Stomach cancer is one of the most common cancers worldwide. But recently, the number of stomach cancers has reduced considerably. The availability of refrigeration facilities may attribute to this factor. Cancer affecting the stomach generally starts with the inner lining of the stomach before it starts penetrating into the walls of the stomach. It may start due to several factors like genetics, infections, high salt usage, etc.
While allopathic treatment mainly involves chemotherapy. Chemotherapy means the use of harmful and toxic substances which have a lot of side effects. In severe cases, surgical methods are in use. Sometimes they remove the whole stomach which leads to further complications and decreases the quality of life. So, there is a need to find an alternative treatment that skips the side effects and painful complications. Ayurveda can be the right candidate for this.
Stomach cancer and its symptoms
As said earlier, stomach cancer is the cancer of the stomach, a digestive organ present on the left side of the upper abdomen. The stomach is a vital organ for digestion providing hydrochloric acid and other digestive juices for the breakdown of food so that it passes into the small intestine. Stomach cancer starts with abnormal growth of the cells’ inner lining of the stomach wall.
It might take a year-long before this growth develops into cancer. This window period might or might not have any symptoms. It can easily escape our radar and go unnoticed. It’s quite challenging to detect cancer in its early form. The symptoms of stomach cancer can be nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting (maybe with blood), dysphagia, unexplained weight loss, diarrhea, discomfort in the abdomen, bleeding while passing stool, etc.
Today, it is clear that cancer has associations with environmental, dietary, and unpredictable and unstable daily life changes in individuals. Ayurveda stands for “Science of Life” and is the oldest holistic healing system in the world originating from the Indian subcontinent. This practice and methodology of treatment are probably older than 5000 years. Ayurveda emphasizes that it balances the constant connection between body, mind, and soul, and thus the natural harmony of each individual. Ayurveda recognizes and characterizes some well-mentioned numerous herbs and herbal preparations for treating cancer forms and illnesses.
What does Ayurveda say about cancer?
Ayurveda does not consider cancer to be a separate disease or a collection of diseases. In contrast, Ayurveda states that systemic imbalance and dysfunction of the three Doshas causes all diseases. Instead of using targeted therapies to destroy tumors, Ayurvedic drugs/treatments attempt to correct metabolic defects and restore normal tissue functions (“Sama Dhatu”) Parampara”). Like most forms of traditional medicine, Ayurvedic medicine is holistic, as immunotherapy (Rasayana Prayoga) to rejuvenate the body’s support system is an important component of cancer therapy.
Ayurvedic way of stomach cancer treatment
Unlike the allopathic way of tackling this disease which heavily relies on chemotherapy and surgery, Ayurveda has its own set of practices and herbal remedies. It focuses on the reduction of the number of cancer cells, the spread of tumor cells, and also shrinking of the mass or size of the tumor cells. There are several herbs in Ayurveda to fight this malignant disease. Let’s discuss some of the herbs that can prove to be useful for the treatment and prevention of stomach cancer.
Garlic (Allium sativum)
It is a famous condiment in our day-to-day life for seasoning our food. This easily available spice is also a great cancer fighter and probably one of the most powerful anti-cancer herbs. Sulfur allicin and allin are their active components. These are organosulphur compound that renders anticancer properties to the garlic.
Bhunimb (Andrographis paniculata)
This herb is commonly known as the “King of bitters”. This herb is effective against several types of infections such as AIDS. It inhibits the multiplication of cancer cells.
Green tea (Camelia sinensis)
Nowadays, green tea is quite a trend and is valued for reducing belly fat and being full of antioxidants. It can be helpful to prevent gastric cancer. Two compounds, i.e., catechins and polyphenols are probably the reason for their anticancer properties.
Amalaki (Emblica Officinalis)
Amla or gooseberry has been used since ancient times to cure various ailments. This herb can help to fight several cancers. It reduces the side effects of chemotherapy also. It has proven to be a powerful antioxidant and can be effective against stomach cancer.
Sahadevi (Vernonia cinerea)
It has several alkaloids present in it, such as sesquiterpenes, lactones, pentacyclic, etc. it has wound healing properties. It can be treating cancer, gastrointestinal disorders, and abortions.
Tulsi (Holy Basil/ Ocimum sanctum)
This traditional herb of southeast Asia, is quite useful in preventing cancer. Tulsi, an excellent immunity enhancer to cure cancer. Its active component is Eugenol which contributes to anti-cancer properties.
Haldi / Turmeric / Curcuma longa
Another spice that has cancer-fighting abilities. It is full of anticancer polyphenol curcumin. Its clinically shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
Shunthi / Zingiber officinale
It works by destroying the free radicals and reducing lipid peroxidation. Hence, it is effective against liver cancer formation.
Keshar / Crocus sativa
This stigma of a flower is one of the most expensive spices sold in the world. It contains crocin which has anti-cancer properties and is used to treat colorectal cancer.
Mulethi, commonly known to us as licorice, is proven to be effective for enhancing gastrointestinal health. Glycyrrhizin, a compound present in Mulethi, can induce apoptosis in cancer cells like leukemia and stomach cancer cells.