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Ayurveda for Cancer Treatment : A Herbal Cure

Executive Summary

Ayurveda integrates three different fundamental states within an individual involving physical (including physiological), mental, and spiritual beings. Ayurveda is identified as the most formal healthcare system in the country. It provides several benefits that improve the patients’ health outcomes. Most patients tend to respond to ayurvedic treatments with the effect of reducing and terminating their symptoms. The patients most often undergo conventional medications as soon as their diagnosis are made. Therefore, integrating ayurvedic treatments is carried out alongside the conventional medical approaches. It reduces the symptoms, controls the disease progression, and effectively improves patients’ symptoms by lowering their cortisone and analgesic usage, thus enhancing their quality of life. The Ayurveda has integrated the use of plants, evolving more decisive action on the body when compared with food and spices. It constitutes different herbal combinations showing excellent results in patients’ health outcomes. The ayurvedic plants are often safe and free from side effects but sometimes may show some variations in the efficacy. Some undesirable effects due to the inappropriate use of ayurvedic herbs have been reported in some cases.


Ayurveda has demonstrated less toxicity and good acceptability among patients suffering from different illnesses, mainly caused by reduced immune responses. The well-being of the patients, which is hindered due to chemotherapy toxicities, is improved by integrating the use of Ayurveda. In cases where biomedical treatment in cancer does not show any efficacy, the integration of the ayurvedic approach shows effectiveness in strengthening digestion, eliminating toxins, reducing tumor growth, and improving tissue metabolism. 

Introduction:

Ayurveda is the oldest healthcare system being originated within the Indian Subcontinent. The contemporary Ayurveda is formalized and institutionalized based on education, clinical approaches, pharmacopoeia, and product manufacturing being evolved from the late nineteenth century. It is identified as the most formal healthcare system in the country. The term Ayurveda consists of two parts, ayu meaning life and Veda meaning knowledge. Hence, this depicts its significance towards health and well-being in broader aspects involving happy life, sustainable happiness, and longevity (Sharma, 2001). As per the perspective of Ayurveda, three different fundamental states within an individual are integrated, involving physical (including physiological), mental, and spiritual beings. These three states evolve health which associates three states and their relationship with the outside world. The outside world and the well-being are being understood based on ontology involving pancamahabhuta, or five element theory. The classification of the five-element theory includes the earth, water, fire, air, and space that show association with senses, smell, taste, vision, touch, and sound.

Looking at the physiological and pathological aspects, the five elements are again classified as tridosavata, which means the combination of space and air, pitta meaning fire and  Kapha  meaning water and earth. The combinations of these elements and tridosa in the body are understood as several groupings. Ayurveda further represents the proper understanding of materials known as Dravya guna sastra, which includes food or medicine, therapeutic approaches, and dietary or lifestyle changes for staying healthy. The organoleptic properties show the grouping of several food items as per their specific properties that significantly impact the psychological constitution of the individual. It is another robust approach to Ayurveda (Payyappallimana et al., 2015). 

Ayurveda in Medicine

Ayurveda is a traditional Indian medicine that helps in improving several types of chronic conditions. Conventional medicine has often been observed to dominate the different domains in the Indian market but not consistently outperform traditional ayurvedic approaches. Conventional drugs mainly rely on prolonged medication, making the patients depend entirely on the medication throughout their life. These conventional medications may have several side effects and show some withdrawal symptoms in case the medications are discontinued, which can be a significant issue for the patients’ health. Hence, in this case, Ayurveda provides several benefits that improve the patients’ health outcomes. Most patients tend to respond to ayurvedic treatments with the effect of reducing and terminating their symptoms. The patients most often undergo conventional medications as soon as their diagnosis are made. Therefore, integrating ayurvedic treatments is carried out alongside the conventional medical approaches. The patients experience the result of ayurvedic methods after their condition is progressed. Also, Ayurveda reduces the symptoms and controls the disease progression. It effectively improves patients’ symptoms by lowering their cortisone and analgesic usage, thus enhancing their quality of life.

