Ayurveda > Ayurvedic Treatment > Ashtang-Ayurved: Ama
By Dr. Satish Kulkarni
According to Ayurveda, every disease is
a result of the accumulation of
toxins (ama) in the body. Ama
is the basic internal cause which
initiates disease, helps in
establishing it and hampers body
mechanism if not tackled in time.
balance of the three basic
is the natural order in the state of
health (prakruti). When this
balance is disturbed, it creates a
state of ill health (vikruti).
health depends on the body fire (agni).
If the body fire is in a properly
maintained condition, if it is at an
optimum level, then vaat-pitta-kafa
are in balanced state, body tissues (dhatus)
are in order and waste products are
or contradictory diet, habits that
are injurious to health,
faulty life style, seasonal changes
above human limits, mental and/or
physical stress and strain beyond
personal capacity all act as trigger
factors for creating an imbalance in
the three body constituents. This
further leads to derangement in body
tissues (dhatus), which
produces toxins (ama) by
affecting the body fire (agni).
is circulated through out the body
and accumulates in body tissues (dhatus).
It also chokes body channels (strotasa).
This leads to the irritable body
syndrome, which is a prerequisite of
disease. When ama establishes
itself in the body, it starts
affecting the body and mind
structurally and functionally and
ultimately results in disease.
tries to eliminate ama from
the body by natural ways and means.
However, if it is beyond the capacity
of nature then the body succumbs to
disease and ultimately to death.
scholars suggest that if we take due
care like proper diet suitable to
aggrieved dosha, if we shift
to an appropriate life style (for
example start exercising), if we
change our social and personal
hazardous habits, then we can
definitely restore good health again.
If disease has crossed the above
limits then we should use the ayurvedic
body+mind treatments like soothing (shaman)
or thorough cleansing (shodhan).
is used when ama accumulation
has not reached the stage of disease
and is still in the acute stage. Shodhan
is used when the body has reached the
diseased condition and has started
showing signs and symptoms of
disease. Shaman is a milder
procedure than shodhan. Shaman
can be started anytime when needed
where as shodhan needs body
includes medicinal oil massage (snehan)
and artificially induced medicated
sweating (swedan). These
procedures help in liquefying the ama
that is accumulated. These prepare
the body for the removal of ama.
This is essential for effective shodhan.
includes procedures like induced
vomiting (vaman), bowel
cleaning with oral medicines (virechan),
monitored rectal enema (basti),
approaching disease through the nose
(nasya) and an attempt to
remove bad blood (raktamoksha).
summarize, the body tries to maintain
a state of health under normal
circumstances. If circumstantial
changes go beyond the bodys
capacity, accumulation of ama
starts. The body then tries to
reestablish a state of health on its
own but if it fails to do so due to
any reason, ayurvedic
procedures like shaman and shodhan
can help in achieving the goal of