These may be regarded as the properties which are being contained in a substance.
» Gurvadi gunna
» Madhur (sweet)
» Amal (sour)
» Lavan (salt) Paradi gunna
» Aadhyaatmik gunna
» Visishta gunna
» Tickt (bitter)
» Katu (pungent)
» Kashya (astringent)
In addition to the consideration of the virya, there is the prabhavh or the inexplicable action of a substance. Chitrak (plumbago sps.) has katu rasa (pungent taste), ushan virya and katu vipaka and thus it is a valuable kapha suppressing agent. Danti moola similarly has katu rasa, ushan virya and katu vipaka and it is also a katu rasa, ushan virya and katu vipaka and it is also kapha reducing agent, but danti is a purgative whereaschitraka is not. For generally speaking, drugs which have a katu vipaka are not purgative and this danti is an exception. Katu vipaka acts like katu rasa i.e. acts upwards since katu rasa consists of Agni and Vayu mahabhoot in preponderance, which have a tendency to move upwards. Hence danti moola should constipate strictly speaking. But here is the fact of the purgative action of danti moola and this is attributed to its prabhavh i.e. inexplicable phenomenon. The relative strength of rasa virya, vipaka, prabhavh when they are of (bala samya) equal strength is as follows. Vipaka is more powerful than rasa; virya is more powerful than vipaka. Prabhavh is more powerful than virya and hence most powerful than all. All these have their effects in their due time and so they are not inimical towards each other and if the individual effects are similar, the total effect will produce its own properties have also their own valuable use in therapeutics. It may be noted that in the above order, vipaka, though coming after virya, is not stronger than virya. Maharishi Charak has given the order as rasa, virya, vipaka and prabhavh while Vagabhatta has it as rasa, vipaka, virya and prabhavh.
When we eat or drink a substance it comes in the contact with jathar Agni (digestive fire). If the jatharagni is in its normal state it is able to digest (pachan) the substance eaten. During this digestion the food undergoes many bio transformational changes. In this process of paak (physiological condition of digestion) due to different degrees of digestion, the transformation of rasa takes place. This changing of rasa of the substance into a certain similar or dissimilar rasa is called vipaka. After completion of digestion, the substance or the food ingested would produce certain action by which we can know the process under which the substance has undergone. Hence vipaka is judged by anumana (inference made after observation).
The effects of vipaka commences after the full digestion is completed. These vipaka are of there types.
• Madhur vipaka
• Aamla vipaka
• Katu vipaka
In a general madhur vipaka increases kapha dosha, aamla vipaka increases pitta and katu vipaka increases vata. Madhur rasa (sweet taste) and lavan rasa usually under goes madhur vipaka, aamla rasa (sour taste) usually produces aamla vipaka. Katu rasa, tickt rasa and kashaya rasa produces katu vipaka. As an example of draksha (grapes), undergoes madhur vipaka. Rasa is pratyaksh (directly known to our senses) but vipaka is inferred from its effect.Saindhav lavan (rock salt) or even samundra lavan (common salt) undergoes madhur vipaka. Amlaki (Indian goose berry) which possess amal rasa undergoes madhur vipaka and not and amal vipaka as expected. On the contrary sunthi, which is of katu rasa, undergoes katu vipaka only. Consequently marich (black pepper) which is a shleshma hara (suppresses kapha) but it is also avrishya, as compared to the sunthi is also a shlesham hara (suppresses kapha) to some extent but not avrishya on account of its undergoing madhur vipaka. This special property enables sunthi to be used, when there is kapha vitiation and lack vrishya principle in the body while marich is valuable in kapha vitiation with no consequent fear of avrishyatwa. It may be clearly seen that the degree of khapahara (suppressing kapha) principle in marich is greater than that of sunthi. These subtle points of difference are to be noted carefully.