The Ayurveda is entirely dependent upon the traditional medical system, and its practice is 3000 years old, showing efficacy in the management of diseases. Doshas (Vata, pitta, and Kapha) are the three essential aspects of Ayurveda that evolved from five elements identified as regulatory control factors for carrying out fundamental physiologic processes in living systems to maintain the identity throughout biologic history. The concept of data and its sub doshas are responsible for regulating input and output processes along with motion, pitta and its sub doshas show efficacy in regulating throughput, turnover, and later energy, and Kapha and its sub doshas regulate storage, structure, and lubrication (Hankey, 2001). 

Some of the factors involving food, activity, the climate and stress are responsible for disrupting and destroying the normal activities depending on these factors. The adoption of Ayurveda helps normalise the body functions while integrating different techniques involving advice on food and exercise, internal herbal preparations, purification treatments (panchakarma), and surgical methods (shalya chikitsa). The routes of oral administration have played a significant role in influencing individuals’ doshas with the consumption of food, spices, and medicinal plants. These elements have controlled doshas in various ways involving stabilization, disturbance, and support for the healthy condition of the body. 

Ayurveda adopts the process of complete diagnosis of the condition of the patients before providing any treatment of internal preparations, diet, and restrictions to specific habits. The healing process of Ayurveda integrates the use of plant-based practices. Hence, no substance can be used as a potential medicine. The traditional ayurvedic texts show a warning towards using any substances that do not have any proper understanding. The incorporation of any plant, animal, or mineral substance is usually integrated with the ayurvedic approach with the availability of appropriate information regarding terminology, identity, properties, and applications. The warning regarding the abuse of well-known medicines implies that even poisons can have medicinal properties when used appropriately. In contrast, the best medicines can be harmful if not used appropriately. Only 1200 to 1500 plants have been used as official ayurvedic pharmacopeia out of 10,000 plants for more than 3000 years. 

Ayurveda Medicinal Plants

Most of the ayurvedic preparations have included the plants’ use. The Ayurveda has integrated the use of plants, evolving more decisive action on the body when compared with food and spices. These enable the plant to reverse pathophysiological processes and stabilize the doshas. Hence, classical ayurvedic preparations evolved from such plants known as yogas which originated over many years with practical experience combining plants to get the optimal effect. Medicinal plants have become more used in polyherbal combinations, which are more effective than single herbs. Ayurveda has involved most of the classical preparations to be polyherbal while combining 3-30 plants which are combined appropriately. The combination will show the significant activities of one or two plants which will remain active, and the other plants will play a supporting role. The supportive herbs constitute different actions which act as catalysts that provide appropriate absorption and transportation and reduce toxicity. The delivery of an ideal combination of the herbal constituents shows an excellent result.

The ayurvedic plants are often safe and free from side effects but sometimes may show some variations in the efficacy. Some undesirable effects due to the inappropriate use of ayurvedic herbs have been reported in some cases. Some of the products and side effects of commonly used medicinal plants (ayurvedic herbs) have been represented below. 

