Today, cancer is becoming more and more common, with so many new cases occurring every day. It causes more than 19 million patients worldwide and therefore many deaths. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are the most common ways to treat cancer. These treatments include harsh use of toxic chemicals that harm both the physical and mental health of the individual. It can lead to serious side effects and complications.
Ayurveda: an ancient way of treatment and healing
Today, it is clear that cancer is related to environmental, dietary, unpredictable, and unstable changes in the daily lives of individuals. Ayurveda means “Science of Life” and is the oldest holistic healing system in the world that originated in the Indian subcontinent. This practice and treatment are probably more than 5000 years old. Ayurveda emphasises that it balances the ongoing connection between body, mind, and soul, and is therefore the natural harmony of each individual. Ayurveda recognizes and characterises many herbs and herbal preparations that are much talked about for the treatment of various forms and diseases of cancer.
Modern science and allergy today believe in Ayurvedic principles, that’s why more research on Ayurvedic herbs and natural remedies is taking place. Many medical centers and universities are incorporating Ayurveda into their programs to combat the rise of non-communicable diseases. All medical professionals believe that prevention is better than cure. So Ayurveda paves the way for the goal of healthy and happy living.
Definition of cancer in Ayurveda
Ayurveda, in ancient texts of Sushruta and Charaka Samhita, identifies cancer as granthi (benign or minor neoplasm) and arbuda (malignant or major neoplasm). The cause of cancer is the balance of Dosha. Dosha is the system that governs our body and mind, and how they interact with the environment. Vata, Pitta, and Kapa are the three Doshas of our body. Ayurvedic treatment focuses on restoring the lost balance between these Doshas and restoring the very necessary harmony.
Previous research establishes that cancer is a metabolic disease. Hence mitochondria might play a crucial role in understanding this disease. Our powerhouse or mitochondria is very similar to Agni dosha mentioned in Ayurveda. If a person is healthy then it means that person’s Agni is fine. But if a person is not healthy then that person’s Agni is not robust.
Depriving the mitochondria hinders the metabolization of food juices converts the glucose into lactic acid. Glucose is the main source of energy for our body. Production of lactic acid means less energy is produced and enhances the formation of by-products like fatty acid, Nucleic acid, and Amino acids which in turn helps in the proliferation of tumour cells. Lactic acid can break the cellular walls which mean cancer cells can now invade other normal cells. This process is metastasis or the spread of cancer to other parts of the body from their place of origin.
Ayurvedic diet and herbs
Ayurveda suggests getting rid of free radicals, toxins, and excessive amounts of dirty pitta, kapha, and vata that are known to impair the function of Agni. follow a diet and lifestyle to recover and boost Agni’s metabolic function. This shortens the sequence of events and slows the progression of the disease. If lactic acid is gone then the cellular environment is no more degraded or absorbs lactic acid produced by cancer cells. As a result, cancer cells spread and lose the ability to metastasize.
Certain herbs mentioned in Ayurveda, such as neem, stimulate the tumour suppressor pathways, causing the body to produce more tumour death-promoting (appropriate) chemicals and reduce anti-mutagenic chemicals. All of these modalities result in the death of cancer cells and are eliminate them from the system.
Herbs such as Tinospora are known to stop the abnormal cell cycle without affecting the normal cell cycle. This mechanism of action further reduces the uncontrolled proliferation of abnormal cells.
Ashwagandha, another herb, reduces the emergence of new blood vessels in cancerous tissue, thereby destroying the nutrition of the cancerous tissue.
Effects of the herbs
Famous condiment and ayurvedic medicine, turmeric blocks the action of inflammatory chemicals (such as TNFalpha), and turmeric also blocks the action of growth factors called NF kappa b and is uncontrolled. It prevents reproduction. In fact, turmeric and Ashwagandha also stimulate the p53 tumour suppressor pathway.
Even some household herbs, such as fenugreek, absorb lactic acid, block the supply of glucose to cancer cells, and deprive them of nutrition and death.
What Ayurveda recommends is an intermittent fast or a strict calorie diet, enough to give all the nutrients needed for the body and immunity, but also starve cancer cells of nutrients and force them to perish.
One should try to intake more sattvic food to balance body and mind, doshas and gunas respectively. Sattvic foods include fresh, energising foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables (leaves), milk, whole grains, whole fruit juices, butter and cream cheeses, fresh nuts, seeds, sprouts, honey, and herbal tea. Avoid any kind of junk food or fast food and instant meals.
Avoid using a microwave oven, and limit eating meat, especially red meat. You take food full of Vitamin D which might help to hinder tumour growth. You should include good fats like oily fish, eggs and vegetable oils rich in vitamin D. Ayurveda has always turned to nature for inspiration from the practice of medicine and the smart use of natural resources.
Ayurveda could become an alternative way of cancer treatment. There are many cancer treatments in Ayurveda. In addition, there are many herbs mentioned in Ayurveda for healing and balancing all kinds of medicine. This approach certainly holds promise for treating cancer in the coming days.