Most of us have averseness towards bitter tasting foods. According to texts of ayurveda the bitter taste is made up of Akasha (space element) and Vayu (air element). This taste cleanses the mouth. Once we taste the bitter foods or herbs, it becomes difficult to identify other tastes immediately. It temporarily numbs the taste buds and makes them insensitive to other tastes.
Functions of bitter tasting foods-
Bitter tasting foods help to increase appetite. They prevent growth and development of intestinal parasites. Herbs with this taste are used in health conditions like Leprosy, skin diseases, fever and nausea.
Herbs and foods which taste bitter reduce pitta and kapha. They tend to dry moistness and fat contents of tissues. Hence increased consumption of bitter foods and herbs reduce body fat, can cause constipation and dryness of skin. Bitter foods help in weight loss.
When bitter tasting herbs are used they cleanse the breast milk, increase intelligence, clear throat and help in weight loss. When used in excess they may cause depletion of dhatus (body tissues) and give rise to diseases of vata origin. Increased consumption of bitter foods can cause dry skin, migraine, reduced quality and quantity of semen.