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Aromatic Subtaste - Foods & Herbs ListCLASSIFICATION OF FOOD, HERBS, & LIFESTYLE

Subtastes: Aromatic
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Reported by John Immel, Asheville, NC
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Herbs or spices with volatile essential oils that present strong aromas. Aromatic oils shock, refresh and numb tissue, with the end result of relaxing, opening and clearing stagnant fluids in tissues.

Aromatic herbs and spices include herbs with strong aromas. Peppermint, thyme, and cinnamon are among the best known aromatic spices.

The aroma indicates a high concentration of volatile oils. The strong smell comes from evaporation of these oils. Volatile oils give aromatic spices some surprising health benefits. They are often used to stimulate the digestive system, reproductive system, and disinfect the respiratory tract, or help expectorate the lungs.

Aromatic oils may be consumed internally (mint tea) or applied externally (as in tiger balm). Since volatile oils evaporate quickly they should be stored in a sealed container.

The aromatic oils are also the essential oils of an herb. The essential oil of a plant carries its "essence", i.e. its unique identity and pharmacology. In Ayurvedic terms, the essential oil is the prakruti or constitution of the plant.

Relaxes Muscles & Nerves

Aromatic oils shock, refresh and numb tissue, with the end result of relaxing muscles and nerves and opening and clearing stagnant fluids in tissues.

Aromatic oils relax muscle tissue, especially smooth muscle tissue. They are used to calm all cases of colic, including colicky peristalsis of the intestines, vasospasm type headaches, bronchospasms, and uterine spasms.

Aromatic Nerve Relaxants

Their aroma when inhaled easily reaches the brain. Psychologically, aromatic oils inspire, refresh and arouse with a sense of awe and letting go. Many aromatic oils are used as tension and depression relieving nervines (valerian, chamomile). Here, they are subtle, clear, and etheric.

Aromatic Antidepressants

Aromatic oils are penetrating. Many pungent spices like cinnamon and cayenne can increase swelling, heat, and inflammation. Aromatic spices like mint generally disperse fluids and heat. Many are slightly cool.

Lightens Digestion, Moves Food Stagnation

Aromatic spices clear the stomach and aid in protein digestion, making them light. Note how often aromatic spices are added to meat dishes for digestibility - such as mint with lamb, or rosemary with beef. Aromatic spices improve appetite and hunger (bitter orange peel). They increase gastric juices and clear heavy, sluggish digestion after a large meal.

Caution, however, as aromatic spices could aggravate acid reflux by relaxing the the cardiac valve at the top of the stomach, or by increasing acidity. When acid reflux is due to hypoacidity, however, aromatic oils may help reduce acid reflux.

Clears Stagnant Fluids

As diaphoretics, aromatic spices flush fluids from sweat and salivary glands, tear ducts, urinary tract, breasts and vaginal fluids.

They are useful to break up fluid stagnation when spring fever in early April leaves the face, hands, and feet feeling swollen. They break up mucus in the respiratory and digestive tract (cardamom). They are used for sore throats (as in halls cough drops).

As they are naturally diuretics, they are ultimately drying and may contribute to drying up breast milk. Their penetrating quality can cross the placenta into the fetus.


Aromatic oils are often antimicrobial. Examples include eucalyptus oil, garlic oil and thyme oil. They encourage the creation of white blood cells and increase immunity.

Their antimicrobial and circulation improving nature makes them ideal for fevers. Use hot aromatics for low fevers, and cool aromatics for high fevers.


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About John Joseph Immel

About the Author

John Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda biocharacteristics. His approach to Ayurveda is clinical, yet exudes an ease which many find enjoyable and insightful. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda, offering professional clinical training in Ayurveda for over 15 years.

John's interest in Ayurveda and specialization in digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, as well as public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.

John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well. Outside of work, John enjoys spending time with his wife and 7 kids, and pursuing his love of theology, philosophy, and language.

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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information and products on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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