How to Tell if You Have Ama

Ayurveda talks a lot about ama — toxins that build up in the body due to an improper diet or lifestyle or pollution and provide a fertile breeding ground for disease. Ama clogs the channels of the body, preventing nutrients from being delivered efficiently to the cells and preventing wastes from being discharged efficiently from the body.

Say the authors of the new book "The Answer to Cancer": "If you were to take all the 'bad stuff' circulating in the body and lump it together with a single name, that would be ama. It's germs. It's partially-digested food. It's oxidized LDL (the bad cholesterol)...Ama is the forerunner of all disease. If you have enough of it, you will get sick. The less of it you have, the healthier you are."

So how do you tell if you have ama? In "The Answer to Cancer," authors Sharma and Meade lay out a simple questionnaire, which we reproduce here, with permission from SelectBooks, Inc.:

To find out how much ama your body has, complete the following test from the book:

The Answer to Cancer — Ama Questionnaire

Circle your response (1 = least; 5 = most)

  1. I tend to feel blocked in my body (constipated, congested in the head, general lack of clarity, or other).
    1 2 3 4 5
  2. In the morning when I wake up, I'm groggy; it takes me quite a while to feel really awake.
    1 2 3 4 5
  3. I tend to feel weak, physically, for no reason that I can see.
    1 2 3 4 5
  4. I get colds (or similar conditions) several times each year.
    1 2 3 4 5
  5. My body tends to have a feeling of heaviness.
    1 2 3 4 5
  6. I just tend to feel that "something isn't working right" in the body (digestion, breathing, bowel movements, or something else).
    1 2 3 4 5
  7. I tend to feel lazy. (My capacity to work seems all right, but I have no inclination.)
    1 2 3 4 5
  8. I commonly have indigestion.
    1 2 3 4 5
  9. I often have to spit.
    1 2 3 4 5
  10. Often, I just don't have a taste for food. I have no appetite.
    1 2 3 4 5
  11. I just tend to feel tired, even mind or body.
    1 2 3 4 5

Add up your scores to arrive at a rating for your level of ama:

  • 45-55 Severe
  • 35-45 Moderate
  • 25-35 Mild
  • 11-25 Minimal

Note: Ama Questionnaire reprinted with permission from SelectBooks, Inc.

Reducing Ama

If you've discovered you have a lot of ama in your physiology, you might want to schedule a wellness appointment with an ayurvedic expert, who will lay out an individualized program to clear the ama out.

Following an ama-reducing diet and lifestyle and periodic internal cleansing with a Maharishi Ayurveda detox formulation such as Elim-Tox-O can help flush the ama out and prevent more from building up. Here is an ama-reducing spice water recipe from our ayurvedic expert, co-author of The Answer to Cancer:

Ama Pachana Spice Water

The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.