Herbs/PlantsAyurvedic AspectsResults of Inappropriate UsageReferences
Curcumin Or TurmericAnti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic actionsConstipation, Very high doses of oleoresin of Curcuma, given over 3 to 4 months, shows a dose-dependent increase in the weight of recipients’ liver and thyroid glands, as well as epithelial changes in their bladders and kidneys, platelet disorders, and gallstones and those receiving aspirin and warfarin, High doses or prolonged use can cause digestive problems, including stomach irritation, heartburn, nausea, or diarrhea; even ulcers.(Agarwal, 2010; Pisano et al., 2010)
GingerPungent taste, hot in potency and sweet postdigestion, help reduce patients’ kapha and vata and increases their pitta.Inflammatory skin problems, gastrointestinal diseases such as hyperacidity, intestinal inflammation, hemorrhoids.(Kumar et al., 2017)
Aloe veraBitter and a sweet taste, cold potency, and a pungent postdigestive taste; good in vitiated conditions of pitta and vata; used in  various inflammatory diseases, as well as in skin and liver disease.Causes potassium deficiency, not used during during pregnancy, oral ingestion is unsafe showing carcinogenic effects, latex form may harm the kidneys, potentially causing serious kidney disease(Kumar et al., 2017)
Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum)Taste both pungent and bitter, hot in potency, and pungent in its postdigestive taste, increases pitta and decreases both kapha and vata, administered against worms and parasites, insect poisoning, and in cases of toxicity.Causes pitta– and blood-related disorders, antifertility action makes its prolonged use in male and female sterility contraindicated.(Seth et al., 1982; Khanna et al., 1986)
Moringa (Moringa oleifera)Uses the plants’ roots and bark for medicinal purposes, sweet and bitter in taste,hot in potency, and pungent in postdigestion, and pacify kapha.Produces burning sensation due to an increase in pitta, ill-advised to consume moringa regularly, or in large doses, harmful for pregnant women(Kumar et al., 2017)
Guduchi/Amrut (Tinospora cordifolia)Bitter taste, hot in potency, and sweet in postdigestion, and pacifies all 3 of the body’s doshas.Causes  mild constipation, low blood pressure, decreases blood urea levels in uremic patients.(Kumar et al., 2017)
Pippali (Piper longum)Bioavailability enhancer, sweet and pungent in taste, hot in potency, and sweet in postdigestive action, and pacifies vata and kapha, increases pitta, and is slightly laxative.Evolves burning sensation, not used in pregnant women in the first trimester.(Kumar et al., 2017)
Aswagandha (Withania somnifera)Bitter and astringent in taste, hot in potency, and sweet in postdigestive action, and pacifies vata and kapha, and increases pitta.Shows hypnotic and sedative effects, ontraindicated in pregnancy and in arterial congestion, large dose may cause diarrhea and vomiting.(Kumar et al., 2017)
Triphala: Terminalia chebula (Haritaki), Terminalia bellirica (Bibhitaki), Emblica officinalis (Amalaki)Combination from 3 plants fruit, and drives out body toxins by unblocking the body’s channels (srothus).Evolving symptoms such as headaches, rashes, nausea, gastric disturbances, cause mucus destruction in the intestines if wrongly prescribed, and may inhibit the actions of drug metabolizing enzymes.(Ponnusankar et al., 2011)

Ayurveda in Cancer Care:

Cancer patients are most often treated with h surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy individually or with other therapies. Some of the treatment approaches, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, show toxic effects and significant side effects, hindering the therapeutic schedule (Guillot et al., 2004). It deteriorates patients’ quality of life being treated with such approaches as the chemotherapy drugs and shows toxicity while evolving a depressed state of mind (Artherholt & Fann, 2012). For centuries in India, Ayurveda has demonstrated less toxicity and good acceptability among patients suffering from different illnesses, mainly caused by reduced immune responses. The well-being of the patients, which is hindered due to chemotherapy toxicities, is improved by integrating the use of Ayurveda. Several ayurvedic drugs such as Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus, Linn), Ananta (Hemidesmus indicus, Linn), Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera, Linn), Amalaki (Phyllanthus Emblica, Linn), etc. have been formulated showing effectiveness in cancer treatment. Several ayurvedic drugs with different combinations are recommended for cancer in the form of adjunct therapy (Vyas et al., 2010). Ayurvedic other medicines such as s Mauktikyukta Praval Panchmrut and Mauktikyukta Kamdudha constitute medicinal properties involving Chardighna (anti-emetic), Pittashamak (antacids), Raktashodhak (improving the quality of blood), Jvarahara (antipyretic) and Atisarahara (anti-diarrheal) helps in managing the toxicity of chemotherapy in cancer treatment. Some of the ayurvedic drugs, such as e Suvarna Basma, Mauktik Bhasma and Guduchi Sattva, help immune modulation and rejuvenation in cancer (Paul & Sharma, 2011). 

