Cancer is a disease that can be said to be partly born out of our lifestyle changes. Nowadays it is becoming more and more common, with many new cases occurring every day. It causes more than 19 million patients worldwide and thus many deaths. Chemotherapy and radiation are the most common ways to treat cancer. These treatments include the use of harmful and harsh chemicals that are harmful to an individual’s physical and mental health. This can lead to serious side effects and complications.
We need to find an alternative way to fight cancer that is free of side effects and is equally effective. Ayurveda can be an answer to this. Many of the herbs prescribed in Ayurveda have shown anticancer and chemoprotective properties in the studies conducted.
Ayurveda: an ancient way of healing
Ayurveda is an ancient method of treating illness. The term Ayurveda can be translated as “the science of the preservation of life”. It is a holistic approach to the treatment of illness and focuses on the unification of soul, body, and spirit. It originated in India about 5000 years ago.
Based on the concept of three doses of medicine, Ayurveda has its own interpretation of diseases and how to treat them. Vata, Pitta, and Kapha are three doses of drugs present in our body and any kind of disease is the result of an imbalance between these doses. So Ayurveda is primarily concerned with restoring harmony between these doses to bring health and happiness to any individual.
Concept of cancer in Ayurveda
It has been established in research conducted 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. It is said that 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.
Ayurveda identifies cancer as granthi (benign or minor neoplasm) and arbuda (malignant or major neoplasm) in ancient texts of Sushruta and Charak Samhita. The cause of cancer is due to any balance in the doshas. The dosha is a system that presides over our body and mind and also their interaction with the environment. Vata, Pitta, and Kapha are the three doshas in our bodies. Ayurvedic treatment focuses on restoring the lost balance among these doshas and establishing much-needed harmony once again.
Ayurvedic herbs for cancer
Unlike modern medical science that treats this disease, which relies mainly on chemotherapy and surgery, Ayurveda has its own herbal cures and methods. The focus is on reducing the number of cancer cells, reducing the spread of tumour cells, and reducing the volume and size of tumour cells. In Ayurveda, several herbs are prescribed to combat this malignancy.
Ayurveda has many herbs with specific medicinal properties, from the common cold to malignancies like cancer. Some of these herbs have protective properties, while others are naturally healing. These herbs have been used to treat different types of cancer for thousands of years. The phytochemicals in these herbs are currently being studied and intensively studied to isolate the most active ingredients. Active ingredients can be used to develop drugs. These are all proven in the studies conducted all over the world. Let’s discuss the results found so far here.
Turmeric has been used as both spice and ayurvedic medicine in the Indian subcontinent for a long time. Its active component, curcumin, has been shown to stop tumour cells from proliferating in so many varieties of cancers.
Wild ginger, containing zerumbone, can suppress the formation and growth of colon cancer cells, and breast cancer cells with very little effect on normal cells. It also suppresses NF-κB-regulated genes and hence can be used for cancer treatment and prevention.
Ashwagandha, an ayurvedic medicine, has also been shown to suppress NF-κB activation due to a variety of reasons like carcinogenic agents. It enhanced apoptosis of the cells induced by chemotherapeutic reasons while leaving the healthy cells unscathed.
There are several Ayurvedic herbs that are useful for fighting cancer like Aloe vera, Makandi, Indian Sandalwood, Sesame Oil, Arjuna, Lakshmanaphala, Guduchi, etc. These herbs have chemoprotective and anticancer properties in the studies done.
Ayurvedic interventions and practices
Ayurvedic treats cancer often using a blend of different types of herbs. They can be presented as pills, teas, or oils for application to the skin. Different proportions of herbs are used, depending on the balance of the dosha. Purification or detoxification of
bodies are used by Ayurvedic doctors or vaidyas to balance the Dosha. You can combine oils and herbs that cause sweat and vomiting.
Other types of purification include the use of laxatives or enemas, nasal irrigation, and drainage of blood from the body. Yoga and meditation are used to raise mental awareness and balance Dosha.
Most of the therapeutic drugs used for cancer treatment work by blocking the cell signalling for stopping the cell growth, or disturbing the production of prostaglandin, also for reducing inflammation. On the other hand, Ayurveda works by modulating these growth factors. Several Ayurvedic plants and herbs regulate these therapeutic factors. Ayurvedic treatment has its own classification, depicting causes, pathogenesis, and possible ways to prevent, even removing the tumours, specific herbs, lifestyle changes, and spiritual treatment.
Ayurveda can become an alternative way to cancer treatment. There are many practices to treat cancer in Ayurveda. Also, a plethora of herbs is mentioned in Ayurveda to heal and balance all the doshas. This approach is surely promising for treating cancer in the coming days.