Virya in general can be understood as Shakti (power). The virya accounts for the effects of the drug from the time ingestion and as long as it lasts in the body. A substance manifests its actions as soon as it comes in contact with the tongue and as log as it lasts in the body before excretion. According to a famous rishi, Maharishi chakrapani, the substance manifests its actions through its virya only till the vipaka takes place. His position is that rasa comments and its action only during the stage of its contact with the tongue.
Just after the action of virya commences and it lasts till the paak (digestion) is over and ultimate action of the drug is seen in its vipaka. The effect of virya of some substances are seen during the stage of initial on that there are two kinds of virya namely ushan (hot) and sheet (cold) virya.It can be seen that a substance contributes its properties top the body by rasa (rasa) to some extent, by virya (power) to some extent, vipaka by some extent and by prabhavh (action) by some extent. Sometimes, all the first three may fall in one line and thus act homogenously. As an example, draksha fruit (grapes) or milk or ghee has madhur rasa, madhur vipaka and sheet virya, hence homogenous effect of mitigation of vata and pitta is produced. In honey, as seen on the other hand, we find that it is a strong kapha reducing factor, since it undergoes katu vipaka. Honey has madhur and kashaya rasa. As it is madhur rasa, it definitely should increase kapha, but it does not happen. In contrast it reduces kapha. We can here explain this phenomenon so as to katu vipaka. Sometimes, this vipaka in certain substances has favorable effects and in certain instances unfavorable effects. If a substance has rasa, virya, vipaka, all of which have their contributions throughout. If not, they will have different effect, which are not incompatible. Thus pipilli (piper longum) reduces kapha by effect of its rasa as soon as it comes, into contact with the tongue and continues the same kapha suppressing action when its ushan virya (hot potency) but stops its kapha suppressing properties when it undergoes madhur vipaka. On an account of such madhur vipaka, the total effect will be reduction of kapha when it comes into contact with the tongue, continues to do the same still further on account of its ushan virya (hot potency) and katu vipaka. Thus marich (black pepper) is valuable in suppressing kapha more than sunthi (dried ginger) or pipilli (piper longum) but as it causes loss of virility, it is not as valuable as sunthi in these cases where loss of virility is found along with excess of kapha.
These are six in number. It includes itcha (desire), dwesh (hatred), sukha (happiness), dukha (misery), praytan (effort) and budhi (brainpower). These are the things which are related to the mind and are not the things which can be visualized. These are the expression in which a person reacts in a given situation.
These are of 20 types Guru (heaviness) - it is that which a dravya has naturally due to gravitational action. It creates heaviness in body. It increases kapha dosha in body and causes stuffing in the body. These types of dravya reduce digestive fires. It possesses the excess ofPrithvi (earth) mahabhoot. Madhur rasa (sweet taste) is also considered as guru (heavy).
Laghu (lightness) – it is the degree of lightness in a dravya. It is the synonym of guru (heaviness). Thos which gets easily digested come under this. These substances create a feeling of lightness in the body. It increases vata in body and suppresses kapha. It reduces (lahghan) dhatus. It also helps in healing of wounds. It is very much helpful in cleansing of strotas (channels) in the body. It is responsible for excreting out doshas from the mouth (Vaman karma). It ignites the digestive fire. It increases activeness in body. It consists of dominance of Aakash (ether) mahabhoot. it also contains Vayu (air) and agni (fire) mahabhoot
Sheet (cold) – it is the degree of coolness in a substance. It subdues the hotness and burning in the body. It decreases the pitta dosha and increases vata and kapha. It contains dominance of Jal (water) mahabhoot. it contains madhur (sweet), tickt (bitter) and kashaya (astringent)
Ushan (hot) - it is the degree of hotness in a substance (dravya). It is synonym to sheet. It
increases warmth in the body. It increases pitta dosha in the body and reduces vata and kapha in the body. It encourages excretion of seat, urine and feces from thebody. It helps in digestion and metabolism of the food. It contains dominance of Agni (fire) mahabhoot.
