Due to weakened Agni and unwholesome foods the digestive system begins to accumulate undigested food particles, this is known as ama. Ama is classified as a morbid, toxic sticky substance that is undigested that circulates in the channels and cannot be used by the body to build tissues or form waste products. When ama accumulates it becomes lodged in various systems in the body usually the weaker areas of the individual leading to disease.
Ama is also a result of diet and lifestyles that increase the dosha’s in our body, for example, if our biological constitution is kapha predominant and we eat foods which increase the kapha qualities such as ice cream, we put stress on our digestive fire leading to the accumulation of ama and kapha, this then becomes undigested and absorbed into the body leading to sluggish metabolic function, weight gain and lethargy.
When jatharagni becomes disturbed or impaired as a result of dosha imbalance its ability to properly break down nutrients results in the formation of a substance known in Ayurveda as ama.
Ama is described as being a sticky, dense, morbid substance that is unable to build or repair bodily tissues or form waste products leading to obstruction in the channels of the body. Depending on the specific dosha’s involved determines the specific presentation of ama and its location within the digestive system.
For example, due to kapha being aggravated and its main location is situated in the upper region of the stomach, chest, and oral cavity, ama may present as congestion and obstruct the healthy function of the respiratory system. This is known as Ama ajirna. Ama - morbid. Ajirna translates as indigestion
If pitta is involved it may present in the pitta region of the digestive system where most of the body's chemical activities occur such as the small intestine, liver, pancreas, and spleen. This may present as inflammation associated with poor absorption and impaired enzyme and bile activity. This is known as Vishtabda ajirna. Vishtabda translates as turned sour. Ajirna - indigestion
If ama is produced as a result of vata disturbance there may be the impaired function associated with the main site of vata being the large intestine. This may lead to impaired elimination due to congestion or irregular motility. This is known as Vidhagda ajirna. Vidhagda - restrained. Ajirna translates as indigestion
Ama, if not properly addressed, will cross the digestive cell membranes and begin its journey into the channels of circulation creating further health complications by compromising tissue health and metabolism.
Signs of ama accumulation in mind and body may present as bloating, gas, wind, fever, skin blemishes, lack of energy, bad breath, loss of appetite, excess phlegm, lack of enthusiasm, feeling heavy, brain fog, fatigue, body aches and pains, sinking and sticky stool and thick coating on the tongue.Ayurveda bases a strong emphasis on preventing the accumulation of ama and ensuring that it is effectively removed from the body. The basic approach in Ayurveda is to minimize the accumulation of ama, balance the dosha’s in the body, and encourage the proper formation of bodily tissues. In doing this we maintain youthfulness, reduce degeneration, and the effects of aging.