Tastes in Ayurveda – 3 Vipaka

Vipaka means ripe or mature. In Buddhism it is the result i.e. maturation or ripening. A key moral law in Buddhism is Kamma-vipaka which is also spelled as karma-vipaka. In the traditional Indian medical system of Ayurveda, vipaka is the result. In fact, kamma-vipaka is any action that has a moral context.

During the time of stress and strain the doshas get imbalanced. Vipaka determines how the Dravya affects the doshas.  In each person’s body generally two doshas dominate. Healing can be achieved only by balancing the three doshas. Vipaka promotes one of the doshas ---
Vata, Pitta or Kapha --- depending on the results of metabolism. The Ayurveda practitioner chooses a herb depending on the imbalance of any of the three doshas.

All the Ayurvedic concepts seem very easy as described in the Samhitas, however, they are in fact very tough. The reason is that these concepts are mentioned in a very concise form. Many of the concepts need to be explored and evaluated through their practical applicability. Vipaka is also one such concept. All substances basically show three types of Vipaka after digestion, which depends on the taste or Rasa. Everyone knows what taste is, however, the concept of Vipaka is somehow unique to Ayurveda. There are various views regarding the concept of Vipaka. Some people are of the view that there are only two types of Vipakas. While some people are of the view that there are as many vipakas as there are a number of Rasas. We know that there are six types of Rasas or tastes. There are six types of tastes --- sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent.

The post digestive taste has a profound effect on doshas. The Vipaka of herbs or medicines have little or no impression on the tongue. The sweet and salty flavours digest into sweet – and sweet is nourishing and moistening to the tongue. It is both beneficial to pitta and it increases kapha. In fact, each of the vipakas is needed to balance the doshas.

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