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Ayurveda and Cancer - A General Overview
by Renu Gulati


Ayurveda is considered to be the most ancient holistic healing system in the world today. It dates back more than 5000 years and the first textual references to it can be found in the Rig Veda. Subsequent ancient Ayurveda texts codified Ayurveda more comprehensively.

Ayurveda has a system of well being practices as well as a unique understanding of disease pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment. Disease pathogenesis is based on an understanding of the functional forces (doshas) namely vata, pitta and kapha. Vata is the functional force of movement, pitta of transformation and kapha of cohesion. All diseases are considered to occur as a result of an imbalance of the doshas.

Many diseases have been classified by Ayurveda , the ancient texts specifically state that the classification given is limited as the number of potential diseases is infinite. Just as the causative factors of disease are infinite so are the number of diseases.

Cancer does not have any exact direct correlation with any disease named by Ayurveda. Like any disease, it is treated according to the dosha imbalance. In some cases that may correspond with a named disease in Ayurveda and in others it may not.

Diseases and their treatment are assessed by an Ayurveda physician by means of a threefold process 'darshanam' (seeing), 'sparshanam'(touching) and 'prashanam’ (questioning). These days some Ayurveda Physicians also utilize western diagnostic methods but very traditional ones believe that there is no need as Ayurveda is complete in itself.

The unique pathogenesis of each disease is assessed and a treatment approach based on medicines, lifestyle, diet, detoxification treatments, mind-related and spiritual practices may be prescribed. Depending on the disease and its severity, a course of residential treatment may also be advised. Surgery is also a part of Ayurveda and is offered as a very last resort. The origin of surgery is in fact in Ayurveda and dates back to 400-200BC to a sage by the name of Sushruta, known by modern surgeons as the Father of Surgery. The tradition of surgery has mostly been lost in Ayurveda so if surgery were to be prescribed, a modern medical surgeon would usually be recommended.

Although Ayurveda does not classify diseases according to stages in the way western medicine does it does do something similar. It understands whether the disease is curable, manageable only, difficult to treat or untreatable. In any event some form of treatment can be prescribed, be it curative or palliative.

Ayurveda physicians have been known to treat various cancers at various stages using the methods described earlier. In some cases the use of western medicine is used alongside Ayurveda and in others it is not.

No case histories are provided here as each individual is unique and it would not be appropriate to come to a conclusion that a particular cancer can be treated in the same way as another. It is the understanding that Ayurveda does have a comprehensive standalone curative and palliative system for treating cancer that is important. However, it is important to choose an appropriately experienced Ayurveda physician. For guidance on choosing an appropriate physician please feel free to contact Renu at

Nutrition and Health
by Renu Gulati


(Renu Gulati is a Ganga Prem Hospice Ayurvedic Practitioner)

Renu Gulati

Ayurveda literally translates as ‘knowledge of life’. It originates from the ancient traditions of India and is over 5000 years old. It is an holistic system of health and well-being based on the inter- relationship of mind body and spirit.

Ayurveda provides a comprehensive understanding of nutrition and is of the view that good physical, psychological and emotional health is not possible in the absence of a diet suited to your constitution. In Ayurveda, there is no standard diet for all. To understand your individual nutritional requirements, it is advisable to consult with an Ayurvedic practitioner. However, all can follow the simple guidelines on healthy eating habits given below

Healthy Eating Habits
1. Always respect your food. Begin each meal by giving thanks to it.
2. Choose the foods according to your constitution.
3. Choose seasonal, local foods as much as possible.
4. Eat only when hungry so that you have the digestive capacity to process the food
5. Eat in a settled atmosphere as ambience is emotional diet
6. Avoid drinking with a meal as the digestive juices become diluted. If necessary you can sip on a little warm water. Never drink iced drinks with a meal as these dampen the digestive fire.
7. When eating, eat. That is, don’t read, watch TV or be distracted by too much conversation. Focus on food while eating it
8. Never eat when upset as food eaten at this time becomes toxic
9. Always sit down to eat to help put your attention on your food
10. Chew well, at least 32 times per mouthful. This enables the digestive enzymes in the mouth to do their work properly
11. Eat at a moderate pace to be aware of intake and limits
12. Eat freshly cooked meals to imbibe Prana (vital energy)
13. Reduce raw foods as they are harder to digest
14. Experience all six tastes at a meal (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent).
15. Leave 1/3 to of your stomach empty to ease digestion.
16. Sit quietly for a few minutes after your meal to consciously transform food into your being


Unhealthy Eating Habits
1. Overeating
2. Eating too soon after a full meal
3. Drinking too much water with a meal
4. Drinking very chilled water during a meal, or indeed at any time
5. Eating when constipated
6. Eating at the wrong time of the day, either too early or too late
7. Eating fruit or drinking fruit juice with a meal as this can lead to fermentation in stomach
8. Eating without real hunger
9. Emotional eating
10. Eating incompatible foods (e.g. fish with milk, salt with milk, fruit with meals, milk with bananas, yogurt with milk, melons with everything, eggs with milk)
11. Snacking between meals
12. Consuming honey when cooked or when added to a hot drink/substance. When honey is heated, the molecules become like glue that adheres to mucus membranes and produces toxins.

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