Amla rasa in Ayurveda means sour taste. Sour Taste or tangy taste is also known as khatta swaad खट्टा स्वाद, in hindi, Maṅkalāṉa cuvai (மங்கலான சுவை ) in tamil, ugra vibhavaṁ ( ഉഗ്ര വിഭവം) in malayalam, Āmbaṭ chav (आंबट चव) in marathi, Huḷi ruci ( ಹುಳಿ ರುಚಿ) in kannada
According to Ayurveda the main panchamahabhuta elements in this taste or panchabhoutikatwa of sour taste are element agni (fire) and element ap or jala (Water). As a result when foods with tangy taste are consumed we experience increased salivation. Excess consumption of sour foods cause tingling of teeth. Our expressions look funny when we eat tangy tasting food like we squeeze our eyes and eye brows involuntarily till that taste passes off our tongue.
Examples of naturally sour tasting foods: Unripe mango, lemon, tamarind, gooseberry or amla (Read Ayurveda Health benefits of Amla or Indian gooseberry) , unripe grapes, some varieties of tomatoes, fermented yogurt or curd, fermented batters etc
Benefits of Sour tasting foods: Amla rasa or tangy tasting foods are good appetisers. They stimulate agni or body fire and is good for heart. They increases secretion of digestive juices and improve quality of digestion by relieving flatulence, bloating and discomfort. Hence we always advise to consume warm water, lemon and honey as first drink in morning to balance Tridoshas. (Read Lemon and Honey for Weight Loss )
This drink initiates peristaltic movement of digestive system, eases bowel movement and is a good remedy for constipation . These foods stimulate liver, help to reduce viscosity of bile juice and increase the flow of bile. (Read Ayurvedic Liver Detox at Home). Tangy tasting foods improve concentration and awaken mind’s energy. Sour fruits are store houses of Vitamin ‘C’. Vitamin C is considered as best antiaging, antioxidant and rejuvenating nutrient.
Ayurvedic Properties of Amla Rasa: Usually foods with tangy taste are hot in potency. (There may be few exceptions). Hence these foods increase fire element in body. When consumed in proper quantity, they balance vata dosha and make it to move in its proper channels. Sour foods increase pitta and kapha dosha. These foods vitiate Rakta Dhatu or blood.
What happens when sour tasting foods are consumed in excess?
- When Tangy tasting foods or foods with amla rasa are consumed in excess, pitta , kapha and rakta dhatu (blood) get vitiated. This leads to heart burn, acidity and discomfort in chest. Persons with stomach and duodenal ulcers should never eat sour foods.
- Sour foods when consumed in excess drain the strength of tissues, cause giddiness and temporary loss of vision. They reduce moistness of tissues and make them dry.
- Increased consumption of amla rasa can cause itching on skin and scalp (Read ayurveda remedies for itchy scalp and dandruff). They trigger flaring up of psoriasis, acne and pimple. They also increase wrinkles on skin.
- Sour foods are a strict no to persons who suffer from genital herpes, oral herpes or herpes zoster as they increase the frequency of outbreaks.
- Swelling, small boils may appear on skin surfaces when these foods are consumed in large quantities.
- Increased thirst and body temperature are other symptoms which appear when sour foods are consumed in excess.
- Anemia, eczema, diarrhoea and increases mucus secretion in lungs are other untoward effects of sour tasting foods when consumed in excess.
Lemon, pomegranate (Read ayurveda Health benefits of pomegranate) and Amla or Indian gooseberry are exceptional fruits which are not harmful. But lemon should be used with caution.