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Managing Cancer with Ayurveda

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Posted by : Shyam Gaud on | Jan 19,2015

Managing Cancer with Ayurveda

By: Dr. Pratap Chauhan, Ayurvedacharya & Director Jiva Ayurveda
Modern science is yet to discover effective remedies for deadly diseases such as cancer, AIDS, or other 
hematological and auto-immune disorders. These diseases are very complicated in nature with 
complexity at every level—anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, molecular biology and gene expression. 
So treating such diseases is a big challenge. 
Numerous techniques are employed to combat these diseases, including surgery, radiotherapy, 
chemotherapy, interferon therapy, hormone therapy, and blood transfusion. But the remedies that are 
currently in use are either only for reducing the immediate complications associated with these diseases 
or for slowing down the proliferation of the diseases.
There has been only limited success in the cure of these diseases due to various factors such as 
resistance, difficulty in targeting the affected area, and the huge costs involved. Additionally, toxicity of 
the drugs, ablative surgery, radiation damage, and chemotherapy hazards make the situation worse. 
With all conventional therapeutics, an overall 2.4% survival of cancer patients has been reported within 
5 years after diagnosis. 
The Ayurvedic Perspective
The word ‘cancer’ may be new to the 5,000-year-old Indian system of medicine, Ayurveda, which relies 
on natural substances for healing. But ancient Ayurvedic classics are aware of the clinical features, 
resembling cancer, with the names such as Apachi, Gulma, Granthi, and Arbuda. Following are names of 
some of the conditions mentioned in Ayurvedic classics that have relevance to cancer manifestations in 
modern medicine.
Modern Manifestations of Clinical Features Described in Ayurvedic 
Texts 
Manifestations in Ayurveda Manifestations in Modern 
Charmakeel Keloid 
Pandu Leukaemia 
Apachi Hodgkin's Disease 
Stanarbuda/AgantujaStanaroga Breast Cancer 
Raktagulma Tumours of Uterus / Ovary 
Rakta, Mamsaja, Medoja, 
OshtaRoga Carcinoma of Lips 
Kachchapa, Raktarbuda, 
MamsaSanghata Carcinoma Palate 
Swarabhanga Tumours of Larynx 
Raktapitta, Pandu Various Type of Leukemia 
Medicine 
Knowing More about Cancer
Cancer has largely remained incurable due to its complexity and its ability to spread rapidly and 
uncontrollably. It is a condition in which our own body cells turn hostile. Let us elaborate on the 
occurrence of cancer in human beings. 
Knowing more about Cancer—Cell division in the form of mitosis is an essential continuous process in 
our body that keeps the cells reproducing. Through cell division a mature cell divides itself into two 
daughter cells. This is responsible for keeping our constituent body parts alive and healthy. A daughter 
cell, thus produced, must be an exact replica of its mother. In case of an error in the duplication at the 
genetic level, the daughter cells might become mutated or modified. These mutated cells start 
duplicating themselves in an abnormal way, often giving rise to a situation where extra tissue is formed, 
which is antagonistic to the rest of the body cells. We call this disease cancer.
Sometimes, in worse situations, the mutations are such that they are carried away to another similar 
body organ located at a different place inside the body through the lymph fluid. This type of mutant cell 
is then said to exhibit ‘metastasis’. For example, in the case of metastatic renal cell carcinoma, mutant 
cells in the kidney can move to the lungs and then to the bone. Here, the patient might show symptoms 
of cancer of the kidney, lungs and bones.
Cancer usually spreads very fast and a patient can meet death in less than 6 months. Therefore, 
remedial measures need to be undertaken as soon as cancer is detected in the body.
Various remedies available for cancer either try to put a check on the duplicating process of the mutant 
cells at genetic level or kill the entire collection of affected cells. The process, whether done chemically 
or through radiation, always runs the risk of affecting the neighbouring normal cells. Further, there are 
always significant side effects involved, which include hair loss, skin rashes, body pain, loss of body 
