Rasa, Vīrya, and Vipāka

In addition to the six tastes, foods also provide the following subtle qualities:

Heavy: Increases kapha, decreases vāta and pitta. Some sources are cheese, yogurt, and wheat products.
Light: Increases vāta and pitta, decreases kapha. Some sources are barley, apples, spinach, and corn.
Oily: Increases kapha, decreases vāta and pitta. Some sources are fatty foods, oils, and most dairy products.
Dry: Increases vāta, decreases pitta and kapha. Some sources are barley, corn, beans, and potatoes.
Hot: Increases pitta, decreases vāta and kapha. Obtained from hot foods and drinks.
Cold: Increases vāta and kapha, decreases pitta. Obtained from cold food and drinks.

Rasa: The taste associated with secretions in the mouth.
Vīrya (potent energy): The effect on agni (digestive fire). This is either heating or cooling.
Vipāka (PDE or post digestive effect): The end result of digestion. It affects excreta and the dhātus.
Prabhāva: A dynamic action which cannot be explained by the logic of Rasa, Vīrya, and Vipāka. Because it is so.

 
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How different foods affect us depends upon their varied characteristics. When we are in good health, our knowledge of how foods may influence us and our instinctual inclinations can enable us to choose the best food plan. It can be helpful to be familiar with the following information.

Fruits and Vegetables

Apple: Sweet, astringent rasa. Cooling vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Light, rough. Increases vata, decreases pitta. All right for Kapha constitution in moderate quantities.

Banana: Sweet, astringent rasa. Cooling vīrya. Sour vipāka. Smooth, heavy, laxative when taken in quantity. Increases pitta and kapha, decreases vata.

Coconut: Sweet rasa. Cooling vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Oily,smooth. Increases kapha, decreases vata and pitta.

Date (ripe): Sweet rasa. Cooling vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Oily. Decreases pitta. Date, almonds, and honey with milk that has been boiled and cooled to a warm temperature is strengthening and rejuvenating. To one cup of milk, add two ripe, pitted dates, a dozen almonds that have been soaked in water overnight to soften (or one tablespoon of fresh almond butter) and a teaspoon of honey. Blend and drink slowly.

Fig: Sweet rasa. Cooling vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Heavy, nourishing. Increases kapha, decreases vata and pitta.

Grapes, purple: Sweet, sour, astringent rasa. Cooling vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Smooth, watery. Increases kapha, decreases vata and pitta.

Melon: Sweet rasa. Cooling vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Heavy, watery. Decreases vāta and pitta.

Orange: Sweet, astringent rasa. Heating vīrya. Heavy, promotes appetite. Increases pitta and kapha, decreases vāta.

Peach: Sweet, astringent rasa. Heating vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Heavy, watery. Increases pitta and kapha, decreases vāta.

Pear: Sweet, astringent rasa. Cooling vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Heavy, dry, rough. Increases vāta, decreases pitta and kapha.

Plum: Sweet, astringent rasa. Heating vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Heavy, watery. Increases pitta and kapha, decreases vāta.

Beet: Sweet rasa. Heating vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Heavy, smooth. In excess, can increase pitta and kapha. Decreases vāta.

Broccoli: Sweet, astringent rasa. Cooling vīrya. Pungent vipāka. Rough, dry. Increases vāta, decreases pitta and kapha.

Cabbage: Sweet, astringent rasa. Cooling vīrya. Pungent vipāka. Rough, dry. Increases vāta, decreases pitta and kapha.

Carrot: Sweet, bitter, astringent rasa. Cooling vīrya. Pungent vipāka. Heavy. In excess, increases pitta. Decreases vāta and kapha.

Cauliflower: Astringent rasa. Cooling vīrya. Pungent vipāka. Rough, dry. Increases vāta, decreases pitta and kapha.

Celery: Astringent rasa. Cooling vīrya. Pungent vipāka. Rough, dry, light. Increases vāta, decreases pitta and kapha.

Garlic: Pungent rasa. Heating vīrya. Pungent vipāka. Oily, smooth, heavy. Increases pitta, decreases vāta and kapha.

Ginger: Pungent rasa. Heating vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Light, dry, rough. In excess, increases pitta. Decreases vāta and kapha.

Lettuce: Astringent rasa. Cooling vīrya. Pungent vipāka. Cooling, light. Increases vāta, decreases pitta and kapha.

Raw onion: Pungent rasa. Heating vīrya. Pungent vipāka. Heavy, stimulating, strengthening. Increases vāta and pitta, decreases kapha.

Potato: Sweet, salty, astringent rasa. Cooling vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Rough, dry, light. Increases vāta, decreases pitta and kapha.

