Now we shall describe the characteristics of tastes. A taste, which is pleasant, proves comfortable to, and contributes to the life-preservation of a man, keeps his mouth moist, and increases the quantity of bodily Kapham, is called Sweet (Madhura). A taste, which produces tooth-edge and increased salivation, and increases the relish for food, is called acid (Amla). A taste, which imparts a greater relish to food, produces salivation and softness of a part, is called saline (Lavana). A taste, which produces a burning sensation at the tip of the tongue attended with a tingling of the part and headache, and is instantaneously followed by a running at the nose (fluent coryza) is called pungent (Katuka). A taste, which gives rise to a sort of sucking sensation at the throat, removes the slimy character of the cavity of the mouth, gives rise to the appearance of goose-flesh on the skin, and increases the relish for food, is called bitter (Tikta). A taste, which brings about the dryness of the mouth, numbs the palate, obstructs the throat, and gives rise to a drawing, pressing sensation in the region of the heart, is called astringent (Kashaya).
Now we shall describe the specific virtues of tastes. Of these, the sweet taste is possessed of the virtue of increasing the quantity of lymph-chyle, blood, flesh, fat, bone marrow, albumen (ojas), semen, and milk in a parturient woman. It materially contributes to the growth of bones, strengthens the eyesight, favours the growth of hair, improves the complexion of the body, brings about the adhesion of fractured bones (Sandhanam), and purifies the blood and the lymph-chyle. Likewise, it proves wholesome to infants, old and weak men and ulcer-patients (suffering from Endocarditis - Urah-Kshata) and is most coveted by bees and ants. It exhilarates the mind as well as the five sense-organs, relieves thirst, swooning and a burning sensation of the body, and originates Kapham. Similarly, it favours the germination of intestinal parasites. Largely and exclusively partaken of, it brings on cough, dyspnoea, flatulence (Alasaka), vomiting, sweet taste in the mouth, hoarseness of the voice (aphonia), worms in the intestines, tumours, elephantisis, Vasti-lepa mucous deposit in the bladder), Gudopolepa mucous or slimy deposit in the anus), and Abhisandya (ophthalmia), etc.
An acid taste should be regarded as a digestant of assimilated food, and is endued with resolving, appetising and carminative properties. It sets in the natural emission of flatus and urine, restores the natural movements of the bowels, lessens the tendency to spasms, and gives rise to an acid (digestive reaction in the stomach, and to a sensation of external shivering. It originates a slimy or mucous secretion and is extremely pleasant or relishing. An acid taste, though possessed of the aforesaid virtues, brings on tooth-edge, with sudden closing of the eyes, appearance of goose flesh on the skin, absorption of Kapham and looseness of the body in the event of its being largely partaken of to the exclusion of all other tastes. Owing to its fiery character, the taste under discussion sets in a process of suppuration in cuts or burns, or in incised, lacerated or punctured wounds, as well as in those, which result from external blows, or are due to fractures, swellings, or falls, or are brought about as the after effects of any idiopathic distemper, or which are tainted with the urine of any venomous animals or through contact with any poisonous animal or vermin. It gives rise to a burning sensation in the throat, chest and the region of the heart.