Snigdh (unctuousness) – it is of slimy and damp in nature. It is soft, smooth and watery. It reduces vata and increase kapha dosha. It provides nutrition to all the dhatus (tissues) and also increase the overall strength of the body. It has the dominance of kapha gunna. It consists of dominance of Jal (water) mahabhoot. It contains madhur (sweet), amal (sour) and lavan (salty) rasa. Excess of this causes laziness, diabetes etc.
Ruksh (unctuousness) – It is the degree of dryness. It has the power to absorb watery material that makes are body hard and rough. It is vata aggravator and kapha suppressant. Vayu (air) is the dominant mahabhoot in it. Katu (pungent), tickt (bitter) and kashaya(astringent) rasa are dominant taste in it. Excessive consumption of substance rich in ruksh property may cause unconsciousness, vertigo, confusion and diseases caused by vata dominance.
Mand (dullness) – It causes dullness in body. It causes dullness in the action of aggravated dosha in the body. It increases kapha and decreases pitta. It increases the mass of the body and helps in gaining weight. It has Prithvi (earth) and Jal (water) mahabhoot dominance. It contains madhur (sweet), tickt(bitter) and kashaya (astringent) rasa.
Tikshan (sharpness) – It is opposite to the mand dullness) and it aggravates the action. It cleanses the body. It lessens the mass of tissues thus helpful in reducing weight. It also increases the urge to answer the natures call. It causes burning sensation in the body and also increases secretions out of the body. Agni mahabhoot is the dominant mahabhoot in it.
Sthir (immobile) – substances rich in these properties causes immobility in the body and its functioning. It causes immobility in the dhatus (tissues). It increases kapha in the body. It provides strength the body tissues. It has Prithvi mahabhoot dominance. Sar (mobility) – it provides mobility to the body. It increases vata in the body. It is Jal (water)mahabhoot dominant. It scarps the dhatus in the body.
Mridu (softness) – It signifies softness. It smoothens the body and withers away hardness. It increases kapha and suppresses vata and pitta. it loosens up the dhatus ands provides softness to them. It is composed of Jal (water) and Aakash (ether) mahabhoot. it suppresses buring sensation and over secretions in the body. Kathin (hardness) – it is related to hardness in the body. It is vata increaser. It strengthens the dhatus (tissues). It is Prithvi (earth) mahabhoot dominant. It hardens the stools in the body.
Vishad (clearness) – it appears very clear and does not possess any of the agents that are obstructive. Itis very useful in healing of the wounds and are scrapes the dhatus (tissues). It comprises of Prithvi (earth), Vayu (air), Agni (fire) and Aakash (ether) mahabhoot. it is vata increaser Picchill (sliminess) – it is the degree of sliminess n the body. It is sticky to touch. It is kapha dominant. It increases the girth of the body and strengthens the dhatus (tissues). It is composed of Jal (water) mahabhoot. it also helps in excretion.
Salakshan (smoothness) – it provides smoothness to the body. It helps in healing of wounds. It promotes kapha dosha in the body. It promotes growth of the body. It promotes easy excretion from the body. It contains Agni mahabhoot dominance according to Rishi Nagaarjun but Maharishi charak confirms it as Aakash mahabhootdominant.
Khar (roughness) – it provides roughness to the body. It scrapes the excessive fat in the body thus reduces bulkiness from the body. It increases vata in the body. It suppresses growth of dhatus (tissues). It takes away the water from the stools thus rendering them hard. In this Vayu mahabhoot is present.
Suksham (fineness) – due to its fine ness and coarseness, spreads in the entire body easily. It easily penetrates in the small channels. It increases vata in the body. It suppresses growth of dhatus (tissues). It contains Agni (fire), Vayu (air) and Aakash (ether) mahabhoot.
Sthool (bulkiness) – it promotes bulkiness in the body. The dravya (substance) that does not mix in the system is supposed to possess sthool properties. It blocks the channels of the body. It provides girth to the body and increases the mass. It helps in excretion. It has Prithvi mahabhoot in dominance.
Sandra (solidity) – it provides solidity to the body. The substance which is bulky and immobile comes under Sandra or solid substance. It promotes kapha dosha. it promotes growth of the tissues. It densifies the stool. It has a dominance of Prithvi (earth) mahabhoot.
