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DETOXIFICATION/MANAGEMENT OF AMA

Ama, the accumulation of toxins, undigested food or waste-materials,


complicates the treatment of the three Doshas. 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 wim
any of the Doshas.
Doshas aligned with Ama are called Sama (sa means with and
combined with ama becomes Samo in Sanskrit). Vata can
accumulate as gas in the large intestine
and spread to the small intestine, blocking the power of digestion, Agni,
and give rise to Ama. Kapha can accumulate in the stomach as mucus,
spread into the small intestine, block Agni and also create Ama. Pitta
can accumulate as bile in the small intestine, which though hot, can
block Agni by its liquidity or oiliness, which similarly gives rise to Ama.
Such conditions are called respectively Sama Vata, Sama Kapha and
Sama Pitta.
Ama and Agni are opposite in properties. Ama is cold, wet, heavy,
cloudy, malodorous and impure. Agni is hot, dry, light, clear, fragrant
(aromatic) and pure. To treat Ama, it is necessary to increase Agni.
Psychologically, Ama arises from the holding of negative emotions.
Negative emotions quench the mental Agni or clarity of mind. As a
result, the physical Agni is also reduced. Undigested experiences
become toxic like undigested food.
Symptoms of Ama include loss of taste and appetite, indigestion,
tongue-coating, bad breath, loss of strength, heaviness, lethargy, and
obstructions of channels and vessels. Other symptoms are accumulation
of waste-materials, bad odor of body urine or feces, deep, heavy or dull
pulse, lack of attention, loss of clarity depression, irritability and
obstruction of other Doshas.
Ama is the root of most colds, fevers and flus, as well as the chronic
diseases of a weak auto-immune systemthese range from allergies and
hay fever to asthma, arthritis and cancer.
Wherever there is such evidence of Ama, treatment must first aim at its
elimination. It is not possible to treat two Doshas
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. It catalyzes and thereby
relieves the fever due to this invasion of Ama into the tissues. It
stimulates the catabolic processes of the body wherein foreign material
is broken down. Like dry ice, it can help destroy Ama.
Pungent taste, composed of fire and air, burns up and eradicates Ama. It
has the same properties as Agni, and through strengthening Agni, it
digests Ama. Usually bitter taste is used first to halt the development of
Ama. Then pungent taste is used to revive the metabolism to consume
the Ama and prevent it from redeveloping. Bitter taste by itself may not
be sufficient to completely destroy Ama or adequately restore Agni.
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. Salty and sour tastes by their hot and damp properties can
aggravate the fever and toxic heat of the blood that usually accompanies
Ama.
Astringent taste is mixed in its action on Ama. Its constricting effect
upon the tissues and discharges may serve to hold Ama in the body. Yet
it can be used to help in the healing of membranes damaged by
infections due to Ama. So it must be used as a supplement to bitter or
pungent therapies.
As the main attribute of Ama is heaviness, it is treated primarily by
herbs and that of a light nature. Often a fast is a good idea until the
tongue clears or the appetite returns. Ama as a primary factor in disease
is behind the value and extensive usage of fasting, mucus-free thats and
detoxifying therapies for many different diseases. Such therapies may
have benefit even when the exact constitution of the individual is not
determined.
Because the properties of the Dosha are mixed with those of Ama, herbs
which may relieve a Dosha may not be effective in a Sama condition.
Conversely herbs which normally aggravate a Dosha may relieve it in a
Sama condition. We must discriminate not only the Dosha but whether it
is with or without Ama (Sama or Nirama, nir means without).
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. The turbidity, stickiness and
density of Ama alters the attributes of the Doshas.
VATA, SAMA: Indications: constipation, foul breath and feces, tongue
coating, abdominal pain and distention (aggravated by palpation,
massage or oil), intestinal gas and cramping pain, low appetite,
heaviness, weakness, slow pulse, aggravated by cloudy weather.
Treatment: mainly pungent tasting herbs, stimulants and carminatives,
along with some laxatives or purgatives to clear toxins.
VATA, NIRAMA: Indications: no constipation, no foul smell, pain mild
(relieved by touch), tongue clear, mouth dry with astringent taste, body
light, dry, with more emaciation, more tissue depletion, less fatigue.
Treatment: tonification and rejuvenation with mainly sweet and pungent
herbs to rebuild the body.