About Aromatic Subtaste in Ayurveda
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 Recipes Aromatic Ingredients Aromatic Herbs & Supplements
AYURVEDIC PERSPECTIVE ON AROMATICAromatic spices are the great missing 7th taste in Ayurveda. 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. These 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 shock, refresh and numb tissue, with the end result of relaxing, opening and clearing stagnant fluids in tissues. They are penetrating, subtle, clear, etheric, light, and dry. Many are slightly cool. Whereas pungent spices like cinnamon and cayenne can increase swelling, heat, and inflammation, aromatic spices like mint generally disperse fluids and heat. 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).
Aromatic spices clear the stomach and aid in protein digestion. They are often cooked with meats. They improve appetite and hunger (bitter orange peel). They increase gastric juices and clearing heavy, sluggish digestion after a large meal. Aromatic spices could aggravate acid reflux when due to hyperacidity. When acid reflux is due to hypoacidity, aromatic oils may help reduce acid reflux.
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 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). 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 anti-septic. Examples include eucalyptus oil, garlic oil and thyme oil. They encourage the creation of white blood cells and increase immunity.
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 medicinal value. In Ayurvedic terms, the essential oil is the prakruti or constitution of the plant.
Herbal actions common to many herbs listed in Aromatic:
PUNGENTPungency is characterized by irritation, or sharp, spicy foods that irritate the mouth such as black pepper.
BITTERBitter is disagreeable and stimulating rejection, and a strong taste often associated with black coffee, dark chocolate, and most salad greens.
CLEARClear refers to anything that cleanses or flushes out wastes, or that digests ama.
HOTHot is identified by increased body temperature, metabolism, or inflammation.
DIAPHORETICAn herb that induces sweating, often by dilating blood vessels close to the skin.
DIGESTIVEHerbs that encourage healthy digestion.
ANALGESICRelieves or reduces feelings of pain without eliminating sensation.
ASTRINGENTAstringency is characterized by constriction, drawing together, or drying.
MOBILEMobile refers to anything that stimulates the nervous system, muscles, or activity.
STIMULATES-ENERGYThis category groups thyroid and adrenal stimulating herbs.
NERVINEHerbs that specifically go to the nervous system and brain. They can help with stress, memory, early alzheimer's, even chronic pain.
ANTISPASMODICHerbs that reduce or inhibit muscle spasms or cramping, such as in asthma, menstruation, hear palpitations, migraine, or IBS.
Kapha Reducing (12)
ANTI-INFLAMMATORYReduces inflammation in the body. Different herbs and carriers target different body systems.
EXPECTORANTHerbs that help you cough up and eliminate mucus. These herbs often work by increasing the quantity of mucus, or thinning the mucus.
DRYDry is identified by lack of moisture, lack of fat, or anything that causes diuresis.
CARMINATIVEStimulates the release of gas. Helpful for bloating or cramping abdominal pain. Propels food downward.
VASODILATORA vasodilator is an herb that widens the blood vessels by the relaxation of smooth muscle cells within the vessel walls, thereby increasing circulation systemically or to a local area.
MUSCLE-RELAXANTHerbs that relax muscles. Helpful for chronic pain or tension as well as healing from physical trauma.
BLOOD-MOVERBlood movers improve circulation through these mechanisms: Cardiac stimulation (usually pungents), vasodilation (usually aromatics), or blood thinning (usually bitters).
HELPFUL FOR*'Aromatic' may be helpful for these symptoms and causes below.
CONTRAINDICATIONS / AGGRAVATES / IS AGGRAVATED BY*'Aromatic' may aggravate, or be aggravated by, these symptoms and causes below.
About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his 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.