The Concept of Ama in Ayurveda
Ushmanoalp balatven dhatum adhyam panchitam.
Dushtam amashaya gatam rasam amam prachakshate.
In common language Ama means immature unripe uncooked and undigested. In the medical context however the term ama refers to events factors and resultants which follow, arise and results respectively as a consequence of kaya agni not functioning properly.
Ama is an essential factor in the development of pathology. The synonym of disease i.e Amaya is said to be a condition produced by ama. The term ama possesses a unique significance in the context of pathology in Ayurveda and constitutes the most important causative factor of a great number of diseases as described in the classical texts.
According to Acharya Vagbhata due to the diminution of agni the first dhatu namely rasa is not formed properly and the anna rasa(Food essence) undergoes fermentation and or putrefaction being retained in the amashya(Stomach) – this state of rasa is ama. So the improperly digested rasa is ama.
Also the impaired vata, pitta and kapha dosha when mixed with one another lead to the formation of ama dosha. Due to the inhibition of jathragni if the ingested food is not properly digested and the products which arise out of such an impaired digestion are being retained in the amashaya, they undergo changes and yield toxic substances i.e ama. This may very well be compared wiith toxaemia of different types.
Effects of Ama
According to Acharya Vagbhata the ama produces srotosang(Obstruction of channels) balakshaya(Loss of strength) gauravta(Heaviness) anila mudhta(Imepedementto the flow of vayu) klama(Lethargy) ajeerna(Indigestion) atyapraseka(Excessive salivation) vegavrodha(Obstruction of urge like stools urine flatus etc. ) mandagni(Anorexia) and Angsada(Malaise).
The formation of Ama is the first stage of dosha vitiation. It can settle in different parts of the body. Dietetic indiscretions and emotional stresses contribute to the formation of Ama.
Creation of Ama
Dietetic indiscretions and emotional stresses which contribute to the formation of Ama –
- Food containing incompatible articles.
- Heavy or indigestible food articles.
- Over eating.
- Ingestion of disgusting food.
- Food which produces distension of the abdomen.
- Consumption of raw and uncooked food.
- Consuming very cold food.
- Foods which are irritating and capable of causing inflammation of the stomach and intestines.
- Consumption of the stomach and intestines.
- Consumption of unclean and contaminated/infected food.
- Eating dry fried or dehydrated food stuff.
- Food soaked in too much water.
- Intense emotional stresses such as grief anger worry fear complex etc.
- Hunger and irregular eating habits.
Sama and Nirama dosha
Sama- In which dosha dhatu and mala become permeated with ama.
Niram- In which dosha dhatu and mala are without ama abnormalities.
Sama Vata – signs and symptoms
- Obstruction of channels.
- Lack of appetite.
- Pricking sensation.
- Pain in joint and all the body parts.
Treatment plan- Purification therapy by basti (Medicated enemas).
Niram vata – signs and symptoms
- Clearing and cleaning of channels
- Mild pain
Treatment plan- Oleation.
Sama pitta – signs and symptoms
- Foul odour
- Acid eructations
- Burning sesation in the throat and the region of the heart.
- Green colouration
Treatment plan- Shodhana(Purification therapy) – Virechana(Purgation).
Niram pitta – signs and symptoms
- Without bad odour
- Pungent taste
- Improvement in the digestive power
Treatment plan- Removal of vitiated qualities of pitta.
Sama Kapha – signs and symptoms
- Obstructed channels
- Appetite is nearly lost
- Prevents normal bleaching
Treatment plan- Shodhana Chikitsa(Purification therapy) vaman(Therapeutic emesis) langhana(Fasting etc.).
Niram Kapha – signs and symptoms
- Regaining of homogeneous consistency
- Relieving from foul smell
- Relieving from stickisness
Treatment plan- Removal of vitiated qualities of kapha.
When ama comes in intimate contact with the dhatu they beome abnormal structually and fuctionally. This is smadhatu.
Signs and symptoms of sama dhatu are specific to the respectibe dhatu and are observed independently. Nirama dhatu are normal structurually and functionally.
SAMA AND NIRAM MAL
Sama purisha(Faeces) – signs and symptoms
- Profuse in quality
- Very foul smelling
- Sticks to the pot
- Sinks in water
Niram purisha – signs and symptoms
- Normal in quantity
- Well formed
- Normal faecal smell
- Non sticky
- Floats in water
Sama mutra(Urine) – signs and symptoms
- Specific gravity and density is more than normal
- Foul smell
Niram mutra – signs and symptoms
- Normal colour of urine
- Specific gravity and density is normal
- Uriniferous smell
The first foremost fundamental treatment for ama is langhana- (Fasting) till the normal agni is maintained. This normal agni reduces the obstructions in the channels and digests the ama and all signs and thus symptoms produced by ama are reduced.
Dry sudation therapy is the second line of treatment which is given baluka bags(Boluses made by a variety of sand). This therapy relieves the obstructions in the channels pain and swelling. (Oleation therapy is containdicated because application of this therapy increases the signs and symptoms of ama).
Then the indicated therapies are emesis and puration herbs which helps to comat ama are- Shunthi/Ginger (Zingiber officinale) eranda/castor (Riscus communis) Guduchi(Tinospora cordifolia) bhallataka(Semicarpus anacardium) Kuchala Kuchala(Strychnus nexvomica) etc.