Concept of Ama in Ayurvedic Samhita

The term Ama generally refers to unripe and partially digested food that is harmful for body. The main cause of genesis of Ama is faulty digestive mechanism at G.I.T level.

Nirukti of Ama:

Ama denotes a substance or group of substances which means “near to poison” or that acts like poison. The term Ama is derived as follows:

According to Amarkosha:

The word “Am” when combined with “Nichpratayay, forms the word Ama which refers to substances subjected to digestion.

The substance which is harmful for Srotas or damages it is known as Ama.

According to Vachaspatya

The word Ama is derived from “AmDhatu with the suffix “a”, which means improper or partially digested matter.

Acharya Charak has not mentioned direct reference of Ama but while describing the pathogenesis of Grahani Roga, an indirect reference of Ama is available.

It means that due to Nidana Sevana when Agni is vitiated it becomes incapable of digesting the ingested food, and this indigested food after fermentation turns into poisonous material.

Definition of Ama

Due to poor strength of KayAgni, leads to improper formation of Adhya Ahara Dhatu (Rasa Dhatu) in Amashaya which is known as Ama.

Due to improper functioning of Agni, the part of Ahara Rasa which remains undigested is known as Ama. This Ama is responsible for production of all the diseases.

Some authors explained Ama as Apakva Anna Rasa, while some opines that it is accumulation of Mala. And some portrays it as first stage of vitiation of Dosha.

Acharya Vagbhatta has defined Ama as the undigested and vitiated Rasa which is formed by the undigested Adhya Dhatu, due to poor strength of Ushma (JatharAgni).

Swaroopa of Ama:

In this definition the nature and symptoms produced by Ama have been described. Ama is the substance which remain Avipakva (undigested), Asamyukta (disintegrated), Durgandhi (foul smelling), Bahu (excessive in quantity), Picchala (slimy in nature) and causes Sadana (stiffness) of whole body.

Formation of Ama:

The main causative factor for production of Ama is Mandagni at different levels. So Ama can be classified into following types:

Agnimandyajanya Ama: it can further be classified as follows:

a. Jatharagnimandya
b. Bhutagnimandya
c. Dhatwagnimandya
d. Malasamchaya rupa Ama.

1. Jatharagnimandya: Acharya Vagbhatta explained that when the normal functioning of Jatharagni gets impaired due to any cause, it leads to indigestion of food and there is formation of improper Ahara Rasa Dhatu and give rise to Ama. The effect of Ama can manifest in following ways.

a. Movement of Ama towards Mukha or Guda may lead to Chhardi or Atisara respectively. Moreover if Ama moves to both sides simultaneously it may cause Visuchika.

b. Ama has the property of Guruta and Picchilata, due to which it produces Srotorodha in Grahani and gets stagnant instead of getting absorbed. This stagnant Ama, does not propel and is termed as Alasaka.

c. The abnormal Adhya Rasa Dhatu formed due to Jatharagni Mandya, undergoes fermentation in the Amashaya and thus stimulating virulent form of Visha by the Vikruti Vishesha Samaveta process. At this stage the properties of Ama are similar to those of Visha and thus it gets quickly absorbed and circulates throughout the body causing severe diseases like Dandalasaka.

2. Bhutagnimandya: The formation of Ama due to the hypo functioning of Bhutagni is called Bhutagnimandyajanita Ama. However, in Ayurvedic texts no reference regarding the role of Bhutagnijanita Ama in Amavata is found but Jatharagni acts on Bhutagni.

3. Dhatwagnimandya: Dhatwagni is that part of Pachakagni or Jathragni, which is present in Dhatus and helps in their formation. Each Dhatu has separate Dhatwagni.

Any disturbance in Jathargni also affects the Dhatwagni. This causes improper formation and functioning of Dhatus and production of Ama. The Dhatus mixed with Ama are called as Samadhatu. In case of Amavata Dhatwagnimandya is mainly followed by Jatharagnimandya.

4. Malasamchaya Janya Ama:

According to Madhavakara, Ama is accumulation of Mala in the body. As per Ayurveda concept, Mala are of two types i.e Sthula Mala and Sukshma Mala. The excess quantity of these Malas causes adverse effects on the digestion and metabolism and may be acclaimed as Ama.

Guna of Ama:

Picchilata – Apicchilata
Aneka varna
Visha sadrisha lingam

Nidana of Ama:

It can be categorized into following criteria:

1. Aharajanya Nidana
2. Viharajanya Nidana
3. Manasika Nidana
4. Mithyopacharajanha Nidana

Table No. 1: Showing Nidana leading to Ama formation

Aharajanya Nidana

Viharajanya Nidana

Manasika Nidana

Mithyopacharajanha Nidana

Intake of Atimatra Ahara,

Fasting for long time.

