The Sanskrit name for disease in Ayurveda i
s ‘Amaya’ which means something derived from ‘ama’ – the unwanted or unprocessed.
he other hand the name for the field of general medicine is ‘kayachikitsa’ where kaya is a synonym of agni or fire.
This underlines the importance of ama and agni in the whole disease and treatment process of Ayurveda.
Basically, anything unwanted, unprocessed, raw or undigested in the body is ama.
It carries a huge significance in modern day as a lot enters our body which it cannot process. Once this unprocessed element enters the blood or lymph it is carried into the deeper tissues. Here it finds a new home.
A lot of modern day disorders are attributed to inflammation. When something unprocessed is lurking in the body, its natural reaction is to try to process it to get rid of it. This is achieved by the white blood cells trying to attack this ama as it is perceived to be a foreign body .The result of this attack is an inflammatory reaction. Its the agni in the body trying to fight ama. So while the modern day chemical drugs try to fight inflammation and attribute the whole array of symptoms to this inflammation, the real culprit that is playing behind the scenes is ama.
Ayurveda addresses this issue deeply.
The best medicines in such a situation are bitter herbs. Bitter taste in Ayurveda is known to balance high Pitta and Kapha doshas. In this case Pitta dosha is represented by inflammation and Kapha is the ama. So bitters are anti inflammatory as well as anti ‘ama’, thus addressing the root cause of the disease.
Thousands of years ago Charaka described that ama is produced inside the body due to low metabolic fire or agni. But today we not only produce ama inside us but also consume a lot of ama from outside. For eg. foodstuff fried in refined vegetable oils is nothing but ama as it cannot be processed by the body. These kinds of ama foods were not prevalent in Charaka’s times. This ama is like a wanderer and has nowhere to go as no tissue is ready to accept it. So it ends up sticking to the walls of the capillaries known as plaques. These plaques are nothing but ama – soft and sticky .
Unprocessed blood sugar sticks to insulin hormonal receptors, jams these receptors resulting in insulin resistance. These jammed hormonal receptors are nothing but sites of ama. They cause blockage of hormonal action referred to in Ayurveda as anil mudhata or blockage of vata. As the sugar in the blood is unable to reach the tissues there will be ‘alasya’ or lethargy.
Another way to understand ama is to picture the bile sludge formed again as a result of eating lot of processed oils. Bile sludge or dirty bile is sticky, soft, messy – just another representation of ama. This bile does not come out in the stools but is recirculated again and again, referred to in Ayurveda as malasanga or accumulation of impurities in the body. With passage of time this bile sludge leads to the formation of bile stones.
Build up of sticky fatty cellulite is another example of ama. This cellulite blocks the nutritional healthy fats being carried by the lymphatic tissue. As a result the person will have low energy referred to as balabhransha or lack of capacity to exercise.
Big molecules of glutein protein entering the lymphatic tissue and causing various inflammatory reactions is yet another modern day ama.
Remaining sedentary breeds ama and ama breeds inflammation. So exercise is a great way to get rid of ama. The movement causes ama to be burnt and as a result the hormonal receptors will be freed and there will be a balanced movement of vata in the system.