Chinese medicine divides foods and herbs into seven flavors, each representing a basic Energetic property. Note that the flavors are based on the effects on the body and may differ from actual taste.
Sour is Contracting and can be used to treat certain types of diarrhea and can be used to treat spontaneous or excessive sweating.
Ayurveda medicine: Sour Taste. Sour Taste is made up of Earth and fire elements. This Taste is found in Acidic fruits and Fermented Food. Generally, Sour Taste would increase appetite, promotes salivation, stimulates digestive power etc. This taste would increase Pitta and Kapha and reduce Vata. The character of this Taste is light, hot and oily. In excess, the Sour Taste would cause Acidity, promotes toxic blood, damage the muscles, mucus membranes and teeth., according to Dr. Ram Tamang of The Healing Gardens of Ayurveda.
from Chrak Samhita: XVI. 43
DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX TASTES
Sour taste improves the taste of food, enkindles the digestive fire, adds bulk to the body, invigorates, awakens the mind, gives firmness to the senses, increases strength, dispels intestinal gas and flatus, gives contentment to the heart, promotes salivation, aids swallowing, moistening and digestion of food, gives nourishment. It is light, hot and wet.
Yet when used too much by itself or in excess, sour taste makes the teeth sensitive, causes thirst, blinking of the eyes, goosebumps, liquifies Kapha, aggravates Pitta and causes a build-up of toxins in the blood. It wastes away the muscles and causes looseness of the body, creates edema in those weak, injured o rin convalescence. From its heating property it promotes the maturation and suppuration of sores, wounds, burns, fractures and other injuries. It causes a burning sensation in the throat, chest and heart.
from The Art of War: Chapter 5
by Sun Tzu
There are not more than five cardinal tastes (>sour, acrid, salt, sweet, and bitter), yet combinations of them yield more flavours than can ever be tasted.
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