
The salty taste can exacerbate the situation in the case of hypertension, high pitta, ulcers, or if there are imbalances
in the blood.

Exceptions
Natural Mineral Salt, or rock salt is cooling rather than heating and is far more balancing for pitta than other forms
of salt. Its mildness and diverse mineral content helps to minimize the potential hazards of excess salt. 2 This type
of salt is very highly regarded in the Ayurvedic tradition, and is considered a superior salt. When used externally,
all types of salt help to draw moisture and toxins out of the body and can help to reduce swelling and inflammation,
or help to heal wounds.2

References
1

Lad, Vasant. Textbook of Ayurveda Vol I: Fundamental Principles of Ayurveda. Albuquerque: The Ayurvedic Press, 2002. Print. 241-242, 245-246.

Pole, Sebastian. Ayurvedic Medicine: The Principles of Traditional Practice. London: Churchill Livingston, 2006. Print. 64.

Lad, Usha and Dr. Vasant Lad. Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing. 2nd ed. Albuquerque: The Ayurvedic Press, 2006. Print. 232-238.