From Impaired Digestion to Chronic Disease: The Ayurvedic View of Ama and Its Stages

What is Ama ?

Ayurveda is a well-documented system of healthcare in India that is taught through recognized university systems and rigorous clinical training. It is a personalized approach to health that considers individual differences in body type, or "prakriti," and the accumulation of toxins or "ama" in the body. Ayurveda has gained popularity worldwide as a traditional and complementary approach for complete health (Ghildiyal et al., 2020). Ayurveda emphasizes the use of natural remedies, including herbs, diet, and lifestyle changes, to promote health and prevent disease. One of the key concepts in Ayurveda is the concept of "ama."

Āma is a concept in Ayurveda that refers to the impaired process of digestion and metabolism that leads to the buildup of toxic by-products that cannot be eliminated by the body. It is not a single entity or substance but a systemic process that extends to metabolic and other physiological processes in the body.

According to Ayurveda, there are three viewpoints on Āma: it is the by-product of impaired digestion, the accumulation of un-expelled wastes in the body, and the first expression of aberrations in the physiological processes of the body. Āma is also the precursor of inflammatory, degenerative, and infective processes that eventually manifest as full-fledged diseases.

Phases of Ama

Āma undergoes various transformations in the process of developing into full-fledged diseases. The stages can be visualized as follows: formative phase, interactive phase, phase of disease manifestation, phase of complications, and phase of resolution. If treated in early stages, it is possible to interfere with the degenerative, inflammatory, and other progressive pathologies for early prevention of disease such as Rheumatoid arthritis, Hyperlipidemia, Cardiac diseases, Autoimmune diseases etc.

Assesment of Ama


If ama is identified, Ayurvedic practitioners may recommend a range of treatments to help remove the toxins from the body and restore balance. These treatments may include dietary changes, herbal remedies, massage, and other forms of bodywork.

There are specific interventions in more active stages of the progression of Āma, which include Laṇghana, Laṇghana Pācana, and Śodhana. Laṇghana involves restriction of nutritional intake, even to the extent of complete fasting to rest the digestive and metabolic apparatuses of the body. Laṇghana Pācana involves prescribing active medications that neutralize and transform the Āma by digesting and metabolizing it, so it is rendered inactive. Specific medicines are to be used depending upon the type of Āma. Śodhana is a purification process that removes the Āmadoṣa from the body altogether.

Research Evidences

Recent studies have shown that Ayurvedic treatments, including those aimed at reducing ama, may have potential health benefits. For example, a randomized controlled trial conducted in India found that an Ayurvedic treatment program that included dietary changes, herbal remedies, and yoga, resulted in significant improvements in body weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels in overweight individuals (Mani et al., 2015). Another study conducted in the United States found that an Ayurvedic dietary intervention resulted in significant improvements in markers of inflammation and oxidative stress in healthy individuals (Sharma et al., 2015).

While Ayurveda has been practiced for centuries and has gained popularity in recent years, it is important to note that it is not a substitute for modern medical care. It is always important to consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle.

Further Reading

·         Mani, R., Nambi, R., Sharma, R., Vedanthan, R., Roy, A., Balachander, J., ... & Reddy, K. S. (2015). Effect of yogic practices on lipid profile and body composition in overweight and obese individuals in a rural south Indian population. Journal of Ayurveda and integrative medicine, 6(1), 20-26.

·         Sharma, H., Clark, C., & Wiener, J. (2015). Dietary recommendations for clients receiving Ayurvedic treatments in the United States. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 21(2), 36-44.

·         Pathyashi. (n.d.). Ama Assessment Scale. Retrieved from

·         Manohar PR. Critical review and validation of the concept of Āma. Anc Sci Life. 2012 Oct;32(2):67-8. doi: 10.4103/0257-7941.118524. PMID: 24167329; PMCID: PMC3807959.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shopping Cart