Sour Taste – Qualities, Health Benefits, Side Effects

Let us learn in detail about sour taste, what are the general qualities of substances having sour taste, how it affects health, mind, Tridosha and diseases, adverse effects on excessive intake etc.

sour taste

Effect of sour taste on Tridosha

Sour taste decreases Vata. It increases Pitta and Kapha Dosha.


Sour taste is composed of Pruthvi (solid) and Teja (fire) elements.
Hence it has heavy, unctuous and hot qualities.
Because of its earth element, it has qualities like heaviness, which increases Kapha Dosha.
Because of its fire element, it increases Pitta Dosha.
Because it does not contain any air element, and because of hotness of fire and heaviness of solid (both are against Vata qualities), sour taste pacifies Vata Dosha.

Effect of Sour taste on body and mind

Dantaharshakara – causes tingling sensation in teeth
Prasravana – causes salivation, secretion from internal organs
Svedana – induces sweating
Mukhabodhana – cleanses oral cavity
Kanta Vidahakara – causes burning sensation in mouth and throat
Jihva uttejaka – excites tongue
Rochana – improves taste
Romanchana – causes horripilation
Mana Prasadana – satiates mind
Indriya Sthairyakara – stabilizes sense organs
Deepana – increases digestion strength
Pachana – carminative
Anulomana – promotes natural movement of fluids and substances in body channels
Hrudya -promotes heart health
Raktapittakara – may cause bleeding disorders of Pitta, if taken excessively
Shukraghna – depletes quality and quantity of semen and sperm
Mutrala – induces excess formation of urine
Balya- increases strength
Bruhmana – nourishing

Sour taste makes the mouth watery, causes horripilation, tingling of the teeth and leads to closing of the eyes and brows.
Sour taste stimulates digestive activity, it is unctuous, good for the heart, digestive, appetizer, hot in potency, cold on touch (coolant on external application, relieves burning sensation),
Sour taste satiates, causes moistening, it is easy for digestion, causes aggravation of Kapha, Pitta and blood and makes the inactive Vata move downwards.

Sour taste if used in excess, causes looseness of the body, loss of strength, blindness, giddiness, itching , pallor, swellings, thirst and fever.

Generally substances of sour taste aggravate Pitta, except Pomegranate and Amla (Indian gooseberry).


Example of sour tasting substances – Indian gooseberry, tamarind, lemon, Pomegranate, Rajata Bhasma (silver), Buttermilk, Curds, mango, etc.

Symptoms of excessive sour taste consumption

Excess of sour causes increase of Pitta leading to following symptoms –
Dantaharsha – tingling sensation of teeth
Trushna- excessive thirst
Akshinimeelana – unable to open eyes easily
Romanchana – horripilation
Kaphadravikarana – liquefies Kapha Dosha and causes spreading of Kapha all over the body
Pittavruddhi – increases Pitta
Raktadosha – Causes vitiation of blood
Mamsavidaha – Causes burning sensation in muscles
Shareerashaithilya – destabilizes body
Shotha – causes / worsens inflammatory conditions
Paka – causes pus formation in wounds
Kanthadaaha – burning sensation in throat
Vaksha and Hrudaya Daha – burning sensation in chest

Characteristic features of Sour taste

Sourness is ascertained from
Dantaharsha – tingling sensation in teeth
Mukha srava – Salivation,
Svedana – Sweating,
Mukha Bodhana – Clarity of mouth
Vidaha – burning sensation in the mouth and throat.

While taking food,
Sour taste should be consumed next to sweet foods in diet, in the early part of meals.

Herbs with sour taste

Dhatriphala – Amla,
Amlika – tamarind,
Amlavetasa – Garcinia pedunculata Roxb. / Rheum emodi Wall.,
Dadima – Pomegranate – Punica granatum,
Rajata (Siver), Buttermilk, Chukra, Palevata, Dadhi – Curds, Mango,
Bhavya – Dillenia indica,
Kapittha – Feronia limonia / Limonia acidissima, Karamardaka etc

Ashtanga Hrudayam Sutrasthana 10th chapter

11 comments on “Sour Taste – Qualities, Health Benefits, Side Effects

  • sonja breuer

    18/06/2013 - 1:01 pm

    Great post! Can you post something on dhatu/srota lakshanas.. Thank you! Sonja

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      18/06/2013 - 8:58 pm

      Hi Sonja,
      Thanks for the suggestion.
      I will cover that topic next month.

      Reply to comment
  • Ajay Jain

    18/06/2013 - 11:52 pm

    good post!

    Reply to comment
  • Gaurav

    23/06/2013 - 8:32 am

    Thank you for this series on the basic tastes. This is a very helpful and handy (and may I add timely!) reference.

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      23/06/2013 - 9:58 am

      Hi Gaurav, I am glad you found them timely and helpful. 🙂

      Reply to comment

    13/04/2017 - 12:37 pm

    Very good article sir….

    Please can you make article on Agni??????

    Reply to comment
  • Purnima

    06/08/2019 - 12:39 pm

    I have read many post from your blog. You are doing great sir. I can understand the basics of ayurveda by reading your blog. Thanks a lot.

    Reply to comment
  • T Vijayalakshmi

    14/04/2020 - 3:28 pm

    Can eating sour curd or butter milk cause blood clot. Recently I had buttermilk around 4 pm. The butter milk was sour. After few hours I was feeling some mild pricky sensation in my head. And at night I got little blood in my nose. Can it be that the buttermilk caused some blood clot in my head and that clot came out through nose?

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      13/05/2021 - 4:41 pm

      It does not cause blood clot. In your case, it has increased Pitta Dosha. Sour curd / buttermilk can aggravate Pitta.
      If it had caused blood clots, there would not have been any bleeding.

      Reply to comment

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