Qualities And Symptoms Of Ama – Ama Guna Lakshana

Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S


When the digestive fire present in the stomach is weak it cannot digest the food which we consume. Incompletely digested essence of such food i.e. immature digestive juices (apakva ahara rasa) formed after incomplete digestion, left over in the stomach will be called ama. 

When these immature digestive juices are stagnated for longer duration it acquires shukti bhava or sourness due to decay and fermentation.

This ama gets absorbed into the system and is put into circulation. It reaches the channels (srotas) and tissues and causes blocks. Due to these blocks the body components are depleted of nutrition and essential elements which cause severe tissue damage leading to various diseases, loss of strength and immunity.

This ama very quickly acquires the form of poison and troubles the body with wide array of diseases. Therefore it is called as amavisha.
Related Reading – Ama, derivation, meaning and definition

Ama Guna, Lakshana

Ama Guna, Lakshanas – properties and symptoms of ama
Avipakvam – As the improperly digested food (avipakva) forms ama, ama is also in the avipakva (improperly digested or incompletely formed or immature form).

Asamyuktam – Ama is a non-homogenous compound of food. Due to its non-homogeneity, it is not accepted by the body cells. It is neither absorbed nor processed nor it becomes compatible to the body, in fact it becomes toxic and hazardous  to the body.

Durgandham – ama is foul smelling in nature. This foul smell is because it is an unprocessed form of digestive juice. The retention of this unprocessed digestive juices in the stomach for long duration cause fermentation. This fermentation of unprocessed form of digestive juices gives ama the foul smell.

Pichchila / bahu pichcihlam – ama is sticky in nature. Due to this nature it adheres to the walls of the cells and channels of the body and causes blocks in them.

Dravam – Ama is in the form of liquid state. Ama is defined as improperly processed digested juices of the food. Since digestive juices is in the liquid state, the unprocessed digestive juices or ama too is in the form of liquid.

Guru – ama is heavy in nature. Generally the term heavy in terms of food or byproducts of food is explained in the meaning of it being difficult to digest. Since ama is heavy in nature, we shall consider that it cannot be taken into the cells (non-permeable) and even if they are taken or absorbed into the cells they are not transformed or digested. This happens due to the weakness of tissue fire. The ama has acquired heavness because the food is not properly digested due to the weakness of digestive fire.

Snigdha – ama is unctuous in nature and is very similar to fat and kapha in appearance.

Tantumad – ama has thready appearance just like kapha. The appearance of tantu and presence of slimy property also shows that ama is not totally a liquid but may have a consistency in between liquidity and semi-liquidity, somewhat gelatinous.

Aneka Varna / Nana varna – Ama has various colors. This occurs due to the association of ama with the doshas (sama doshas). Ama may get brownish or black color due to its association with vata, yellow or reddish color due to its association with pitta and white color due to its association with kapha. When ama is associated with two or three doshas, it will gain mixed colors (the term varna may also represent not only colors but many types of pathological manifestations of ama due to its admixture or vicious combination with doshas and other elements of the body).

Srotamsi abhishyandayati – when ama is contaminated and combined with vata, pitta and kapha, it blocks all the channels and ducts of the body and nutrition to the tissues and organs of the body due to interruption of transportation mechanism of the body (which takes place through the channels).

Sadanam sarva gatrani – ama causes severe debility in the entire body and body parts. This happens due to the multiple blocks caused by ama. Due to the blockage of the channels, the entire body gets depleted of nutrition and hence manifests debility.

Anubaddha shulam – wherever ama is stagnated it causes pain and discomfort. Therefore manifestation pain is one of the characteristic features and symptoms of the presence of ama.

Hetuh sarva roganam – ama is the causative factor of many systemic diseases. One of the synonyms of disease is amaya which means ‘that which is caused by ama’.

Visha sadrusha lingatvat (Cha.Vi.2/12) – ama has similar properties and manifestations as that of visha or poison. Over a period of time, ama becomes poison in the body, causing serious life threatening diseases and complications. Therefore ama is also called amavisha.

Ashu karitva (cha.vi.2/12) – ama is quick acting and quick spreading, therefore it quickly afflicts the body and causes serious ailments just like the quick action of poison.
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