The Five Tastes

The Five Tastes

The physical component of taste is a noteworthy way for treating imbalance in Chinese medicine. There are five classifications of taste, with two others being subcategories. Each sensation is absorbed by a different set of organs after passing through the initial gastrointestinal tract. Thus, the tastes are inherently purposed to nourish these regions of the body, and disturbances can be backtracked one way or the other. By reinstating homeostasis, true balance and health are achieved.



The major tastes as identified in Chinese medicine:

  1. Sour (Astringent) fall time is best time to eat
    1. Absorbed by: Liver and Gall Bladder
    2. Function: Stopping abnormal discharge of body fluids and substances as in condition of excess perspiration, diarrhea, seminal emission, spermatorrhea, and enuresis.
    3. Example Foods: Chinese sour plum, lemon, vinegar
  2. Sweet (Bland)
    1. Spleen and Stomach
    2. Reinforcing and strengthening properties in times of fatigue and deficiency, thus drawn to sweets in times of low energy. Also sweets can be used to decelerate the body in order to address acute pain. Bland foods tend to be diuretics and can be used to induce urination and prevent edema.
    3. Yams, corn, rice (Bland example: pearl barley)
  3. Bitter (summer time is best time to eat)
    1. Heart and Small Intestines
    2. Clears heat, bitter tastes aid in conditions such as dampness and edema. Additionally, disperses obstruction and can be utilized for a cough due to Chi stagnation, etc.
    3. Rhubarb, apricot kernels, kale
  4. Pungent
  5. Lungs and Large Intestines
  6. Dispersing pathogens from the exterior of the body, often used for common colds and flu. Invigorating properties as well, which promote the circulation of Chi, blood, and body fluids. Also pungent tastes act to open pores and promote sweating, a function of is natural dispersing quality. 
  7. Ginger, garlic, mint
  8. Salty
  9. Kidneys and Urinary Bladder
  10. Softening and dissolving hardenings such as lumps, nodes, masses, and cysts. Salty     substances also moisten and lubricate the intestines.
  11. Seaweed, can be used to treat goiter, and salt water, used in cases of constipation

Cite Tao of Nutrition book and post

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