Updated: Feb 24, 2022
Ama originates from improperly digested toxic particles that clog the channels in your body. Some of these channels are physical and include the intestines, lymphatic systems, arteries and veins, capillaries, and GI tract. Others are non physical channels called “nadis” through which your energy flows. Ama toxicity accumulates wherever there is weakness in the body, and this will result in diseases.
Our health and wellbeing depends on our ability to digest everything we take in from food and liquids to emotions and weather. This is why it is important to have a strong agni. Agni is the Sanskrit term for digestive and metabolic fire. Agni maintains one’s life span, strength and vitality. It governs digestion, absorption, and assimilation. Agni helps us digest food and emotions, assimilate what is important, and eliminate what is waste. If our agni or digestive fire is strong we can process food and emotions with ease and feel great! If our agni is weak we build up ama.
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 products are formed. Therefore, its absorption becomes sluggish and it gets retained in the intestine for a longer period of 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 is the root cause of all diseases. This is Ama.
Ama is a Sanskrit word that translates to “uncooked”, “unripe”, “raw”, or “undigested.” Ama is the build up of toxins, undigested food, or emotions that get stored in our fat cells. It is essentially un-metabolized waste that cannot be used by the body. Small amounts of ama in the body are a normal part of digestion. Yet, if it is not regularly eliminated it builds up in the body and can become problematic. Ama is said to be the root cause of all disease.
Weak working power in any part of the organ is due ama being present in the contraction and relaxation of the musculature, even when the muscle structure is normal.
The underlying causes of weight issues, GI Symptoms, constipation, indigestion, bloating, gas, and heartburn are due to a weak agni (digestive fire), and the build up ama (toxins). Our agni and the amount of ama in the body can change with our diet. This is why gut health is central to optimizing your longevity and vibrancy in Ayurveda.
Signs of Ama:
Ama creates generalized symptoms such as:
Clogging of channels
Stagnation of energy flow
Abnormal flow of vata (some examples are heartburn or diarrhea)
Poor appetite or lack of taste
Thick coating on tongue
Other signs of ama are body ache, constipation, diarrhea, a thick coating on the tongue, fatigue, skin blemishes, fevers, excess weight, poor circulation, and stiffness. There is also mental and emotional ama. This kind of ama leads to a lack of energy and enthusiasm, anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, worry, fear, unclear thinking, and a foggy mind.
The Causes of Ama:
There are many reasons why there is a build up of ama in the body. One of the main causes is a low agni (digestive and metabolic fire). And a high amount of Ama disrupts agni, so a chain reaction happens.
A poor diet like:
Overeating or emotional eating
Highly processed or sugary foods
Non-organic foods with chemicals or pesticides
And excess of sweet and salt.
Lack of excess of sleep
Improper or inadequate exercise
Irregular eating habits like diets.
Repressed or unresolved emotions or trauma.
The first step to treating ama, is removing causes of your imbalance through diet and lifestyle. If this is overwhelming and you don’t know where to start, don’t worry! An Ayurvedic Doctor can help you cleanse the intestinal tract and get rid of mental ama, while boosting your agni (digestive fire). They can also work with you to find your dosha (your unique individual body constitution), which will help to identify the best foods, exercise, and lifestyle for optimal health and vitality! Here at our clinic we focus on gut health and specialize in Gut Healing Protocol. Feel free to contact us for questions or concerns. We are here to help.
Lad, Vasant. Textbook of Ayurveda, Volume II: A Complete Guide to Clinical Assessment. Albuquerque: The Ayurvedic Press, 2006. Print. 190, 199. .
Pole, Sebastian. Ayurvedic Medicine: The Principles of Traditional Practice. London: Churchill Livingston, 2006. Print. 44-46, 103-105
Lad, Vasant. Textbook of Ayurveda, Volume II: A Complete Guide to Clinical Assessment. Albuquerque: The Ayurvedic Press, 2006. Print. 190, 199-202.