Treatment of Cancer in Ayurveda
Cancer continues to defy the advancements made by modern medicine and after many years of intensive research and new drug developments, it is still responsible for the death of millions of people. One of the issues with modern medicine is that even if the primary lesion is removed, a complete cure cannot be guaranteed as the causative factor (nidana) is not eliminated.
Ayurveda and traditional Sri Lankan medicine has served in the curative and preventive aspects of cancer since the ancient times - “Gedi-Vana-Pilika” (Oncology) has been a specialization practiced for many generations. Earliest written evidence of treating Cancer by Sri Lankan physicians can be found as early as 1680 BC in records of João Ribeiro2. Since 1879, some books written in Sri Lanka on traditional medicine are abundant in herbo-mineral drugs for Cancer. Even today, some indigenous practitioners treat various types of cancer effectively in those who seek traditional treatments at earlier stages of the disease.Ayurveda anti-cancer drugs have very limited or no side effects
Does Ayurveda drugs for Cancer have adverse effects?
Modern medicine for cancer has a significant deteriorating impact on the patient’s quality of life. Ayurveda anti-cancer drugs have very limited or no side effects, and does not show any deleterious effects on health. In fact, most of the drugs used in Cancer therapy has beneficial effects on other diseases as well i.e. Diabetes Mellitus, Hypertension, Hyperlipidemia etc.
Is it possible for a drug that has beneficial effects on healthy cells to have deleterious effects on cancer cells?
Yes. The energy metabolism in cancer cells is different than that of healthy cells. And the defense mechanisms in cancer cells are premature compared to normal cells in the body. Furthermore, the harmful herbs or minerals used in some of the herbo-mineral compounds are made less toxic to the normal cells by special procedure called shodana and marana. Plus, each of these drugs are carefully formulated not to severely derange any of the three doshas in balance. This is an art well explained in the pharmacology of Ayurveda.
If the cancer is cured using above procedures, will it recur?
No. Once the root cause is removed, it will not recur. It is important to bear in mind that Cancer is only the rupa (clinical manifestation) of the nidana (causative factor). This is why the cancer recur after few years even if the primary lesion is removed i.e. by surgical resection, radiotherapy etc. As we discussed in the general line of treatment for cancer, the first few steps mainly deals with the removal of this nidana from the body.
Is it possible to stop metastasis?
Yes. If deranged Kapha that is accumulated in the body is eliminated by shodana (purification / detoxifying) procedures like nasya etc and by Kapha nissaraka (Kapha eliminating) drugs, it removes the ‘seat’ of cancer thus preventing further progression of cancer. Along with this, vata-pacifying drugs has to be administered as well, because vata is responsible for the proliferation and metastasis of cancer
Many observations suggest that the anatomic localization of a neoplasm and its venous drainage cannot wholly explain the systemic distributions of metastases. For example, prostatic carcinoma preferentially spreads to bone, bronchogenic carcinomas tend to involve the adrenals and the brain, and neuroblastomas spread to the liver and the bones. Conversely, skeletal muscles, although rich in capillaries, are rarely the site of secondary deposits.
Spiritual approach, Yoga, Meditation… Happy state of Mind
Mental stability of the patient facilitates the curing of any disease. Especially in Cancer, psychological state of the patient should be corrected along with physical state. This can be done by encouraging the patient to take part in spiritual activities according to his/her religion. Yoga and Meditation can be practiced regardless of their religion. The balanced / happy / peaceful state of mind achieved through these practices help restore the balance in body as well.