Five flavours

The five flavours of herbs and foods refer to the five different tastes. They are: pungent, sweet, sour, bitter and salty. The various flavours have different actions. Pungent flavours have an action of dispersing and promoting circulation of qi and blood. Sweet flavours have a nourishing, harmonizing and moistening action. Sour flavours have absorbing, consolidating and astringent actions. Bitter flavours have the action of drying or resolving dampness, purging and pushing down. Salty flavours have the effect of softening hard nodes or masses and promoting bowel movement etc.