Untimely ingestion of Annapana

Excessive drinking of water

Excessive intake of Guru, Ruksha, Sheeta Ahara

Dvishta, Vishtambhi, Vidahi, Ashuchi, Viruddha Ahara.

Asatmya Ahara

Vega Sandharana, Swapna Viparyaya (day sleep and awakening at night)

If a person, afflicted with Irshya, Bhaya, Krodha, Lobha,

Shoka, Dainya, Dvesha, Kama, Moha, Lajja, Mana, Udvega etc. takes food, his Agni can not digest it properly and produces Ama.

Incorrect management of Vamana, Virechana or Snehapana, incompatibility of season may produce Ama

Samprapti of Ama:

Acharya Vagbhtta has explained that Sama is the term rendered to the TriDosha, Sapta Dhatus and Mala when they gets afflicted by Ama produced in Amashaya. Diseases which arise in consequence are also termed as Sama type of disease. Ama is capable to vitiate Dosha, Dhatu Mala and produce the disease. Sama Dosha can spread to all RogAmarga and can move from Shakha to Koshtha and vice versa. Ama circulates in the body along with Rasa Dhatu and accumulates in place where Kha Vaigunya is present and produces the disease.

Disease production by Ama:

Due to Agni Dushti at level of Jatahragni, Bhutagni or Dhatwagni, Ama is produced. This Ama gets mixed with Dosha, Dushya and Mala. It circulates in all Srotasa and accumulates at the place of Khavaigunya and thereby produces disease. The impaired Vatadi Doshas being mixed up with one another lead to the formation of Ama is very much like the yielding of Visha by the spoilt Kodrava

Table No.2: Showing Lakshana of Ama:

General symptoms

Samavata symptoms

1. Srotorodha (obstruction of body channels)

2. Balabhramsha (general weakness)

3. Gaurava (feeling of heaviness of the body)

4. Anila Mudhata (impaired activity of Vata Dosha)

5. Alasya (laziness)

6. Apakti (indigestion)

7. Nishthiva (excessive salivation)

8. Malasanga (constipation)

9. Aruchi (anorexia)

10. Klama (Lethargy)

1. Agnivaishamya - Irregular digestion.

2. Anaha - Retention of stool and gases

3. Shula - Colic pain

4. Angamarda - Body ache

5. Bhrama - Giddiness, Vertigo

6. Murchcha – Fainting

7. Kati graham- Parshva-prishtha- Stiffness of flanks, back and Waist

8. Sirakunchana - Constriction of vessels

9. Stambha - Stiffness (Ch. Vi. 2/7)

Vagbhata added

1. Tandra – Drowsiness

2. Staimitya - Feeling wetness

3. Gaurava – Heaviness

4. Snigdhata – Unctuousness

5. Aruchi – Anorexia

6. Alasya – Laziness

7. Shaitya – Coolness

8. Shopha – Oedema

9. Agnihani - Hypo-functioning of digestion (A.H. Ni. 16/29)

Characteristics of Sama, Nirama Dosha:

It was mentioned earlier that Dosha, Dhatu and Mala afflicted with Ama are termed as Sama Dosha, Sama Dhatu and Sama Mala. It is important to have knowledge of Sama and Nirama condition for the planning of treatment and therapies.

Table No.3: Showing Characterisitics of Sama and Nirama Dosha


Sama Avastha

Nirama Avastha


Agnisada, Vivandha, Sthambha,

Antrakujana, Vedana, Sopha, Toda,

Angapida, Snehadai Vriddhi,

Meghodaye Vriddhi, Nisi Vriddhi


- Sarti, Adhmana, Asamchara (A.S)

Vishada, Ruksha, Nirvivandha, Alpa Vedana, ShAmana In Snidgdha Upachara (A.H)


Durgandha, Harita Syava Varna,

Ghana, Guru, Amla, Kantha Hrit

Dahakrit, (A.H)

- Durgandha, Asita, Bahala (A.S)

Atamra Varna, Peeta Varna, Atyushna, Vivandhi, KatuRasa, Asthira, Vigandhi, Pakwa, Balakari, Ruchi (A.H)


Avila, Tantula, Styana, Durgandhi,

Stick To Kantha, Kshut Udgarkrit

(A.H) Pralepi, Picchila

Phenila, Pindita, Pandu, Agandhita, Vaktra Sodhaka Nisara, Chhedi (A.H)

Visada, Dhavala, Madhura Rasa (A.S)


More by :  Dr. Rachana Tiwari

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Views: 3557      Comments: 1

Comment Nice compilation ..

Dr Rahul T P
18-Apr-2020 02:35 AM

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