What is AMA in Ayurveda?
AMA is a distinctive and peculiar concept in Ayurveda. “AMA” in Sanskrit literally means undigested, raw, unripe or unbaked food substance. In Ayurvedic Classics it is the product of metabolic defect. It is formed due to improperly metabolized by-product of undigested food due to slow or low Agni (Digestive fire). Thus, we can say it’s a substance which remains improperly digested or not metabolized into suitable material for the body.
What is the importance of AMA in Ayurveda?
AMA is not a single entity but is a generalized term, which can be applied to many malformed substances in the body as Toxins or Free radicals. It is an important factor mostly responsible for the development of diseases and also modification of disease processes. It is considered as the root cause of all disorders in Ayurveda. Its importance is also reflected by the word “Amya” which is a synonym to the Vyadhi (Diseases).
What causes AMA?
According to Ayurveda there are four main factors for accumulation of AMA in the body.
- Jatharagni mandhya (Low digestive fire) is considered as root cause of accumulation of AMA. So the factors responsible for malfunctioning of Agni (Digestive fire) are also responsible for AMA as per Charaka Samhita.
Factors leading to failure of digestive fire:
A).Aharaja (Food habits)–
Fasting or Starving for long duration, overeating, consuming food in state of indigestion, irregular diet habits, consumption of incompatible food, food substances with qualities like Guru(heavy), Sheeta(Cold), Shuska(dry),Ruksha(fat deficient food),Vidahi(acidic).
B). Viharaja (Daily activities) –
Suppression of natural urges, sleeping late night and awaking late in the morning, sleeping for long hours in day, drinking excessive water.
C). Mansik (Mental state) –
lot of Anger, Greed, temptation, jealousy, mental stress, grief, fear, shame, worry etc.
D). Iatogenic Causes –
Faulty and unsupervised administration of Panchakarma Vidhi i.e. Vamana (Emesis), Virechana (Purgation), Basti (Enema) etc.
2. Dhatuagnimandya (Low Tissue Fire)
3. Mala Sanchaya (Accumulation of waste products that clog the channels in the body)
4. Dosha sammurcchana (Interaction between vitiated doshas)
5. Krimi Visha (Formation of Toxins)
Hence we can say Jataragni mandya (impaired digestive fire) forms Dhatvagnimandya (improper digestion & metabolism of food) which starts the process of Malasanchya (incompletely processed food components block the channels and AMA strats to accumulate) which starts the action of Dosha Sammurcchana (interaction or amalgamation between vitiated dosha) and then leads to Krimi Visha (Formation of Toxins in the body)
What are the effects or Signs & Symptoms of AMA accumulation?
The formation of AMA is the first stage of dosha vitiation. It can settle in different parts of the body. Dietetic indiscretions and emotional stress contribute to the formation of AMA.
-Laziness and inactive
-Lethargy and Fatigue
-Heaviness in the body
-Lack of appetite
-Discomfort in chest
-Swelling or oedema over some body parts or all over body
-Pain in joints or all body parts
-Obstruction of urge like stools, urine, flatus etc.
How to Avoid accumulation of AMA in the body?
- Langana (Therapeutic Fasting)
- Following Dinacharya (Proper Daily regimen) like Sleep on time and wake up early on time.
- Improve Agni (Digestive Fire) by consuming Herbal Decoctions like:
- Fennel seeds
- Cumin seeds
- Consume food having Katu (Pungent), Tikta (bitter), Kashaya (Astrigent) taste, which helps to improve Agni (Digestion power).
- Consume food which is easy to digest.
- Eat only when you are hungry, don’t overeat, don’t skip meals.
- Eat fresh, Steamed and cooked vegetables.
- Exercise daily at least for 30 -45mins.
- Drink warm or normal water through out the day.
- Keep yourself Mentally fit by being patient and calm.
How to remove excess AMA from your body?
Shodhana Chikitsa (Detoxification Therapy) is a process to clean and removal of AMA or stuborn toxic materials left by disease, vitiates qualities of disturbed dosha(Vata/Pitta or Kapha), poor nutrition and environmental toxins. It helps to enhance and balance function of Agni (Digestive fire).
Panchakarma / Detoxification Therapies like:
Virechana (Theraputic Purgation)
Basti/Vasti (Medicated enemas)
Vamana (Thraputic Emesis)
Nasyam (Elimination of toxins through the nose)
Rakta Mokshana (Detoxification of the blood)