The integration of ayurvedic approaches in cancer treatment effectively reduces the impact of several side effects among the patients. The immediate relief from the symptoms of nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite and early effects including diarrhoea, constipation, fatigue and myelosuppression is observed among the patients. The delayed side effects of the drugs followed after completion of chemotherapy involve skin rashes, alopecia, fever, insomnia, resistance to communication and functional reluctance, while long-term effects include neurological problems. Hence, Ayurveda has contributed to improving the quality of life of cancer patients after chemotherapy while integrating adjunct treatment with herbs-mineral combinations. The effectiveness of combinations of ayurvedic drugs in eliminating the complications of chemotherapy, choosing the appropriate combinations of ayurvedic medicines for implicating beneficial effects, and deciding the proper time of administration of ayurvedic medications during the period of chemotherapy. Most of the results of Ayurveda in cancer have shown advantages in reducing the side effects in patients and maintaining an excellent quality of life. The effectiveness of the combination of herbs-mineral ayurvedic drugs and metallic ayurvedic preparations is much better than only herbs-mineral Ayurvedic drugs. When started from the initial phase of cancer treatment, Ayurvedic treatment gives better results in improving patients’ lives.

In cases where biomedical treatment in cancer do not show any efficacy, the integration of the ayurvedic approach shows effectiveness in strengthening digestion, eliminating toxins, reducing tumor growth, and improving tissue metabolism. It shows efficacy in restoring equilibrium, building mental and physical strength, and rejuvenating the patient’s body and mind while providing effective supportive care. The post-chemo and post-radiation reduce the physical and psychological power of the cancer patients during the treatment. Hence, it results in prolonged recovery, or the recovery is not easy in most cases due to the several side effects. The use of Ayurveda helps in combating such health issues. An appropriate diet is recommended for the patients involving the following pranayama, yoga, and meditation. Later on, the utilization of specific herbs and customized formulations are recommended. These herbal combinations of the ayurvedic approach strengthen the physical, mental, and immune systems. The formulations are recommended as the different cancer type systems or dhatu are affected. The study regarding ayurvedic longevity preparations, known as rasayanas, implicated that to minimize the toxicity of chemotherapy, and immune-modulating role is recommended to constitute a novel dimension to cancer treatment while moving forward toward new directions in cancer immunotherapy.

AyurZen

AyurZen focuses on bringing the goodness of Ayurvedic medicines to cancer patients. Ayurveda originated in the ancient period of Indian medicine and has been recognized as an effective means of treatment through the centuries. It has been used as an anti-cancer remedy due to its in-built anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. AyurZen capsules are a pure blend of selected Herbal flowers, roots, fruits and seeds. It is tolerated very well and is known to be an effective drug for prolonged use without adverse effects on health. It is supplemented with other anti-cancer remedies showing synergetic effect while attacking only the cancer cells without causing harm to the other body tissues.

The nutritional contents of AyurZen include the combination of ten different types of herbs which possess medicinal properties. The herbs possesses certain medicinal properties which is used in the preparation of used in AyurZen while showing effectiveness in health outcomes as discussed below:

  • Catharanthus alba (Flower): It is a type of herbaceous shrub with a height of up to 1 m tall. It is a dicotyledon flowering seed plant with the autotrophic mode of nutrition. The generic term Catharanthus stands for perfect flower, and alba stands for white, which refers to the flower colour. It is one of the essential medicinal plant species being used in traditional herbal medicine across the globe. Its chemical extraction contributes to cancer treatment. The flower consists of chemical constituents, including limonene, phytol, and linolenic acid ethyl ester. It is traditionally used for treating a whole range of ailments from diabetes to depression. The recent discovery has shown its efficacy in treating cancer while possessing cancer-fighting properties. Its extraction contains medicinal preparation, which is used for the treatment of diarrhoea, diabetes, malaria, and skin diseases.
  • Curcuma longa (Root): It is a perennial flowering plant classified in the ginger family (Zingiberaceae) and is commonly used in Ayurveda. It is a herbaceous plant found in Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent and requires moderate temperatures and heavy annual rainfall to grow. Curcuma is among the oldest spice plants cultivated in this region of the world. The rhizomes of Curcuma longa are collected, and the roots are dried. Later they are ground into an orange-yellow powder called turmeric and used as a flavouring agent in curry and other Asian cuisines. Because of this process, turmeric is also called turmeric root powder or Curcuma longa extract. It acts as a natural anti-inflammatory agent which helps in reducing inflammation. It also acts as a strong antioxidant that helps in boosting the immune system response while preventing disease. It is used in preparation of medicines showing effectiveness in complementary treatment for cancer. It improves cognitive function and helps in managing the excess weight. 
  • Ganoderma lucidum (Biomass): It is commonly known as Reishi which is one of the primary herbs of choice in any immune deficiency disease. It is a bitter-tasting fungus which shows efficacy in boosting the immune response. It possesses immunostimulating activities, as well as anti-inflammatory and antiallergenic properties. It consists of more than 100 oxygenated triterpenes, most of which are responsible for affecting the activities of NK cells. It is used for the treatment of various infectious diseases involving bronchitis and hepatitis. It helps in phagocytosis, while increasing T-cell activity that is used in treating viral hepatitis. Reishi increases the efficacy of CD4 cells in vivo. It is also used as an effective antidepressant. It is considered an important ingredient in the treatment of androgen-induced diseases, including benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer.
  • Glycine max (Seed): It is the soybean seeds which are drought-tolerant, nitrogen-fixing plants enriched within the soil. It is an important crop legume required for the production of human food (through vegetable oil, seed-milk and derived products like tofu), animal feed (mainly for chicken and pork), and biofuel. It possesses cosmeceutical and dermatological benefits involving inflammatory, collagen-stimulating effect, potent anti-oxidant scavenging peroxyl radicals, skin lightening effect and protection against UV radiation.
  • Moringa oleifera (Fruits): It is often known as the drumstick tree, the miracle tree, the ben oil tree, or the horseradish tree, being used as a medicinal plant providing several health benefits. It consists of antifungal, antiviral, antidepressant, and anti-inflammatory properties. It consist of proteins, vitamins, and minerals. It possesses low fat components without containing any harmful cholesterol. It is effective in protecting and nourishing skin and hair, resting edema, protecting the liver, treating cancer and fighting against bacterial infections.
  • Nigella sativa (Seed): It is known as the black seed, which is a flowering plant native to Asia and the Mediterranean, and its seed is used for the preparation of medicines. It helps in boosting the immune system, fighting cancer, preventing pregnancy, reducing swelling, and reducing allergic reactions while acting as an antihistamine. The use of Nigella sativa shows effectiveness in protection against the damaged cells and reduces inflammation, improves blood sugar control, boosts the immune system, while keeping heart and brain healthy.
  • Picrorhiza kurroa (Root): It is one of the oldest medicinal plants found in the Himalayan mountains. The practitioners of ayurvedic medicine use its root and rhizome for the treatment of several diseases. It is mainly used for treating liver problems, fever, allergy, and other major conditions. It consists of chemicals that help stimulate the immune system while killing cancer cells and providing relief from inflammation (swelling).
  • Piper cubeba (Seed): It is a type of medicinal herbal considered important in Ayurveda pharmacopoeia in the treating cough, swelling, dysmenorrhea, erectile dysfunction and indigestion. 
  • Tribulus terrestris (Fruit): It is a fruit-producing Mediterranean plant being covered with the spine. Its leaf, fruit, and roots are used as medicines. It is effective in enhancing athletic performance, bodybuilding, and treating the heart and circulatory conditions along with sexual issues. It is used as dietary supplements rather than recommended to be taken as medicines.
  • Withania somnifera (Root): It is an essential medicinal plant of the Indian subcontinent. It is used alone or sometimes combined with other herbs to treat numerous biological problems in humans. It possesses pharmacological properties, such as antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antistress, antitumor, neuroprotective, cardioprotective, and many more for use in the treatment of biological approaches. 

Now avail exciting offers on AyurZen Ayurvedic Medicine from ZenOnco.io at : https://zenonco.io/cancer/products/ayurzen-500-mg/

References

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  3. Hankey A. Ayurvedic physiology and etiology: Ayurvedo Amritanaam. The doshas and their functioning in terms of contemporary biology and physical chemistry. J Altern Complement Med. 2001;7:567–574. https://doi.org/10.1089/10755530152639792
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 Paul W, Sharma CP (2011) Blood compatibility studies of Swarnabhasma (gold bhasma), an Ayurvedic drug. Int J Ayurveda Res 2:14–22. http://dx.doi.org/10.4103/0974-7788.83183

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