Ayurveda considers taste as a way not only to stimulate tastebuds, but a higher consciousness as well. The 6 tastes are a major way for the Ayurvedic cook to alter biochemistry on the level of the effect that the food has on the system before digestion. Other classifications of foods, dishes and tastes refer to the effects during and after digestion. That is represented through effects on the doshas and the gunas.
|Sweet||Earth & Water||Subdued||Subdued||Increased||Sattvic|
|Sour||Earth & Fire||Subdued||Increased||Increased||Rajasic|
|Salty||Water and Fire||Subdued||Increased||Increased||Rajasic|
|Pungent||Air and Fire||Increased||Increased||Subdued||Rajasic Tamasic|
|Bitter||Air and Akash||Increased||Subdued||Subdued||Rajasic|
|Astringent||Air and Earth||Increased||Subdued||Subdued||Rajasic|
Other important factors related to the 6 tastes tastes are the attributes (Gunas), Essence (Virya) and Effect (Vipak).