Sour (light, oily, hot)

The sour taste is digestive, so it fuels the appetite, increases salivary secretions, enhances the secretion of digestive enzymes, and stimulates metabolism overall. It is very balancing for Vata and aggravates Pitta and Kapha. Coming from Earth and Fire, it is heating, light, oily and hot. It also expels excess vata, moves stagnation in the liver, encourages the flow of bile, and promotes proper liver function. The sour taste awakens the mind and helps to coalesce scattered energy. It is anti-flatulent, antispasmodic, energizing, refreshing, satisfying, nourishing to the heart, and can clear dryness. Sour fruits are usually high in vitamin C and are considered to be antioxidant, rejuvenating, and tonic herbs.

Sour is very similar to astringent in its function and many herbs which are astringent are sour, and all herbs which are sour have some sort of astringent function. Let us clarify this issue. There is an entire category of astringent herbs some of which are sour and there are many sour herbs which astringe slightly, but not strongly enough to be primarily categorized as an astringent. Sour herbs “gently preserve”.

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