Ayurveda identifies six predominant tastes; sour (amla), salty (lavana), sweet (madhura), astringent (kashaya), pungent (katu) and bitter (tikta). Each of these tastes is made up of a combination of the five elements, and tikta is considered to be predominantly air and ether.
Although Tikta is a bitter and generally unpleasant taste, it is important to incorporate it into a balanced diet according to Ayurveda. Tikta foods tend to be cool, light and dry in character. Consuming these foods is thought to be balancing for Pitta and Kapha, but aggravating to Vata.