Ayurveda and Cancer - A General Overview
by Renu Gulati
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org