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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2017, Article ID 5435831, 30 pages
https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/5435831
Review Article

Extraoral Taste Receptor Discovery: New Light on Ayurvedic Pharmacology

1Biochemistry Department, Faculty of General Medicine, “Carol Davila” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, B-dul “Eroilor Sanitari” No. 8, Sector 6, 76241 Bucharest, Romania
2Medical Semiology Department, Faculty of General Medicine, “Carol Davila” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, B-dul “Eroilor Sanitari” No. 8, Sector 6, 76241 Bucharest, Romania
3Nephrology Clinic, University Emergency Hospital Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania

Correspondence should be addressed to Marilena Gilca; moc.liamg@acliganeliram

Received 29 January 2017; Revised 22 March 2017; Accepted 27 April 2017; Published 31 May 2017

Academic Editor: Marco Leonti

Copyright © 2017 Marilena Gilca and Dorin Dragos. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

More and more research studies are revealing unexpectedly important roles of taste for health and pathogenesis of various diseases. Only recently it has been shown that taste receptors have many extraoral locations (e.g., stomach, intestines, liver, pancreas, respiratory system, heart, brain, kidney, urinary bladder, pancreas, adipose tissue, testis, and ovary), being part of a large diffuse chemosensory system. The functional implications of these taste receptors widely dispersed in various organs or tissues shed a new light on several concepts used in ayurvedic pharmacology (dravyaguna vijnana), such as taste (rasa), postdigestive effect (vipaka), qualities (guna), and energetic nature (virya). This review summarizes the significance of extraoral taste receptors and transient receptor potential (TRP) channels for ayurvedic pharmacology, as well as the biological activities of various types of phytochemical tastants from an ayurvedic perspective. The relative importance of taste (rasa), postdigestive effect (vipaka), and energetic nature (virya) as ethnopharmacological descriptors within Ayurveda boundaries will also be discussed.