(Last Updated on : 19-06-2014)
The pungent taste comes from essential oils from the herbs and spices. The taste stimulates the appetite and helps in the assimilation of food in the digestive
tract. The pungent taste causes the enhancement of air and fire elements and thereby dries and excites all organs. Pungent foods are light, hot and dry. The volatile oils render the aromatic spices as well as causes tingling sensation on the tongue, which promotes salivation and also causes lachrymation sometimes. Thus the pungent tastes sometimes are indicated in cases of excess water. But the pungent taste also have drying effects and it have to be used somewhat more carefully in case of air types and more judicially in case of fire types. Each type generally gets benefit from the use of spices as long as the moisture in the food compensates their dryness.
Hot spices often have repairing and medicinal effect. They can be used to drain the sinuses and to increase the expectorations of phlegm. The pungent taste often helps to decongest the arteries, which are clogged by cholesterol. It assists to treat obesity and diabetes. Since the people from western countries use relatively lesser number of hot spices in their cooking and even less number is used for medicinal ways, the pharmacological properties of such spices can be easily understood. For Example, some people use herbs like thyme, marjoram and oregano in sauces and salad dressings but they do not know the effectiveness of ginger root and black pepper, which are very useful to clear up cold. It is important to realize that water-born disorders are the major causes of ill health all over the world.
The refined sugar and other processed food are the causes of many health hazards in the modern world. People with excess water level in their body tend to develop high level of mucus, serum cholesterol, high level of fatty acids and also excess body weight, which inhibits the efficient functioning of the body. Spices help to relieve many such problems and the sweet foods like pastries, ice creams and others should be substituted by using spices with pungent taste. Many snacks can be prepared with the spices though the people with watery types do not need snacks between meals. A spicy trail mix can be the substitute for a chocolate. These types of spicy foods reduce craving for sugar and alcohol.
The spice foods enhance the fat metabolism and reduce the tendency of arteriosclerosis and myocardial infraction. Apart from this, many spices are antifungal, antibacterial and vermicide. These types of spicy foods prevent low-grade infections like candida albicans and intestinal parasites. The essential oils of spices also stimulate peristaltic action of the intestines, aid in assimilation and elimination of food and clears up the congestion of the body.
Most of the spices are irradiated. Gamma radiation levels for these spices do not exceed thirty thousand Gray, which is thirty times the irradiation permitted for other food products. It is generally considered that thousand gray would kill a person. So it is wiser to find non-radiating spices. Many herbs and spices are available which are free of radiation and taste lot better.
of the spices is deranged and the molecular structure is changed by the radiation. The oils are also affected so that the irradiated spices are drier and more irritating in taste. So using irradiated spices have no medicinal benefits.
Spices also have slimming effects. Many spices can be chewed after the meals as cardamom and fennel seeds, which also cleanse the mouth and gives freshness to breath. Pungent foods are excellent except in the cases of fever or other indication of the elevated fire elements or where the palate is not accustomed to this taste and the spices have to be introduced slowly and gradually. When used in excess spices can produce symptoms of too much of fire and air, which manifests through various symptoms like trembling, dizziness, burning sensations in throat, spots before eyes, impotency, ulcers and haemorrhoids.