Monday, December 6, 2010

Does A Spoonful Of Sugar Make The Medicine Go Down?

Sugar or something sweet has been used time immemorial to help children or sensitive adults take medicine that has a strong, unfavorable taste.  The sugar is not thought to have a medicinal effect.  In Ayurveda, actual taste of food and medicine has the ability to balance body type and actual illness.  The tastes go beyond the tongue because they are impacting our physiology.  There are six basic tastes: salty, sweet, sour, bitter, astringent and pungent.

Science has recently confirmed Ayurveda's position on taste.  Research has shown that just as the tongue has tastebuds to detect taste, the lung muscle has sensors that detect taste.  Specifically, the lung "tastes" dangerous bacterias that can cause infections.  In response to the dangerous taste, the lung muscle relaxes, letting the airway expand.  Thereby, the lung gains the ability to breathe easier which allows the bacteria and debris to clear from the lung area more easily.  The taste of bitter has been identified as relaxing the airways.  Hopefully, a medicine that targets these taste receptors will be developed to help treat illnesses which have symptoms of inflamed airways, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Interestingly, Ayurveda uses the taste of bitter to treat inflammation as well.  In the meantime, let the taste of your medicine and food to shine through without adding another taste to cover it up.

Stay healthy & well,

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