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THE YOGA OF HERBS

tract, are used mainly for obstructed Vata. Nervine and antispasmodic
herbs, herbs that help relieve muscle tension, stop spasms and nervous
tremors, are also therapeutic for obstructed Vata.
Laxative and purgative therapies are used to dispel the constipation
that so often goes with a Vata condition. They are used mainly for
obstructed Vata, but diey can gready aggravate Vata if over-used. Laxatives
which are moistening and increase bulk, like flaxseed or psyllium seeds,
are better for deficient Vata. Strong purgatives, such as rhubarb or senna,
may be necessary on a temporary basis in dealing with obstructed Vata.
But they must be used with care.
Stimulant therapies that promote digestion, appetite and the neutralization of Ama are very helpful in Vata conditions. In obstructed Vata they
remove blockages of Ama and Kapha. In deficient Vata they promote the
appetite and digestion to help rebuild the body.
Deficient Vata is treated using tonic, nutritive and rejuvenative herbal
therapy and diet. Bitter tonics of western herbology, as they possess the
same attributes of Vata, are contraindicated. Sweet demulcent and emollient herbs like licorice, slippery elm and comfrey root are the closest to
tonic, nutritive herbs in the Ayurvedic sense.
Ayurveda considers enema therapy (basti) to be the strongest therapy
for eliminating excess Vata from die body and thereby getting to the root
of all Vata disorders. In this treatment, various medicated herbal and oil
enemas are prepared under knowledgeable administration.
Ayurvedic formulas to reduce Vata often contain salt, particularly rock
salt, which is lighter than sea salt, and a very good digestive stimulant for
Vata- types.
DETOXIFICATION/MANAGEMENT OF AMA
Ama, die accumulation of toxins, undigested food or waste-materials,
complicates the treatment of the three Doshas. In general, Ama possesses
the same characteristics as Kapha; it is heavy, dense, cold and slimy, consisting largely of mucoid accretions. Yet it can be aligned with any of the
Doshas.
Doshas aligned with Ama are called "Sama" ("so" means "with" and
combined with "ama" becomes "Sama" in Sanskrit). Vata can accumulate
as gas in the large intestine and spread to the small intestine, blocking the
power of digestion, Agni, and give rise to Ama. Kapha can accumulate in

spread into the small intestine. Ama is the root of most colds. urine or feces. heavy. Agni is hot.Management of Individual Constitution 45 die stomach as mucus. which similarly gives rise to Ama. It stimulates the catabolic processes of the body wherein foreign material is broken down. burns up and eradicates Ama. and through strengthening Agni. fragrant (aromatic) and pure. For example. Such conditions are called respectively Sama Vata. Other symptoms are accumulation of waste-materials. bad breath. Undigested experiences become toxic like undigested food. composed of fire and air. tongue-coating. heaviness. bad odor of body. Pungent taste. lack of attention. deep. can block Agni by its liquidity or oiliness. malodorous and impure. . Bitter taste. As a result. loss of clarity. cloudy. Then pungent taste is used to revive the metabolism to consume the Ama and prevent it from redeveloping. Bitter taste by itself may not be sufficient to completely destroy Ama or adequately restore Agni. as well as the chronic diseases of a weak auto-immune system—these range from allergies and hay fever to asthma. Pitta can accumulate as bile in the small intestine. loss of strength. block Agni and also create Ama. Ama and Agni are opposite in properties. Symptoms of Ama include loss of taste and appetite. Negative emotions quench die mental Agtti or clarity of mind. Sama Kapha and Sama Pitta. fevers and flus. Ama arises from the holding of negative emotions. Like dry ice. irritability and obstruction of other Doshas. clear. light. from the tissues and organs wherein it is lodged. indigestion. die physical Agni is also reduced. depression. composed of air and ether. Wherever there is such evidence of Ama. tonification and rejuvenation therapies are only possible once the body is cleared of Ama. To treat Ama. it digests Ama. Usually bitter taste is used first to halt the development of Ama. arthritis and cancer. Ama is decreased by herbs that are bitter or pungent in taste. lethargy. helps separate Ama. and obstructions of channels and vessels. Psychologically. It is not possible to treat two Doshas simply and directly when they are mixed with Ama. it can help destroy Ama. heavy or dull pulse. dry. treatment must first aim at its elimination. It has the same properties as Agni. which though hot. whose quality is heavy. Ama is cold. It catalyzes and thereby relieves the fever due to this invasion of Ama into the tissues. wet. it is necessary to increase Agni.

