AMA – THE ROOT CAUSE FOR MANY DISEASES
June 1, 2017 | Dr. Madhu
Ama is a peculiar concept in Ayurveda. It is an important factor in a cause of disease and in modification of disease process.
FORMATION OF AMA:
The normal process that should take place in the body is as follows: All the food we eat should be fully digested. Half of it is absorbed into the body as nutrients and the rest of it expelled out of the body as waste products.
But sometimes due to external negative influences (e.g. stress, strain, adverse weather, inappropriate food and habits) not all the food we eat is fully digested. Perhaps just one third of the food is fully digested and absorbed as nutrients; the other third is fully digested and expelled out of the body as waste products. But there still remains a third of the food which is in a half digested condition. Because of this, it cannot be identified as either nutrients or waste products. Therefore it is neither absorbed nor expelled out. This half digested unmetabolised food product circulates in the body as toxins. Ayurveda has named such toxin as “Ama”. Ama is a Sanskrit word which literally means undigested or uncooked. The first stage of any disease is also sometimes called Ama.
SOME SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF AMA IN THE BODY:
Irregular appetite or reduced appetite
Generalised body and joint pains. This is noticed the day after eating certain heavy foods, like meat, cheeses, desserts and fried foods.
Skin is dull and lusterless with blemishes, acne etc
Bloated stomach, gases, flatulence
Metallic taste in the mouth
White coating on the tongue
Foul smelling breath and sweat
Constipation, foul smelling stools which may be sticky, heavy and sink.
Lack of mental clarity and energy.
A sense of heaviness in the abdomen, legs or body as a whole
Weary and unenthusiastic feeling
Blocked feeling anywhere in the body, including constipation, sinus congestion and difficulty in breathing
One wakes up tired even after a good night’s sleep
AYURVEDIC 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: 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.
Specific Therapies: - Sweating, fasting, hot water, wind and sun therapy, vigorous exercise, Panchakarma.
Emphasise pungent, bitter, astringent flavours.
Fruit: No sweet fruit, only sour - cranberry, lemon, lime, grapefruit
Vegetables: Steamed sprouts, steamed vegetables – some raw is good for pitta. Lots of greens, microalgae – especially chlorella. No root/sweet vegetables or mushrooms
Grains: No bread/ pastries. Less wheat and oats, barley, quinoa, millet, rye, rice
Nuts: None, some pumpkin seeds
Dairy: None. Goats' milk is slightly astringent and is less Kapha forming
Meat: No shellfish, fish, fats, red meat, pork, eggs
Oils: None. Ghee okay in small quantities as are mustard or linseed oils, which are drying
Sweeteners: None. Sugar is ama forming. Honey is ok (2 tsp/day).
Drinks: Ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, fennel, dandelion root coffee.