Cancer Today Roadmap For Tomorrow
1. Glimpses of Cancer & its Management by AyurvedaIn Ayurveda, Cancers are called as “Arbuda” & it is described that, Cancer is a low grade, inflammatory disease; which increases very slowly. Further, it is also mentioned that, unlike other inflammatory swellings, Arbuda ( Cancer) does not ripen and swelling of Cancer is very stiff and hard on palpation.
The treatment protocol of cancer in Ayurveda is,
Debulking - first step is to reduce the swelling either by oral medications, Panchakarma & or coupled with certain local application of herbal paste on visible swelling. This reduces the hardness and size of the swelling, which is followed by next step of Surgery. Surgery – If patient is not contra indicated for surgery, then the best way to get rid of cancer is, to perform Surgery, by an expert Surgeon, who knows all about the anatomy of the body, & about the “Marma” ( certain very vital parts of the body, damage to which can be fatal), disease and has undergone full training of surgery. The next step is- Agnikarma – (Ancient radiotherapy) -local cauterization- so that remnants of cancerous cells are also burnt and prevents its spread & relapse. Finally to give Rasayana treatment. Rasayana - Rejuvenating medicines to improve the immunity and strength of the body.
2. How Ayurveda’s methods & principles can be integrated with today’s conventional treatment of cancer.I) Detoxification- Ayurveda emphasizes a lot on the detoxification procedures, called Panchakarma. These are five processes like- induced vomiting, purgation, medicated enemas, bloodletting & nasal instillation of medicines. It is said that through these detoxification processes, all causative humors and toxins can be expelled from the body’s various system. Following panchakarma, body’s tissues / system become more perceptive & respond quickly to the medicines. Then finally, in order to render permanent immunity & for healthy longevity, Rasayan (Immunomodulators) herbs or herbal combinations are given in various forms like Decoction, medicated Ghee etc., So that, the disease is treated in totality with less or no chances of recurrence or relapse.
Alternative to panchakarma
II) Pachan (Which means, One which improves digestion & cellular metabolism) – A group of special herbs’ preparations is called as “Pachan” herbs. These Pachan herbs are known to improve number of functioning mitochondria (cellularpower house which are constantly digesting food juices absorbed by our tissue & convert it to usable energy for our survival). Another unique action of Pachan herbs is, they remove intra and extra cellular free radicals & toxins, thereby reducing infliction of healthy cells by cancerous cells & also help in reducing inflammation of the tissue. Pachan herbs, due to their bitter alkaloids cut off sugar supply to cancerous cells, leading to “Apoptosis” (cell death) of cancerous cells. Due to these dual mechanism of actions – Protection of healthy cells and death of cancerous cells – Pachan herbs, prevent further growth and spread of cancer. Hence selected group of Pachan herbs play pivotal role in the treatment of all types cancers.
III) Diet- In cancer, diet should be planned in such a way that it should improve an immunity of healthy cells and should shackle cancer cells. Depending upon the case and patient’s constitution a diet is given. I generally give “Controlled Fasting & or Calorie restricted kind of diet”.
As per the articles published in various authentic journals from USA & UK like, Frontiers in Oncology, JAMA, BMJ etc, based on the number of clinical trials, it has proven positive effects of short term fasting, calorie restricted diet & Ketogenic (High fat) diet in the management of cancer, without altering the effects of chemotherapy. Thus, the outcome of this modern research corroborates Ayurveda’s Principle of fasting & consumption Medicated Ghee in moderation.
Last but not the least, many of us are unaware of the fact that, today’s best of the chemotherapeutic drugs (Like Paclitaxils, Vincristine, Campothecin,, Epidophyllotoxin etc. ) Are actually derived from the herbs!! & most of them are developed in west.
So, now it is a time to evaluate & use Principles of Ayurveda & Herbal Immunomodulators judiciously as an integral part of the management of cancer as chemo preventive medicine.
Herbs have pleotrophic effects means it can target multiple pathways and receptors to block the growth of cancer cells and at the same time it also improves an Immunity of a person.
It has been observed that, those who have taken integrated treatment of contemporary medicine along with traditional Ayurveda treatment under the supervision, they have better outcome than others in terms of relapse, recurrence, rate of metastasis and in improving quality of life.
Herbs like, Ashwagandha, Turmeric, Giloy, Moringo, Trigonella, Black raisins, Andrographide, have been found very effective when used as an adjuvant to chemotherapy. They reduce chances of relapse or recurrence and prevent the spread (metastasis) of the disease when started in early stages.
Conclusion- Considering the increase in the number of cancer cases due to early detection, it would be definitely prudent to incorporate Ayurveda’s dietary principles along with herbal Immunomodulators as a future roadmap so that person can have a disease free, healthy longevity.