The 4 types of toxins according to Ayurveda

According to Ayurveda, autumn and spring are the best times of the year to perform a Ritucharya (an Ayurvedic seasonal detox of body and mind). With autumn coming I would like to share with you some knowledge about ama (poisons or toxins) and the 4 forms of ama.

Ama is  undigested food that accumulates as toxins in your digestive system. In the Shaka Vansiya Ayurveda tradition, a distinction is made between 4 forms of ama.

Ama is a Sanskrit word that literally translates to “unripe,” “uncooked,” “raw,” or “undigested.” To some extent, the formation of small amounts of ama is a normal part of the digestive process, provided it is efficiently removed. But if not eliminated regularly, ama becomes hugely problematic. Ama could therefore be translated as toxins. So ama can be undigested food that remains in your digestive system if your digestive system is not working properly or if you do not eat at the right times.

Ama can be caused by:

  • Too much food
  • Food before the previous meal is digested
    eating large meals at night
  • Ice drinks and cold meals
  • Food that is not fresh, pure and organic.
  • Eating without full attention at meals; watching TV or reading.
  • Eating too fast
  • Eating while emotionally distressed

Ama can also ferment and clog the intestines. If you don’t do anything about it, it will spread to your organs, joints and other tissues.  Besides undigested food as toxin we can distinguish 3 other forms.

The 4 forms of ama
1. Ama, from improper digestion of food and improper absorption into the cells.

2. Ama visha, which comes from ama fermentation in our channels. When ama gets stuck in our digestive tract, it starts to ferment and becomes ama visha. Visha means “poison”; ama visha is much more dangerous than ama as it is now acidic and can penetrate deep into the body causing rashes, inflammation, autoimmune diseases and even cancer. Ama visha is a very hot poison, so this must be extracted with the help of cooling spices and herbs.

3. Gara visha, While ama and ama visha are formed from the improper combustion of food in the body, gara visha comes from environmental xenobiotics such as air pollution, pesticides, pharmaceutical and nutraceutical agents, artificial sweeteners, additives and preservatives in our food and synthetic skin care products that we apply to our bodies. These toxins can find their way into deep levels of the body, including the bone marrow, causing autoimmune diseases and cancer. Gara visha has a hot acidic nature so like ama visha it can cause a rash on the skin if it comes out through the sweat pores. So we have to be very careful when pulling it out as it can rupture the physical channels along the way through the stool, urine and sweat.

3. Indravajraabhijanya visha, which comes from electromagnetic radiation comes from electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) and radiation emitted by: cell phones, computers, X-rays, cell phone towers, and Wi-Fi. EMFs mix with prana and are delivered to all organs, glands and systems through the vibrational channels. Since it is prana that gives cells the intelligence to perform all their functions, this type of toxin can cause cancer if cellular functions are disrupted.

It should be clear that when there is ama in one of the four forms or more forms, it is very desirable to be able to cleanse the body so that the body can function optimally. We would prefer to avoid it, of course.

What are signs and symptoms of ama?

  • Clogging of the channels (may cause symptoms like sinus congestion, lymph congestion, constipation, fibrocystic changes, etc.)
  • Fatigue
  • Heaviness
  • Abnormal flow of vata (there are many ways this can manifest in the body, but examples include excess upward moving energy causing heartburn or excess downward moving energy causing diarrhea)
  • Indigestion
  • Stagnation
  • Abnormal taste, muted taste, or poor appetite
  • Sexual debility
  • Mental confusion
  • Feeling unclean

Do you want to know more about Ama in your body and what first steps you can take to cleanse the body? Let me know using the form below and I will contact you to schedule a free 30-minute online consultation.


Riim Lagerwerf

It is my mission to inspire and guide you to calm the mind, relax and connect. Through a holistic approach with Ayurveda and Yoga, I am grateful to empower you to achieve and maintain optimal health and well-being.

Riim has been teaching yoga since 2011 and meditation since 2017. She is founder of LINgGAN Yoga Studio (afterwards saktiisha yoga) in The Hague and SankalpaYogi in Suriname.
Sankalpa Holistic Health was founded in 2014.

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