Do you often find yourself craving a specific taste? Maybe it's a sweet treat, sour beverage, a pungent curry, bitter piece of dark chocolate or something salty... These flavour cravings may have more to tell you than you think. We've been taught to view our cravings as something bad and in some cases over indulging or choosing sour candy over a sour citrus will have its negative affects but including all flavours is necessary to enhancing wellbeing.
Before we had the technology to derive specific constituents of each herb herbalists used their taste to decipher their benefits and categorized them in these main groups: pungent, salty, sour, sweet and bitter each being associated with a specific part of the body.
Pungent - Immune System and lungs with stimulant and warming properties
Salty - Kidneys and overall health with nutrient dense herbs packed with vitamins and minerals
Sour - Digestion and inflammation with stimulation, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties
Sweet - Stomach, spleen and nervous system with adaptogenic, nourishing and building herbs
Bitter - Digestion and liver with stimulant and detoxifying properties
When you crave one of these specific tastes it is your body communicating an imbalance within, simply adding in the missing flavour can help to regain balance and enhance overall wellbeing. The idea is to include all of the flavours within your daily diet and adjust as needed depending on how you feel. Choosing herbs and food with these natural flavours is best, lets dig a little deeper into each category and discover the flavours of herbs.
Photo by Kezia Photography
Please note that all of our tea blends suggested below were designed with a variety of flavours and are well balanced to offer an effective and neutral formulation for all.
If you are craving: Pungent flavours
Better known as spicy or having strong flavours they tend to be warming and stimulating and help to increase fluid circulation throughout the body, awaken the senses, boost immunity and relieve excess mucus in the nose and throat. Pungent flavours such as ginger, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, thyme, garlic, parsley, peppermint, lavender are easy to incorporate into your daily diet from culinary to a beautiful aromatic cup of tea.
If you are craving: Salty Flavours
Salty flavours are not to be confused with your table salt in herbalism and more resemble a mineral-like taste they are nutrient dense and high in vitamins and minerals, essential to overall wellbeing and can help with lymphatic drainage; when added into your daily diet they can have a dramatic effect on your health. Salty flavours such as stinging nettle leaf, oatstraw and chickweed can be easy to incorporate in your daily cup of tea.
If you are craving: Sour flavours
Not always mouth puckering they can be quite subtle and have an astringent type quality (think of that mouth drying feeling from a strong cup of black tea). Most fruits are considered sour and help to stimulate digestion, reduce inflammation and are high in antioxidants. Sour flavours such as the tea leaf, rose, lemon balm, hawthorn, elder and citruses can commonly found in tea blends.
If you are craving: Sweet flavours
Not to be mistaken for your favourite Smart Sweets, sweet herbs are incredibly nourishing and restorative with a subtle flavour and are often adaptogenic to reduce the stress response, aid digestion and be a great building remedy for overall health. Sweet flavours such as ashwagandha and astragalus.
If you are craving: Bitter flavours
The most avoided flavour in our diet that is often "cooked" right out of the taste profile and embedded in our culture as something negative. The lack of bitters may be the root cause of many digestive issues. Introducing bitters into your daily diet can be highly effective in aiding digestion and detoxifying the liver for overall balance and wellbeing. Bitter flavours such as horsetail, dandelion, chamomile, coffee (black), arugula and cacao will all help to add a little positive bitter into your life!
Paying attention to your cravings without judgement is key to exploring your body's unique needs, it may be craving a piece of raspberry chocolate cake but what is it about that cake that you are craving; the bold flavour, sweetness, sour or bitterness... The key is to include all flavours in your diet with natural foods such as herbs, fruits, dark chocolate to help balance the body and enhance wellbeing.