Sweet Taste in Ayurveda (Taste Series)
Updated: Jul 15, 2021
The Sweet taste is called Madhura in Sanskrit. The dominant elements are Earth and Water providing the qualities heavy, cooling, and oily. The combination of these elements moves the doshic energies downward which produces a sense of calm and groundedness in the body and mind.
Madhura also means 'love' in Sanskrit. You can feel the endearing qualities the sweet taste embodies when we call someone we love 'honey' or 'sweetie'.
In moderation Sweet:
Is an expectorant, demulcent & moistening
Is a tonic ~ gives strength & longevity
Slows down digestion
Is anabolic (energy-storing, building)
Promotes the growth of all 7 dhatus (tissues)
Facilitates the elimination of bowels
Is grounding, nourishing & calming to the nerves
Enhances Ojas ~ our vital essence & ultimate energy reserve
Cultivates peace, love & satisfaction
In excess Sweet:
Causes congestion, heaviness, laziness & obesity
Can lead to tumors, diabetes & edema
Increases the need for sleep, sluggishness
Diminishes healing capacity ~ sweet is the best media for bacteria, parasites & fungi to grow
Makes blood viscous leading to high cholesterol, stroke, arteriosclerotic changes
The Sweet taste is easily addictive as it truly is infinitely pleasing. Unfortunately, it dominates our grocery stores which has led to overindulgence in this divine taste. Use sweet in moderation and appropriately balanced for your unique dosha and it can provide you with plenty of life-enhancing benefits.
The Sweet Stage of Digestion ~
Each taste relates to about a one-hour stage of the digestive process. Everyone is unique, so the timing varies from person to person. Vata and Pitta types likely move through this quicker, Kapha types will be much slower.
Within the 1st hour of digesting a meal, the Earth and Water elements are most prominent. This is the Sweet Stage of digestion. You might feel heavy and dull after eating, or comfortably content.
Simple sugars are digested and absorbed in the small intestine at this stage and released by the stomach for general circulation, so blood sugar rises here. As sugar enters your blood, it provides nourishment and contentment. The Water and Earth elements provide a sense of fullness by stretching the stomach wall. If we consistently eat too much our stomach will stretch and we will require more food to feel full and content.
I love the calm feeling I have right after I eat. As a predominant Vata, this stage is very soothing to my heightened nervous system.
It is best to take it easy for a bit after you eat to allow your energy to focus solely on digestion. This is the stage with the most Kapha energy, which is heavy and slow, so reserving the bulk of your energy to be utilized on digesting your meal facilitates a more efficient process.
See my next post on the Sour taste.