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The Ama Theory - An Ayurvedic Viewpoint on Body Toxins
Date of Publishing: 20-Oct-2011
The Ama Theory - An Ayurvedic Viewpoint on Body Toxins

The world has started running after and looking for body detoxification ways, means, processes and remedies, without understanding how the toxins may be produced in the body. Before thinking of detoxification of the body, it is extremely essential to understand, what actually the toxins are and how they may be produced in the body. In the Ayurvedic texts, body toxins have been referred as ‘Ama’ (formed as a result of unassimilated or undigested food juice remnants in the gastro-intestinal tract), and as the main etiological factor responsible for exogenous non-compatibility & endogenous intoxication of the physiological functioning of the body resulting in various auto-immune disorders.

According to Ayurvedic texts, entire cosmos is constituted of ‘Panchmahabhootas’ (Space or ether, Air, Water, Fire & Earth) and when they combine together, three imperceptible functional forces, ‘Vata’ (constituted of Air & Ether), ‘Pitta’ (constituted of Fire) & ‘Kapha’ (constituted of Water & Earth) are created. They form the tripod of the body and are called ‘Tridoshas’ (three ‘doshas’ or blemishes or humours or morbids). The word ‘dosha’ is derived from the root ‘dush’ which means to pollute, vitiate or become impure. The term ‘dosha’ literally means blemish because it is the increase, decrease and disturbance of one, two or all three of the ‘doshas’ that are responsible for all pathological changes in the body. These ‘tridoshas’ are responsible for maintaining the integrity of the living organisms and govern the entire physical structure & physiological functioning of body. Each ‘dosha’ has a specific ‘pramana’ (quantity), ‘guna’ (quality) and ‘karma’ (action) in the body. In an undisturbed state their function is said to be ‘sama’ (balanced), the result of which is ‘arogya’ (absence of disease). Foods, habits and environmental factors that are contrary to the qualities of a particular ‘dosha’ bring about its decrease, while foods, habits and environmental factors that are similar to a particular ‘dosha’ bring about its increase. Both these states of increase and decrease are considered ‘vaisamya’ (abnormal), but it is the increase that causes major disturbances, while decrease typically causes minor disturbances.

These ‘tridoshas’, during their vitiation or excitation stages, as a result of their unbalanced state in the body, become causal to join hands with various causative factors like ‘Ama’ to bring the body to an unhealthy & diseased state. Interestingly, ‘Ama’ has not been considered as a ‘dosha’ in Ayurveda but because of its rapidity and toxic influence on the human system i.e. 'asukari svabhava' (devilish nature), it has strongly been referred as ‘visha’ (toxin). Due to various factors like:

1. complete abstinence from food,

2. indigestion, over eating & irregular dietary habits,

3. indulgence in incompatible articles of food,

4. excessive consumption of cold substances,

5. ill-effects of ‘Virechana’ (purgation), ‘Vamana’ (disgorgation), ‘Snehan’ (oleation),

6. the wasting of tissues,

7. states induced by faults or changes in place, climate & season,

8. ‘adhaarniya-vega-dhaaran’ i.e. suppression of naturally essential urges, like ‘Mutra vega’ (urination), ‘mala-vega’ (defecation), ‘Apan vayu vega’ (farting), ‘Udagara vega’ (belching), ‘Trishna vega’ (thirst), ‘Kshudha vega’ (hunger), ‘Shukra vega’ (seminal discharge), ‘Jrumbha vega’ (yawning), ‘Kshavathu vega’ (sneezing), ‘Ashru vega’ (tears), ‘Kasa vega’ (coughing), ‘Chardi vega’ (vomiting), ‘Nihi swasa vega’ (dyspnoea of exertion) and ‘Nidra vega’ (sleep),

9. impaired ‘Pachak-pitta’ (digestive fire),

10. excessive use of dehydrated, over-hydrated or ‘Guru-Madhur-Amal’ (heavy, sweet & acidic) food,

11. physical stresses like excessive exercises, over indulgence in sexual pleasures, swimming etc.

12. mental stresses like rage, grief & hunger; and

13. due to accumulation of ‘Mala’ (body’s waste products),

‘Ama’ is produced & collected in the gastrointestinal tract. A part of it may be absorbed in the system causing systemic manifestations of certain ‘Ama’ related diseases. It has been described as responsible for the initiation of the disease process in the body.

The already vitiated ‘Vata’ transports this ‘Ama’ to all parts of the body and carries it to the sites of ‘Shleshak-kapha’ which has a common resemblance with ‘Ama’. With the effect of place, climate & season, the ‘Ama’ is motivated by vitiated ‘Vata’ and established at the already vitiated site of ‘Shleshak-kapha’. This ‘Ama’ associated with vitiated ‘doshas’, gets localised in a particular ‘Dhatu’ (tissue) to produce several types of endogenous diseases. Probably some immunological mechanisms are also involved in this process.

General langour or debility of the body, disgust for food, thirst, lethargy, heaviness of the limbs, fever, indigestion and swellings are the common symp¬toms of vitiated ‘Ama’. The places, in which the vitiated ‘Ama’ accumulates, become subject to piercing pains. Loss of appetite, watery secretions from the mouth & nose, loss of energy, loss of taste in the mouth, burning of the skin, copious or scanty urine, deep-seated pain and hardness of the abdomen, sleep at day-time but want of it at night, thirst, vomiting, vertigo, swoons, pain in the chest, constipation, dullness of the body, rumbling noise in the stomach, obstruction of the intestines or a sluggish condition of bowels; are the associated symptoms. The excited ‘doshas’ i.e. ‘Vata’ causes excessive pains; ‘Pitta’ causes burning of the skin and redness of the complexion; ‘Kapha’ causes wet sensation, heaviness of the limbs and continuous itching manifestations; besides the other symptoms.

By adopting the Ayurvedic way of lifestyle, and taking preventive measures as described above, a human being can get rid of the threat of production of toxins like ‘Ama’ in the body. Ayurveda also suggests numerous remedies and therapies like ‘Panchakarma’ for elimination of such toxins from the body.