Last Modified on Aug 19, 2014
"Taste (or, more formally, gustation) is a form of direct chemoreception and is one of the traditional five senses. It refers to the ability to detect the flavor of substances such as food and poisons. In humans and many other vertebrate animals the sense of taste partners with the less direct sense of smell, in the brain's perception of flavor. In the West, experts traditionally identified four taste sensations: sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. They also identified four elements, four humors, etc. Eastern experts traditionally identified five tastes, including umami. They also identified five elements, five metals, five directions, etc. More recently, psychophysicists and neuroscientists have suggested other taste categories (umami and fatty acid taste most prominently, as well as the sensation of metallic and water tastes, although the latter is commonly disregarded due to the phenomenon of taste adaptation.)
Taste is a sensory function of the central nervous system. The receptor cells for taste in humans are found on the surface of the tongue, along the soft palate, and in the epithelium of the pharynx and epiglottis." (Wikipedia)
Ayurveda advises oil gargling "to purify the taste-buds and the entire system", as explained by Dr Deepak Chopra in Perfect Health. According to this life science, the tongue is mapped by organ-locations -- that is, each section of the tongue is connected to the kidneys, lungs, spleen, liver, heart, pancreas, small intestines, stomach, colon, and spine.
Thus, an oil-mouth-massage soothes and stimulates the key meridians where taste meets organ. Simultaneously, as in any skin-massage, the inner skin and lining of the mouth, palate and tongue become warm and supple and the lubrication prevents dryness (the vatic effect).
In modern dietetics too, dryness is discussed. For example, lack of Vitamin A (retinal) causes the outer lining of the eyeball to dry and wrinkle, and affects vision.
And as any dietician would tell you, all oils contain 960 micrograms of vitamin A per 10 gm (the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A per adult is 600 micrograms). So, it's possible that oil gargling helps in reaching the required retinal to the eyeballs and keeps them elastic and smooth.
Likewise, the Ayurvedic 'purification of taste-buds' also has its equivalent in dietetics as 'antioxidants'. Oxidation literally means `the putrefaction of body-tissues'.
And oil-soluble vitamins, A, C, D, and E are antioxidants that protect and prevent the decaying process and help maintain the integral functioning of cell membranes. That's why, many people are ingesting vitamin E pills to stem 'aging' (oxidation).