Aama – Metabolic Toxicity by Dr. Christie Smirl

Ayurveda understands clearly the process of metabolic toxicity. When the body undergoes improper metabolism of food in the gastro-intestinal system, a toxic substance called aama may develop. Initially, this toxic aama will be isolated in the gut and may be excreted through the feces, but if aama continues to accumulate through abnormal diet and digestion, it will spread through the rasa (plasma) and travel to a weakened dhatus (body tissues). Aama creates the substrate for disease. For this reason, Ayurveda always targets the elimination of aama from the body during any panchakarma (detoxification) or rasayana (rejuvenation) protocol.

To better understand aama, it is important to study it’s gunas (qualities). Aama is guru (heavy), sheeta (cold), pichilla (sticky and slimy). These qualities allow aama to stick to and clog srotas (body channels). Aama will also become affiliated with imbalanced doshas, whether vata, pitta or kapha. This dhatu and dosha – aama association will determine the disease pathway, location and symptoms.

Take a moment to read my article on Ayurvedic basics to become more familiarized with Ayurvedic terms and concepts.

Signs and symptoms of aama accumulation

  • Bad breath
  • Foul smelling flatulence or feces
  • Indigestion
  • Sinus, throat, chest congestion
  • Constipation, diarrhea, bloating or gas
  • Under the eye/facial puffiness
  • Feeling sluggish and heavy
  • Poor appetite
  • Mental confusion or irritation
  • Skin blemishes
  • Fever
  • Weight gain
  • Stiffness, soreness or other aches and pains
  • Low of energy
  • Anxiety, depression or worry
  • Poor immunity
  • Frequent infections
  • Thick tongue coating

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Causes of aama accumulation

  • Eating after dark
  • Sleeping after a meal
  • Overeating
  • Improper food combining such as mixing
    • Diary with meat
    • Dairy with fruit
    • Eggs with dairy, meat or bananas
    • Fruit combined with any other foods
    • Melons combined with any other fruit or food
    • Nightshades with dairy
  • Eating unripe foods
  • Eating too rich of foods
  • Consuming cooked honey
  • Eating stale foods or leftovers
  • Low agni (digestive power)
  • Eating during emotional distress
  • Weather changes
  • Lack of activity
  • Improper panchakarma

The Ayurvedic treatment of aama is multifaceted and should be done only under the supervision of a Ayurvedic doctor or certified Ayurvedic practitioner. Treatment usually involves the following

  • Dietary modifications
  • Lifestyle modifications
  • Exercise modifications
  • Langhana (depleting therapy or fasting)
  • Deepana herbal therapy to restore agni (digestive fire)
  • Pachana herbal therapy to reduce aama.
    • Triphala is a pachana herbal combination that has been used in Ayurveda for thousands of year to balance vata, pitta and kapha as well as reduce aama. Here is an article I wrote about Triphala if you’de like to learn more.

Health and longevity depends on diet, lifestyle, agni, dosha balance and dhatu strength. Ayurveda treats the entire body, mind and spirit to achieve the fullest well being. To learn more about the Ayurvedic Yoga Awakening Training Program, Holistic Health Advisor Program and Ayurveda visit HealthierVibrations.com. There are free education videos there to get started.

Dr. Christie Smirl has over 25 years of medical experience. She completed a Doctorate of Ayurvedic Medicine from American University of Complimentary Medicine as well as Nurse Practitioner and Master of Science from Loma Linda University. Dr. Christie is also an E-RYT 500 Yoga Teacher Trainer YACEP, Reiki Master/Teacher, Tantric Energy Healer and Musician.

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