School of Ayurvedic Diet & Digestion

School of Ayurvedic Diet & Digestion

Joyful Belly Menu


Print Toxic
Share on Social Media
Share Content with Friends & Clients

Click one of the buttons above, or cut and paste the following link to share this page with your network. This link will automatically track your referrals to Joyful Belly:

Share URL for Toxic

Copy Link

About Sharing Content & Referrals.

Reported by John Immel, Asheville, NC
Balance My Toxic Condition $15.95 Browse RecipesToxic Stats

Balance My Toxic Condition

Get the 45 minute presentation 'Balance My Toxic Condition' given by Joyful Belly founder and director John Immel. This presentation will show you Ayurvedic essentials on fixing this imbalance, including diet, lifestyle, and herbal tips from Ayurveda. Price: $15.95



Vata aggravating Pitta aggravating Kapha aggravating

Elements: Air, Fire, Water, Earth
Balanced by 'Hot', 'Light', 'Dry'.
A substance that causes toxicity in the body, or that harms the body.

How to Cleanse Toxicity and Ama with Ayurveda

Is your blood toxic? Toxins come from many sources: your body, food, bacteria, and the environment (see a list). Cells in your body constantly produce waste that must be filtered and drained from your body. When your lymphatic system is congested or your circulation poor, the natural process of eliminating toxins may be compromised. Similarly, if you are constipated, have trouble sweating, are dehydrated, or your kidneys don't produce enough urine, toxins may accumulate.

Certain foods may contain toxins in them, just like the air we breath. More often the biggest source of toxins from food is indigestion. Undigested food lingers and rots in your intestines due to fermentation by bacteria and gut flora such as cloistridia. These bacteria produce waste products such as phenols, indols, and ammonia, from digestion of proteins specifically. The 20th century Russian scientist and Nobel laureate Elie Metchnikoff proposed this process of "intestinal auto-intoxication", was responsible for the aging process. The volume of toxins created from indigestion puts it at the center of an unwell body and mind.

Bacteria, wherever they reside in your body, create toxins. A sinus infection, yeast infection, toe fungus, or jock itch may each and all be responsible for an abundance of toxins in your blood stream. Eating too much fats, sugar, salt, or of any one type of food can also cause an excess of a particular nutrient in the blood, also considered toxic in Ayurveda. Even your own hormones, if they remain unprocessed, can represent a toxic buildup. Ayurveda has a special name for all these different types of toxins, called ama.

Types of Ama

  • Sometimes, ama is heavy and oily. This type of ama is Kapha ama and is often caused by rich, heavy foods and low metabolism. When you have an excess of Kapha ama, you feel tired, sluggish, and have a foggy mind.

  • Sometimes ama is hot and fiery. This type of ama is Pitta ama and is caused by liver excess, infection, Candida, and fermentation in the gut. This type of ama makes you feel irritated, swollen, inflamed, hot, and itchy.

  • Other times ama makes you feel jittery, scattered, and hyper. This type of ama is Vata ama and is also caused by fermentation in the gut, caffeine, or a rough, scattered lifestyle.

While there are many different types of ama out there, most are easy to eliminate. Some toxins however, tend to get stuck. The plaque on your teeth is an example. If left unchecked it becomes tartar which then further develops into infection and decay. The toxins in your blood form a plaque-like paste, congestion your lymphatic system, and clogging your arteries. If left unchecked, toxins cause myriad health problems, depending upon where they are lodged. The toxins that tend to get stuck in your body have special properties. They are usually sticky, heavy, gooey, and cold in nature. Hot toxins are too stimulating to get stuck - these irritating toxins are quickly purged. Toxins have a peculiar resemblance to sewage, also called gray water. It is similar in appearance and smell, with often similar chemical properties as well.

What does ama look like?

If you see a thick white coating on the tongue in the morning before you brush your teeth, that white film is ama itself. Kapha ama tends to be white and thick in appearance. Sometimes, kapha ama becomes so heavy it causes lymphatic congestion. In that case, you will notice your skin appears read and puffy. Pitta ama tends to be yellowish in nature, easily seen in the corner of the eyes, the back of the tongue, the teeth, and the hands. Vata ama tends to be brown or gray in color, most easily noticed in the hue of the skin or the coating of the tongue.

The common early signs of ama in the body include:

  • Thick coating on the tongue
  • Sluggish, bloated and sleepy feelings, especially after a meal even though you may have slept well
  • Strong cravings for fast foods or junk foods
  • Skin breakouts and/or foul breath, sweat, gas and stools
  • Gray or luster-less skin, whites of the eyes, or yellow teeth.
  • Clouded thoughts, feeling unable to focus, or generally unmotivated in life


Learning to catch the signs of this plaque early before it begins to build up and knowing how to remove it properly is often the very first step that an Ayurveda practitioner takes guiding a client back towards health. Begin by identifying what forms of ama you are experiencing and modifying your diet according to dosha. Then follow the steps outlined in the article on Agni.


View By:
Browse Toxic Recipes


View By:


'Toxic' may be helpful for these symptoms and causes below.


'Toxic' may aggravate, or be aggravated by, these symptoms and causes below.
About John Joseph Immel

About the Author

John Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda biocharacteristics. His approach to Ayurveda is clinical, yet exudes an ease which many find enjoyable and insightful. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda, offering professional clinical training in Ayurveda for over 15 years.

John's interest in Ayurveda and specialization in digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, as well as public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.

John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well. Outside of work, John enjoys spending time with his wife and 7 kids, and pursuing his love of theology, philosophy, and language.

Read more

Join Joyful Belly.

Want our top Ayurvedic recipes and health tips?
Subscribe to our free newsletter!
If you are already a member please sign in here. Forgot your password?
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information and products on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

© 2024 Joyful Belly Ayurveda Inc., All rights reserved.
Asheville, North Carolina