Drav (fluidity) – it due to its fineness spreads in all the directions and flows comes under drav. It provides fluids to the body. It also strengthens the body structures. It promotes kapha and pitta dosha. it provides nourishment to the dhatus (tissues). It helps is easy evacuation of the bowel. It contains Jal (water) mahabhoot in dominance.
These are 10 in number Paratva – this means superior. In a category of similar dravya (substance) from which the most superior or the dominant substance is called the paratva.
Aparatva- it is synonymous to paratva. It means most subdued of all the substance present in the same category.
Yukti- it can be considered as planning. It is the whole sequence of procedures and planning according to the health of the patient, surroundings and various. It is basically designing the process in which apatient is to be treated. It varies from patient to patient and from disease to disease.
Sankhaya: it refers to the types of diseases, medicines cause of disease etc like in ayurveda there are about eight types of categories of jwar (fever). Its basically refers to the numeric values according to the ayurvedic texts.
Samyoga: it’s the combination of two dravya(substances) for short period of time which looses its identity after getting separated. It can generally refer to as the physical mixture rather than a chemical mixture.
Vibhag: it’s the disintegration of a mixture or separation of any combination.
Prithktva: also known as separateness. It’s the property of a dravya (substance) by which it is distinguished by others.
Parimaan or the measurement : it is the specification of a dravya (substance) may be its weight, length, breadth or area
Sanskar: it is the method by which a property of a dravya (substance) is being changed by performing certain procedure.
Abhayas: usage of a dravya regularly makes it a practice for the user. Due to regular practice of practicing any substance makes him habitual in performing the act.
These are five in number. These represents the five sensations i.e. Shabda (sound) sparsha (touch), roopa(vision), ras (taste) and gandh (smell). These require our sensory organs which are ears, skin, eyes, tongue and nose respectively.
Following are the physiological reactions of amal rasa. When the amal rasa comes in direct contact with the lining of the oral cavity, it increases the secretion of saliva in the mouth and also causes increased sensitiveness of the teeth (dantharsha). Amal rasa has the properties which produces good digestives environment in the abdomen thus helps in increasing appetite. Amal rasa also promotes digestive power, increases appetite, provides nourishment to the body and stimulates brain for its proper functioning. It stabilizes indriyas (sense organs), makes mind peaceful and satisfied. It helps in correcting vata deviation from the body and do not let it move freely here and there. Due to its light and oily properties it helps in lubricating and digesting complex food material in the body. Amal rasa is very beneficial if it is taken in normal account. If amal rasa is taken in excess; it vitiates pitta and thus causes ulcers etc in and on the body. It spoils the compactness of the body, causes unusual swelling in different body parts and initiates burning sensation especially in the kanth (throat), and hridya (here it refers to thoracic cavity) as mentioned by Maharishi Charak. Examples of amal rasa- imli (tamarind), lakucha (lemon), khatti dahi (sour curd), amalaki (Indian goose berry), daadim (dried grapes)
Kashaya rasa - astringent taste
When kashaya rasa comes in contact with the mouth, it causes drying of mouth. Its effects causes stiffness ofthe tongue and ties up the throat. It also causes uneasiness inherit and chest region. When kashaya rasa is moderately and properly administered, it dries up and ceases secretion, allays vitiated kapha dosha, rakta and pitta dosha. it has ruksh (dry), sheet (cold), and guru (heavy) properties. It absorbs the fluid content of the
body. It also causes peedana i.e. causes constriction of the parts as in certain abscess, growth etc and bursts them by causing constriction and pressure on them. If kashya rasa is administered in excess, then it dries up the mouth, causes pain of the heart and distension ofabdomen. It causes obstruction in strotas and blackens the body. It reduces the virile fluid and causes vata disorders like ardit (facial paralysis) etc. Example of Kshaya rasa - haritki (terminalia chebula), singhara (areca nut) etc.