and while normally slow in motion. SAMA: Indications: constipation. . may become stuck or immobile by Ama. We must discriminate not only the Dosha but whether it is with or without Ama (Sama or Nirama. Kapha becomes heavier. Conversely. along with some laxatives or purgatives to clear toxins. massage or oil). pain mild (relieved by touch). Ama as a primary factor in disease is behind the value and extensive usage of fasting. Astringent taste is mixed in its action on Ama. less fatigue. Treatment: mainly pungent tasting herbs. "nit" means "without"). low appetite. it is treated primarily by herbs and diet of a light nature. mucus-free diets and detoxifying therapies for many different diseases. abdominal pain and distention (aggravated by palpation. more tissue depletion. mouth dry with astringent taste. body light. Sweet taste. The turbidity. heavy and wet. NIRAMA: Indications: no constipation. VATA. stimulants and carminatives. heaviness. Pitta. becomes cooler and more wet. is cold.46 THE YOGA OF HERBS Ama is increased by substances that are sweet. Yet it can be used to help in the healing of membranes damaged by infections due to Ama. Because the properties of the Dosha are mixed with those of Ama. Often a fast is a good idea until the tongue clears or the appetite returns. stickiness and density of Ama alters the attributes of the Doshas. aggravated by cloudy weather. Vata. tongue clear. like Ama. herbs which normally aggravate a Dosha may relieve it in a Sama condition. Salty taste is also heavy and wet. dry. intestinal gas and cramping pain. slow pulse. with more emaciation. herbs which may relieve a Dosha may not be effective in a Sama condition. which is normally light and dry. VATA. weakness. As the main attribute of Ama is heaviness. tongue coating. salty or sour in taste. no foul smell. becomes heavy and damp when mixed with Ama. Its constricting effect upon the tissues and discharges may serve to hold Ama in the body. foul breath and feces. which is hot and damp. Such therapies may have benefit even when the exact constitution of the individual is not determined. Salty and sour tastes by their hot and damp properties can aggravate the fever and toxic heat of the blood that usually accompanies Ama. So it must be used as a supplement to bitter or pungent therapies.

NIRAMA: Indications: excessive appetite and thirst. bad breath. dull aching. Treatment: mainly bitter and pungent tasting herbs. tongue clear. no mucus in stools or urine. normal appetite. hot flashes. sticky or thick. giddiness.48 THE YOGA OF HERBS Treatment: tonification and rejuvenation with mainly sweet and pungent herbs to rebuild the body. bitter tonics and stimulants to clear toxins. KAPHA. threads form from saliva. low appetite. perception sharp. urine and feces clear. blocks throat. difficult breathing. Treatment: mainly pungent and bitter herbs for stimulant and decongestant action to clear toxins. After the Ama is cleared. coats tongue. yellow tongue-coating. feces and mucus yellow or green. strong burning sensations. Indications: mucus cloudy. perception cloudy. removing the excesses and tonifying the deficiencies it gives rise to. cut mucus and fat. tightness in chest. generalized pain. red or inflamed tongue without coating. Treatment: cooling and tonifying therapy with mainly sweet and bitter tasting herbs. congestion. comes out easily. SAMA. skin rash. sweet taste in mouth. heaviness. PITTA. SAMA: Indications: loss of appetite. dizziness. bitter or sour taste in mouth. NIRAMA: Indications: mucus watery. . The usual approach of Ayurveda is to change the Sama condition of a Dosha to a Nirama condition. urine. fatigue. heaviness in stomach. conditions may be aggravated by cold. mucus in stools and urine. PITTA. the Dosha can be worked on directly. sour or salty taste in mouth. KAPHA. no pain. reddish or blackish. mild burning sensation. expectorants. little thirst. does not come out easily. thick bilious vomiting. to clear out excess mucus and Kapha. liquid or frothy. Treatment: mainly pungent and sweet herbs.