Detoxification and the Management of Ama
Excerpts from: The Yoga of Herbs, David Frawley and Vasant Lad, p. 44-48
Note: In order to fully understand this discussion, it is helpful to know one’s predominant Ayurvedic Dosha [constitution]. In general, there are three main doshas. A person can have one dosha predominant or he can be a combination of two, or all three, doshas. Vata, is light, dry, quick and of the nature of air and ether. Vata types are usually thin, without much muscle mass, with a lot of nerve energy, and with varying appetite. Pitta is hot and of the nature of fire. Pitta Types are usually muscular, active, with strong appetites. They usually get irritated if meals are delayed. Kapha is heavy and wet and of the nature of water and earth. Kapha types are usually heavy-set, slower-paced, with a moderate but steady appetite.
From The Yoga of Herbs:
Ama, the accumulation of toxins, undigested food or waste materials, complicates the treatment of the three Doshas [and all diseases]. In general, Ama possesses the same characteristics as Kapha; it is heavy, dense, cold, and slimy, consisting largely of mucoid accretions. Yet it can be aligned with any of the Doshas [Vata (air); Pitta (fire); Kapha (earth+water)].
“Vata, which is normally light and dry, becomes heavy and damp when mixed with Ama. Pitta, which is hot and damp, becomes cooler and more wet. Kapha becomes heavier, and while normally slow in motion may become stuck or immobile by Ama.
Doshas aligned with Ama are called “Sama” (“sa” means “with” and combined with “ama” becomes “Sama” in Sanskrit. Vata can accumulate as gas in the large intestines and spread to the small intestines, blocking the power of digestion, Agni, and give rise to Ama. Kapha can accumulate in the stomach as mucus, spread to the small intestine, block Agni and also create Ama. Pitta can accumulate as bile in the small intestine, which though hot, can block Agni [digestive fire] by its liquidity and oilness, which similarly gives rise to Ama. Such conditions are called respectively Sama Vata, Sama Kapha, and Sama Pittta.
Ama and Agni are opposite in properties. Ana is cold, wet, heavy, cloudy, malodorous, and impure. Agni is hot, fry, light, clear, fragrant (aromatic), and pure. To treat Ama, it is necessary to increase Agni.
Symptoms of Ama include loss of taste and appetite, indigestion, tongue-coating, bad breath, loss of strength, heaviness, lethargy, and obstructions of the channels and vessels.
Whenever there is such evidence of Ama, treatment must first aim at its elimination. It is not possible to treat two Doshas [imbalances in ones constitution] simply and directly when they are mixed with Ama. For example, tonification and rejuvenation therapies are only possible once the body is cleared of Ama.
Ama is decreased by herbs that are bitter or pungent in taste. Bitter taste, composed of air and ether, helps separate Ama, whose quality is heavy, from the tissues and organs wherein it is lodged. . . Pungent taste, composed of fire and air, burns up and eradicates Ama. It has the same properties as Agni [digestive fire], and through strengthening Agni, it digests Ama.
Ama is increased by substances that are sweet, salty, or sour in taste. Sweet taste, like Ama, is cold, heavy, and wet. Salty taste is also heavy and wet.
As the main attribute of Ama is heaviness, it is treated primarily by herbs and diet of a light nature. Often a fast is a good idea until the tongue clears and appetite returns.
Management of one’s primary dosha [constitution] with Ama:
Vata, Sama [Vata constitution with the presence of Ama]
Indications: constipation, foul breath and feces, tongue coating, abdominal pain and distention, intestinal gas and cramping pain, low appetite, heaviness, weakness, slow pulse, and aggravated by cloudy weather.
Treatment: mainly pungent tasting herbs, stimulants, carminatives, along with some laxatives or purgatives to clear toxins.
Pitta Sama [Pitta constitution with the presence of Ama]
Indications: loss of appetite, little thrist, yellow tongue-coating, urine, feces, and mucus yellow or green, heaviness in stomach, bad breath, bitter or sour taste in mouth, mild buring sensation, skin rash, perception cloudy, conditions may be aggravated by cold.
Treatment: mainly bitter and pungent-tasting herbs, bitter tonics, and stimulants to clear toxins.
Kapha Sama [Kapha constitution with the presence of Ama]
Indications: mucus cloudy, sticky, or thick, does not come out easily, blocks throat, coats tongue. Threads from saliva, sour or salthy taste in mouth, congestion, tightness in chest, difficult breathing, mucus in stools or urine, low appetite, heaviness, dull aching, generalized pain, fatigue.
Treatment: mainly pungent and bitter herbs for stimulant and decongestant action to clear toxins, cut mucus and fat.
Ayurvedic Healing by David Frawley
The Yoga of Herbs by David Frawley and Vasant Lad
<< Ayurveda and Ama