Sourness is found predominantly in fruits, fermented foods (like yoghurt), and organic acids (oxalic acid, for instance). Because of its acids, the sour taste hot. It generally found in foods that contain a lot of moisture and therefore is wet. It is also light. Fermentation produces heat because the process itself creates combustion. Therefore, fire is the predominant element in sour foods, but because of water present, sour foods are not as hot as pungent oils. Water is second strongest element in the sour taste. Sour are the most medicinal for air types and secondly for earth types. Sour foods pacify the vata dosha.


flavonoidsThe sour taste promotes salivation, the first step in the digestive process. Sour foods are generally cleansing as well as stimulating to the appetite. They are also carminative and often diaphoretic (cause perspiration) due to their heat producing qualities. Overconsumption of fruits can derange the fire element and lead to excess catabolism. The first evidence of this will usually be muscle weakness and/or diarrhea. Dark rings around the eyes are another indication that purification has been carried too far and should be balanced by proper tonifying foods, particularly those that address kidney-adrenal functioning.

One of the favorite sour foods used in India is tamarind. This is prepared as chutney, juice, or a paste and is often used for alcoholism. In the West, rose hips might be used in place of tamarind. Thanks in part to the lack of appreciation for fruits seen in the Macrobiotic diet, many contemporary diets have underestimated the role of fruits and even of wine and fermented dairy products. Fruits are much more than sugar and water. They are rich in natural vitamins and organic acids, many of which aid digestion and purification. In general, fruits should not be consumed with other foods, but rather eaten separately. The exceptions are condiments and wine.

It is worth noting that during my many years of living in Hawaii, there was frequent occasion to observe people who had been on fruit fasts. Though there is much to be said for periodic cleansing of the body, fruits tend to be more eliminative than building. Hence, many of those who carried such fasts too far, often making lifelong occupations out of fasting, were in severely debilitated condition after sometimes only a few months. Though Ayurveda may teach that this is due to the predominantly catabolic effects of fruit, it is my opinion that after a certain point, the body begins to consume its own earthiest parts, joints and bones, to obtain the trace minerals that the vital organs need in order to function. Therefore, though a well planned fruit fast may be excellent for people who have consistently overeaten heavy and junk foods, beyond a certain point, it is reckless. It is certainly ill advised once thirst, fever, or dizziness make their appearance. Also, though this is often celebrated, it is also probably unwise to continue fruit fasts if a woman ceases to menstruate. Likewise, a severe drop in the libido may not be a sign of spiritual transcendence but rather of loss of genuine vital power. So, though sour foods are generally purifying and they aid digestion and impart strength to the heart and other organs of the body, they should not be consumed injudiciously.

Fruit Fasts

One of the common fasts is the olive oil and lemon juice fast used to flush gall stones. Another is the lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne fast. This was recommended by Stanley Burroughs to cleanse the lymphatic system. It was continued for 10-40 days. The recipe is:

Master Cleanser Fast
½ organic lemon (juiced fresh, not canned or frozen)
2 T. pure maple syrup, grade B (the dark amber)
up to ¼ t. cayenne as tolerated
8 oz. pure warm water

Drink at least five glasses per day, more if hungry. If making more than what will be immediately consumed, put the extra in a thermos and sip as needed.Continue as directed by your health care practitioner. Remember, this is a fast so no other food is to be consumed, but since it is important to keep the bowels working, laxative teas should be taken once or twice a day.

Variations: Willard Water can be used to activate the water. Cayenne tincture can be used instead of powder. Some substitute black strap molasses for maple syrup. Limes can be used instead of lemons.

Warning: I have seen some people suffer from electrolyte imbalances while on this fast. This is a fast that is generally endured better by water and earth types than air or fire types. As a general rule, it is very difficult for air types to fast more than three days. Diabetics should not undergo this fast without professional supervision.

Perhaps a variation of this recipe is the one Dr. Leonard Horowitz has proposed for relief from exposure to chemtrails. He uses a gallon of distilled water, 5-6 freshly juiced lemons, half to one cup of grade B maple syrup, and then as much of the hottest cayenne one can stand. He says to drink one gallon of this mix per day for three days. Obviously, I have no idea whether this cures the barium blues or anything else falling from the sky, but it is surely time to stop the desecration of our Planet.


Years ago, I was bitten all up and down my leg by a black widow spider. My Ayurvedic teacher suggested I alternate two large glasses of buttermilk with two glasses of cucumber juice. This was to neutralize the toxins of the venom. Since then, I have been very tuned in to people who have used yoghurt, buttermilk, quark, and other fermented dairy products for various purposes, including treatment of very serious diseases. The most famous exponent of such diets was Dr. Johanna Budwig, but there are clinics in India in which cancer patients are placed on three-week fasts on yoghurt.

Obviously, the quality of the product is important. Only organic products should be used. There are many theories as to why these products are beneficial. Not all have to do with the presence of probiotics though these are surely credited with the reduction of gastrointestinal complaints and growth of fungal organisms.

The Budwig diet has been touted by some as the most successful anti-cancer diet in the world. Budwig was an expert on oils and fats. She emphasized the importance of essential fatty acids in conjunction with naturally occurring sulfur such as is found in cottage cheese and quark as well as garlic, onions, and leeks. Before experimenting with this diet to treat serious conditions, it would be better to read Budwig's book so that all the components are integrated properly. However, her basic recipe can be added to muesli or granola along with fresh fruits and nuts.

Budwig Quark or Cottage Cheese
1 cup organic quark, cottage cheese, or yogurt
2-5 T. cold pressed flax oil
1-3 T. freshly ground flax seeds
  pure warm water to soften
dash cayenne, garlic, ginger


The Sour Taste
Balancing Energy
Balancing Taste
Water and Earth
Air and Earth


The Salty Taste


Reprinted from The Elements: Constitutional Type and Temperament by Ingrid Naiman
Copyright 1989 and 1998 by Ingrid Naiman







Sacred Medicine Sanctuary
Copyright by Ingrid Naiman 2004


*The material provided on this site is for informational purposes only. The author is not a medical doctor. The statements made represent the author's personal opinions and are not intended to replace the services of health care professionals. The content and products discussed have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information on this page and the products available on this site are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.