Ama is a unique concept of Ayurveda for which modern chemistry has no correlate. It is an important factor in a cause of disease and in modification of disease process.
Ama originates from improperly digested toxic particles that clog the channels in the body. Some of these channels are physical and include the intestines, lymphatic system, arteries and veins, capillaries, and genitourinary tract. Others are nonphysical channels called nadis through which our energy flows. Ama toxicity accumulates wherever there is a weakness in the body, and this will result in disease
Causes of ‘Ama’ production :
- Agnimandya -Low digestive fire
Normal activity of digestive fire is essential for the complete and proper digestion of food. But due to low digestive fire the food is not properly digested, and toxic product is formed. Therefore its absorption becomes sluggish and it gets retained in the intestine for a longer time. Due to this retention it becomes fermented or even putrefied. This toxic product remains unabsorbed in the intestine because of its incomplete digestion and it is the root cause of all diseases.
- Dhatu-agnimandya – Low tissue fire
Tissue fire plays an important role in the process of formation of tissues from the nutrient substances (of the particular dhatu). Hence when the power of the tissue fire is diminished, either in the liver or in a particular channel, the formation or utilization of that tissue becomes incomplete and ama is produced. Such tissues containing ama are called Sama tissues-tissues with ama.
- Dosha sammurcchana – Interaction or amalgamation between vitiated doshas
Every dosha has certain qualities, which are antagonistic to the qualities of other doshas-e.g. the dry and light qualities of Vata are antagonistic to the oily and heavy qualities of Kapha. Similarly the hot quality of Pitta is antagonistic to the cold quality of Kapha and Vata. Therefore when two or three doshas become severely vitiated and combined, they produce interaction between them. In such conditions opposite qualities, instead of nullifying each other interact and produce a toxic substance.
- Krimi visha -Bacterial toxins
When an infection is caused by the pathogenic organisms, they liberate a toxic substance.
Properties of ama :
- It is always in the form of incompletely digested substance
- Hence it is non-homogenous, has a very bad or foul odor which can be experienced only when it is combined with excretory products such as sweat, urine, and feces, or when products such as sputum, vomit, etc., are expelled from the body.
- It is very sticky.
- it produces lethargy in the body.
Symptoms of ama:
- Srotorodha -Obstruction- This can occur in any large, small, or minute channel, when it is indicated by stagnation and disturbance in transport, and metabolism can occur even at the cellular level. The commonly observed obstructions are in the liver (affecting the passage of bile), the urinary tract, the fallopian tubes, the blood vessels, the respiratory tract, etc.
- Weakness or reduced working power in any part or organ is due to the difficulty produced by ama in the contraction and relaxation of the musculature of the part, even when the organic structure of the muscle is normal.
- Obstruction of the movement of Vata- Ama on one side causes disturbance in the action of the musculature of the part or organ, and on the other side it causes disturbances in the conduction of nerve impulses, and ultimately the activity of the concerned part becomes reduced or stopped.You will lack mental clarity and energy and feel weary and unenthusiastic
- Heaviness and Lethargy.
- tongue is coated especially upon awaking in the morning
- Metabolic disturbance. Due to various diseases such as obesity, diabetes, etc., metabolic disturbance is produced. ( Ash. Su. 13 /23)
Signs of Ama :
Feeling heavy, muzzy headed, unclear thinking, aches and pains, bloating, gas, skin blemishes, fever, lack of energy, stickiness, foul smells (breath, sweat, urine, stools, phlegm), sinking stool, mucous in stool, turbid urine, lack of appetite or taste, indigestion, sticky/sweet taste in the mouth, copious phlegm. Pulse; deep, dull, slippery Tongue; thick, greasy coating.
Treatment of ama :
Anti-vata: Fresh Ginger, Linseed, Nutmeg, Garlic, Asafoetida, Cumin, Black Pepper, Fennel, Castor oil. Also try Asafoetida Formula, which is very useful for clearing wind, bloating and spasms from the intestines.
Anti-pitta: Kalmegh, Aloe Vera, Fennel, Coriander, Guduchi, Neem. Also try Amalaki formula that contains cooling herbs to clear heat toxins from the system.
Anti-kapha: Ginger, Cumin, Black pepper, Pushkaramoola, Punarnava, Tulsi, Vacha, Guggul. Also try the famous Ayurvedic formula called Trikatu, renowned for its heating properties that can literally digest toxins.