Katu rasa – Pungent Taste
When a contact is made between katu rasa and oral cavity membrane, it agitates the tip of the tongue, causes pain, constricts the head region and provokes secretions from the nose. If katu rasa is taken in normal amount, it helps in purifying the mouth. It also helps in increasing appetite. It also stimulates the indriyas(sense organs). It helps in counteracting the oiliness caused by kapha. It checks the secretions in the body and removes stickiness. It has certain properties by which it has the efficiency for killing worms that get in to the body. Its properties also help it to act as a lekhan (scraper) that help in scraping away the flesh.
This property is indicated in anti-obesity drugs. It also shrivels ulcers and breaks any obstruction thus widening the strotas (channels). Its dosage should be care fully administered as if it is taken it larger quantities may destroy the virile fluid, causing stupor, vertigo, burning in throat and body, thirst and weakness. It has properties that aggravate vata. Example of katu rasa – sunthi (dried ginger), pipilli (piper longum), marich (black pepper), tulsi (holy basil), Lasuna (garlic) etc.
Lavan rasa – salt taste
Lavan rasa refers to the salty taste. When this rasa comes in contact with the lining of oral cavity then it increases interest in food and increases appetite. It also increases the secretion of saliva in mouth. It also helps in clearing mucous and other obstructive substance in the passage and also helps in managing vata. Due to its properties it is highly penetrative in nature thushelps in relieving spasm in the body. Its heat producing properties and oily nature helps it in involvement and participation in even minute activities in the body thus increases the metabolism. If consumed in normal state, it is very beneficial for our body but if taken excessively, it vitiates pitta thus producing symptoms of pitta aggression. It can cause disorders like burning sensation in the body especially palms and soles. It also aggravates the disease known as kushth (skin disorders), and in ayurvedic system of medicine, if a person suffers from skin disorder, he is advised not to consume salty diet. Lavan rasa also promotes the effect of poison on the body thus it should be carefully administered in a person who has consumed poison. It relieves us from inflammation caused due to injuries in the body but be careful in one thing if the swelling is indigenous and its cause is unknown than lavan should be avoided. Increased diet of lavan causes loosening of teeth and they fall early. It decreases virility. It checks the proper functioning of indriyas (sense organs). When lava is increased in our diet, it may lead to Khalitya (hair fall), dandruff, aloplecia or baldness, skin allergy, hemorrhages, visarpa (erysipelas) and various skin disorders. Examples of lavan rasa - saindhav lavan (rock salt), samundra lavan (common salt) etc.
Madhur Rasa- Sweet Taste
Madhur rasa is identified by the following physiological reactions. When madhur rasa comes into contact with the mouth it is endearing and it causes immediately a feeling of happiness. The mouth is lubricated as it were and there is a feeling as if the mouth is covered over with a sticky substance. When these reactions are noticed, we consider that the substance has madhur or sweet taste. Properties of madhur rasa As by the regular use of madhur rasa from birth i.e. use of milk that contains madhur rasa, substances having madhur rasa are easily assimilated in the body. As it get easily assimilated, madhur rasa promotes the growth of all the dhatus (tissues) i.e. rasa, rakta, maasam, meda, Asthi, majja, and shukra and also of oja. It helps in achieving long life. It helps in achieving goodness and clearness in sense organs. It also gives strength to the complexion to the skin. Madhur rasa also keeps checks on pitta and vata and acts as an antidote to toxins. It relieves thirst and smoothens the skin. It promotes the growth of hairs. It also improves voice quality. It is particularly useful in rejuvenating the injured and debilitated. It is generally lubricating, cooling and heavy. If the same madhur rasa is used in excess, it causes stoutness, too much of softness, laziness, excess of sleep, hard breathing and cough and it also promotes the advent of diseases such as granthi roga (glandular enlargement), shlipada (elephantiasis) and diseases which are kapha predominance. Examples of madhur rasa- milk, ghee, Sali rice, shashtika rice, wheat, black gram, draksha (grapes), khajur (date palms), coconut etc.
