Concept of Ama in Ayurveda


  • Ama means unripe, uncooked, immature and undigested.  In the context of medicine, it refers to events that follow and factors which arise, as a consequence of the impaired functioning of Kayagni.

  • The main factor concerned in the production of ama is mandagni and the impairment of the mechanism responsible for the secretion of the digestive juices. It is in this state that the foods ingested produce Ama.

Etiological Factors:

Dietetic indiscretions and emotional stresses which contribute to the formation of Ama are:

  • The ingestion of food containing articles which are incompatible to one another
  • The ingestion of heavy or indigestible articles of food.
  • Over-eating
  • The ingestion of foods for which one has an aversion or the consumption of foods which are disgusting
  • The ingestion of foods which produce distension of abdomen
  • The consumption of raw and uncooked foods
  • The eating of foods which are too cold
  • The use of foods which are irritating and capable of causing inflammation of the stomach and intestine
  • The consumption of unclean and contaminated/infected food
  • The eating of dry, fryed or dehydrated food-stuffs
  • The use of foods soaked in too much of water(possibly for long durations of time)
  • Intense emotional stresses such as grief, rage, worry, fear-complex etc.
  • Hunger and irregular diet-habits

Formation Of AMA:

Arising out of the factors mentioned above, the events mentioned below may be visualised;

Dietetic indiscretions and emotional stresses may, between them, impair the effective functioning of the neuro-humoral mechanisms responsible for ensuring proper secretion of the digestive juices, the disturbances of the pH in the gastro-intestinal environment and, more often sluggish and, sometimes, hyper-motility of the stomach and intestine.

  • Then follows changes which the ingested food-materials undergo, in consequence of:

i. The hypo-secretion of digestive juices.

ii. Retarded or sluggish gastro-intestinal motility, leading among other things to the fermentation-shuktata or shukta-paka, the production of foul odour(durgandhata) and extreme pastiness bahu-pichchilatva. Fermentation may relate to the starch or carbohydrate components of the food and, foul odour and extreme pastiness to the putrefaction of the protein components. The outcome of these change, is stated to usher in a severe toxic state—visharupataam.

  • The gastrointestinal disturbances which may be followed by metabolic disturbances, which latter may arise either due to toxic states(especially, metabolic histotoxic anoxia) or mal-nutritional states-acute to begin with-may tend to become chronic. The syndrome may arise, in consequence, may be characterised truly as Sama.

  • The term mala sanchay used to designate ama and sama, is significant. The term mala used here, has two implications viz., the egest and the by-products of metabolism i.e., metabolic waste products, malas not properly eliminated or utilised in the body economy.

Acute disorders of the alimentary system due to ama may take the one or the other of the following forms:

Amajirna(kaphaj)       Vidagdhajirna(pittaj)       Vishtabdhajirna(vataj)

Visuchika                               Vilambika                                Alasak

(acute gastro-enteritis)   (gastro-intestinal stasis)          (meteorism)

  • Among the subacute or chronic conditions-both gastro-intestinal and metabolic-as may occur in a kind of chain sequence, the following may be mentioned:

  1. Grahani dosha(functional impairment of grahani)
  2. Udararog viz., yakrutodar(liver damage and hepatic diseases); Jalodar(ascites)
  3. Shoth(edema)
  4. Pandu(anemia)
  5. Prameha(polyuria, diabetes melliyus in special)
  6. Amavat(rheumatism)

 Courtesy: Digestion and Metabolism in Ayurveda By Dr. C. Dwarkanath