weight, weakness and debility, loss of appetite, diarrhea, bleeding, impotence, etc.
Usually, when patients reach the final or terminal stage, doctors stop all remedies and ask patients to 
leave hospital for home. Patients then die a slow, miserable and painful death.
What Ayurveda Can Do
The excruciating experience of dying cancer patients can be ameliorated by making use of Ayurvedic 
principles. Ayurveda can be helpful in the management of cancer in many ways such as—prophylactic, 
palliative, curative and supportive. Ayurvedic medicines help to improve the quality of life of the 
patients as listed below:
 Ayurvedic preparations can act as an adjuvant or a co-therapy along with chemotherapy or 
radiotherapy. It is also helpful in post-surgery care.
 Ayurvedic medicines help to minimise the side effects of these therapies.
 Ayurveda helps in reducing the therapeutic doze of the various drugs used as proved in some 
studies using cow urine.
 They can be helpful in targeting the specific tissues as shown in some allopathic studies on 
nano-particles of gold. 
 Ayurvedic preparations help to slow the progress of cancer in cases where chemotherapy, 
radiotherapy or surgery is contra-indicated, due to some reasons and patients have no other 
 Some Ayurvedic preparations can fight against tumours.
 The cell-protective activity of drugs prescribed in Rasayana therapy helps to improve comfort 
and the quality of life of individuals with cancer.
We describe some of the above benefits of Ayurvedic drugs in cancer patients.
As an Adjuvant or Co-therapy Along With Chemotherapy or Radiation therapy:
Chemotherapy is the first and significant medical modality of cancer remedy, which involves the 
introduction of strong chemicals. These chemicals target the fast-multiplying mutant cells. However, the 
toxicity they cause to normal tissues of the body proves as an obstacle. 
The use of antioxidants during chemotherapy enhances therapy by reducing the generation of 
aldehydes. Natural drugs, which are used as Rasayanas in Ayurveda, have also been proved to have 
antioxidant properties. 
All the drugs which are used in Rasayana therapy have the ability to reduce the three doshas or 
imbalances related to vaata, pitta and kapha. The most commonly prescribed Rasayana drugs are 
Triphala (Terminalia Chebula, Embellicaofficinale, and Terminalia ballarica), Guduchi 
(Tinosporacordifoia) and Punarnava (Bohherviadiffusa). According to clinical studies, such drugs have 
shown very impressive effects on protecting body from the side effects (of chemo and radio therapies) 
like alopecia, nausea, constipation, anorexia and vomiting. The patients who receive Ayurvedic 
treatment along with chemotherapy have shown more regularity in maintaining the chemotherapy 
cycles as the hematological levels can be maintained up to a normal state. More than 50 research 
studies on cancer carried out at various post-graduate institutes, have shown that Ayurvedic 
preparations are very effective as chemo-preventive and radio-preventive agents.
Interestingly, Snehana, that is, intake of various medicated oil preparations in a classical way a week or 
10 days prior to the start of chemotherapy or radiotherapy, has been found to reduce the toxic effects 
of such therapies.
Dr. Pratap Chauhan (B.A.M.S.) is a silver medalist in Ayurveda from the University of Delhi, India. He is 
an expert in treating the so-called incurable diseases, in Pharmacology and Rasashastra. He is also the 
pioneer in applying modern technology to the ancient science of Ayurveda. Dr. Chauhan is a member of 
various national and international health Associations. He also serves as the Chairman, International Cell 
to AIIMGA (All India Indian Medicine Graduate Association, New Delhi). He is visiting professor to 
Ayurveda Gurukula, Japan, Ayurveda Academy, Lithuania and a number of Internaltion Universities. 
Winner of several national and international accolades, his telemedicine project, TeleDoc, won him UN 
World Summit Award. He was also awarded the Best Ayurvedic Physician Award by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, 
former President of India. He is the founder of world's largest TeleMedicine Center in Faridabad where 
more than 150 Ayurvedic doctors work under one roof.

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