Tickt Rasa- Bitter Taste
When tickt rasa comes in contact with the mouth, it produces a pulling kind of sensation in throat. It removes grease of the mouth and causes horripilate. It has pachak (digestive), ruksh (dry) and laghu (light) properties. It dries up the kleda (water oozing out of the body), meda (fatty acids), vasa (oily content of masam), majja (boner marrow), laseka (watery content of the skin), pooya (pus), swed (sweat), mutra (urine) and purish (stools). Tickt rasa has tendency to spoil the taste of the mouth. It has the properties by which it checks the spread of toxins and poison in the body. It checks the fever, worms, and allays kushth (skin ailments), kandu (itching) and moorcha (coma). It purifies the breast milk and stabilizes twak (skin) and masam (flesh). Though it possess such an important properties but when taken in excess causes drying up of dhatus (tissues) like rasa, rakta, masam,, meda, majja, and shukra. It also causes kharatavam (roughness) in the strotas. It reduces strength and dies up the man in general and causes weakness and fatigue. Its properties are such that it promotes vata activities. Examples of tickt rasa- nimb or neem (azadirachta indica), haridra (turmeric), karela (bitter gourd) etc.
In ayurveda rasa is a term which represents 4 types of elements. These are:
• Rasa (dhatu; tissues of the body)
• Rasa (parad: mercury)
• Rasa (juice)
• Rasa (taste)
Here in this part of article we are concerned with the fourth part i.e. rasa that signifies taste. In modern science rasa or taste are considered four in number i.e. sweet, sour, bitter and salty. But in ayurveda there are six types of rasa. These are:
• Madhur (sweet)
• Amal (sour)
• Lavan (salt)
• Tickt (bitter)
• Katu (pungent)
• Kashya (astringent)
As mentioned earlier also every thing in this universe are composed of panch mahabhoot hence rasa are also no exception to it. Rasa also contains mahabhoot which are described in table below. Rasa or the taste Mahabhoot Madhur or sweet rasaJal (water) and Prithvi (earth) Amal or sour rasaTejas (fire) and Prithvi (earth) Lavan or salty tasteJal (water) and tejas (fire) Katu or pungentVayu (air) and tejas (agni) Tickt or bitterVayu (air) and Aakash (ether) Kashya or astringentVayu (air) and Prithvi (earth)
The above table signifies that the herbs or any other substance which is rich in certain mahabhoot will possess a taste of particular category. Rasa plays a very important role in body therapeutically and also in diagnosing a certain disease. It has a great significance in determining the vata, pitta and kapha’s involvement in the actual cause of a disease. As it has been know to you that any kind of vitiation of dosha causes disease in body. Hence excess of in take of certain rasa or deficiency of rasa causes imbalance in are tridosha. Below is a tabular presentation of effectsof rasa on the vata, pitta and kapha Serial number Rasa or the taste Increased dosha (vardhak) Decreased dosha (shaman)
1. Madhur or sweet rasaKaphaVata pitta
2. Amal or sour rasaKapha and pittaVata
3. Lavan or salty tasteKapha and pittavata
4. Katu or pungentVata and pittakapha
5. Tickt or bittervataPitta and kapha
6. Kashya or astringentVataPitta and kapha
Influence of rasa on dosha. Following table depicts the action or rasa in unbalancing dosha.
Serial number Dosha Rasa involved
1. VataMadhur, amal and lavan
2. PittaTickt, madhur and kashaya
3. KaphaKatu, tickt and kashaya
Influence of ritus (seasons) on rasa. Following table depicts the influence of season on the rasa production. Every season has a particular affinity of a rasa. Serial number Ritu or the season Rasa or the taste
1. Shishir ritu (winter season)Tickt (bitter)
2. Basant ritu (spring)Kashaya (astringent)
3. Grisham ritu (summers)Katu (pungent)
4. Varsha ritu (rainy season)Amal (sour)
5. Sharad ritu (autumn season)Lavan (salt)
6. Hemant ritu (early winters)Madhur (sweet)