The six tastes: bitter
Located slap bang on the middle of the tongue, this is a taste we often avoid.
Light, it is made up of ether and air, therefore balancing pitta and kapha, but throwing vata out of balance.
So if you're feeling heavy and sluggish, have lots of mucous, are over-heated, have a rash or are carrying too much weight, increase the bitter taste.
Found in bitter melon, burdock root, leafy greens (like kale, collards, dandelion greens or yellow dock), eggplant, Jerusalem artichokes. As well as in sesame seeds, sesame oil, coffee, dark chocolate.
And in cumin, dill, fenegriek, saffron, turmeric.
Consuming this taste should result in clarity, introspection, self-awareness and detachment from the material.
However, when over-indulged in you might experience cynicism, rejection, boredom, isolation, separation and loneliness.
The bitter taste is deeply cleansing to the body because it scrapes fat and toxins from it. It improves the sense of taste, reduces thirst, stimulates the appetite, kills germs and clears parasites from the GI tract.
It's good for the blood and can reduce itching.
What's its relationship to the pool?
During Pancha Karma swimming should be avoided, hope this doesn't leave you with a bitter taste!
Photo, with thanks: @michaelsimpson8811