A saline taste is possessed of corrective (purgative and emetic) virtues, favours the processes of suppuration and spontaneous bursting of swellings, brings about the looseness or resolution of any affected part (ulcer), is heat-engendering in its property and proves incompatible with all other tastes. It cleanses the internal passages or channels of the organism and produces softness of the limbs and members of the body. A saline taste, though possessed of the aforesaid properties, may bring on scabies urticaria, oedematous swellings, loss or discoloration of the natural complexion of the body, loss of virile potency, distressing symptoms affecting the sense-organs, inflammation of the mouth and the eyes, haemoptysis, Vata-rakta (a kind of leprosy) and acid eructations etc., in the event of its being largely partaken of to the exclusion of all other tastes.
A pungent taste is endued with appetising, resolving (Pachana) and purifying properties in respect of ulcers etc.), and destroys obesity, languor, deranged Kapham and intestinal parasites. It is antitoxic in its character, proves curative in cases of Kushta (skin diseases) and itches, and removes the stiffness of the ligaments. It acts as a sedative and reduces the quantity of semen, milk and fat. A pungent taste, though possessed of the aforesaid virtues, may bring on vertigo, loss of consciousness, dryness of the throat, palate and lips, burning sensation and a high temperature of the body, loss of strength, tremor, a sort of aching or breaking pain, and a neuralgic pain (Vata Shula) in the back, sides and the extremities, etc. in the event of its being largely partaken of in exclusion of all other tastes.
A bitter taste serves to restore the natural relish of a person for food and brings on a sense of general languor. It is a good appetiser, and acts as a good purifying agent (in respect of ulcers, etc.), and proves curative in itches and urticaria. It removes thirst, swoon and fever, purifies mother's milk, and is possessed of the virtue of drying up urine, ordure, mucous, fat and pus, etc. A bitter taste, though possessed of the aforesaid properties, may bring on numbness of the limbs, wry-neck, convulsions, facial paralysis, violent headache, giddiness, and an aching, cutting and breaking pain, as well as a bad taste in the mouth in the event of its being largely partaken of in exclusion of all other tastes.
An astringent taste is possessed of astringent, healing, styptic (Stambhana), purifying, liquefacient, drying and contracting virtues. It lessens secretions from mucous membranes. An astringent taste, though possessed of the above-said properties, may bring on the peculiar type of heart disease known as (Hridroga) parchedness of the mouth, distention of the abdomen, loss of speech, wry-neck (Manya Stambha), throbbing or quivering and tingling sensations in the body with contraction of the limbs and convulsions, etc.
Now we shall make a general classification of the drugs according to their taste.