Spinach: Astringent rasa. Cooling vīrya. Pungent vipāka. Rough, dry. Increases vāta and pitta, decreases kapha.

Sprouts: Mildly astringent rasa. Cooling vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Light. Suitable for all constitutions. In excess, may aggravate vāta.

Tomato: Sweet, sour rasa. Heating vīrya. Sour vipāka. Light, moist. Increases all three doshas.

Zucchini: Sweet, astringent rasa. Cooling vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Wet, light. May increase kapha, decreases pitta, all right for vāta.

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Grains and Nuts

Barley: Sweet, astringent rasa. Cooling vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Light. Increases vāta, decreases pitta and kapha.

Basmati rice: Sweet rasa. Cooling vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Light, soft, smooth, nourishing. Decreases vāta and pitta. All right for vāta in moderation.

Brown rice: Sweet rasa. Heating vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Heavy. Increases pitta and kapha, decreases vāta.

Buckwheat: Sweet, astringent rasa. Heating vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Light, dry. Increases pitta and vāta, decreases kapha.

Corn: Sweet rasa. Heating vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Light, dry. Increases pitta and vāta, decreases kapha.

Oats: Sweet rasa. Heating vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Heavy. Dry oats increases vāta and pitta, decreases kapha. Cooked oats increases kapha, decreases vāta and pitta.

Millet: Sweet rasa. Heating vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Light, dry. Increases vāta and pitta, decreases kapha.

Rye: Sweet, astringent rasa. Heating vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Light, dry. Increases vāta and pitta, decreases kapha.

Wheat: Sweet rasa. Cooling vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Heavy. Increases kapha, decreases vāta and pitta.

Almonds: Sweet rasa. Heating vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Heavy, oily. Increases kapha and pitta, decreases vāta.

Cashews: Sweet rasa. Heating vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Heavy, oily. Increases kapha and pitta, decreases vāta.

Peanuts: Sweet, astringent rasa. Heating vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Heavy oily. Increases pitta and kapha. All right for vāta in moderation. Difficult to digest. Should not be given to children before age six and only in moderation after that.

Pumpkin seeds: Sweet, bitter, astringent rasa. Heating vīrya. Pungent vipāk. Heavy, dry. Increases vāta and pitta, decreases kapha.a

Sunflower seeds: Sweet, astringent rasa. Heating vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Heavy, oily. Mildly increases pitta and kapha, decreases vāta.

Legumes

Lentils: Sweet, astringent rasa. Cooling vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Dry, rough, heavy. Increases vāta and kapha, decreases pitta.

Mung beans: Sweet, astringent rasa. Cooling vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Light, soft. Increases kapha, decreases vāta and pitta.

Soy beans: Sweet, astringent rasa. Cooling vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Heavy, oily, smooth. Increases kapha and vāta, decreases pitta.


Honey: Sweet, astringent rasa. Heating vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Dry, rough, heavy. Mildly increases pitta, decreases kapha and vāta.

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Oils and Dairy

Sesame oil: Sweet, bitter, astringent rasa. Heating vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Heavy, oily, smooth. Increases pitta, decreases vāta. All right for kapha in moderation.

Sunflower oil: Sweet rasa. Cooling vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Light, oily, strengthening. All right for all three doshas.

Safflower oil: Sweet, pungent rasa. Heating vīrya. Pungent vipāka. Light, sharp, oily, irritating if used excessively. Increases pitta, decreases vāta and kapha.

Corn oil: Sweet rasa. Heating vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Light, oily, smooth. All right in moderation for vāta and kapha. (What about pitta?)

Ghee (clarified butter): Sweet rasa. Cooling vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Light, oily, smooth, In moderation, useful for all doshas. Excessive use increases kapha. It promotes digestion, is strengthening, and is useful in transporting herbal influences to tissues.

Goat's milk: Sweet, astringent rasa. Cooling vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Light. Increases vāta, decreases pitta and kapha. Usually more easily digested than cow's milk for people who have difficulty with cow's milk.

Cow's milk: Sweet rasa. Cooling vīrya. Sweet vipāka. Light, oily, smooth. Increases kapha, decreases vāta and pitta. Milk is more easily digested if boiled and allowed to cool to a warm temperature before drinking.

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Common Āyurvedic Herbs

Herbs are a vital component in the treatment and healing process of Āyurveda. The ancient texts have detailed information on their use and administration. The information below is supplied for general knowledge; please consult a trained and certified Ayurvedic practitioner before any personal use or administration.

V=Vāta     P=Pitta     K=Kapha

 
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