Nowadays we have many patients, acquaintances, relatives, and friends who are suffering from cancer. The management of cancer usually involves various treatments, including chemotherapy, radiation, surgical treatment, etc., depending upon the condition. These treatments exhibit good efficacy in some cases, even though they are causing tissue depletion elsewhere, leading to general weakening of the body.
Ayurveda, the science of life, is beneficial in the prevention, as well as treatment, of many diseases, including cancer. Ayurveda understands every disease primarily in terms of doshas (fundamental constituents of the body made of the five great elements), dhatus (bodily tissues), and mala (bodily wastes). These Ayurvedic concepts of diagnosis and treatment are usually out of the paradigm of western medicine.
While diagnosing a disease in the Ayurvedic system of medicine, the causative factors, along with other details of the disease, are studied and treatment is planned accordingly. The causative factors could be certain dietary or behavioral habits and, in some cases, previous illnesses as well. These causative factors have the potential to influence the homeostasis of the body in either way. Certain unhealthy causative factors can disturb the equilibrium of doshas, dhatus, and mala, leading to various sub-clinical conditions. Such sub-clinical conditions are conditions that do not produce any significant symptoms and therefore are easily ignored from the radar of modern medical investigations.
Cancer is one of the many diseases that emerges out of an environment in the body that makes it susceptible to various kinds of disease. When the cancer manifests, the complete focus of treatment is always on the malignant tissue – the sub-clinical conditions usually remain untreated, due to lack of awareness.
In other words, consistently unhealthy physiology can cause certain tissues to behave abnormally, which may lay the foundation for certain diseases, including cancer.
Understanding the sub-clinical conditions and going to the root cause helps prevent and treat such conditions. Our habits have such an influence on us that they can either make us healthy or create disease. With unhealthy habits of diet and lifestyle, the body starts to accumulate doshas, causing hindrance to normal body physiology. Such status of the body can lead to various defects in the tissues, making them vulnerable. This vulnerability, or impaired immunity, in tissues leads to diseases. Hence, treating such sub-clinical status is very crucial in terms of preventing many disorders and maintaining a healthy status of body and mind.
In cancer specifically, it becomes necessary to find out why abnormal growth in tissues has happened and which doshas are responsible for that. Doshas, along with weakened dhatus, manifest such pathology. This accumulation of doshas needs to be reduced, along with strengthening the tissues. This can be supported with Ayurvedic herbs that will specifically improve the inner environment and recuperate the tissues. For this purpose, along with the herbs, a proper change in lifestyle and eating patterns becomes a crucial link.
Recurring ailments affecting the same organ or tissues of the body make that organ vulnerable, causing a few abnormalities there. Liver disorder is a common example. Liver is the organ that is strongly responsible for the various primary functions of the body. With excessive alcohol and excessively hot and pungent foods, the liver organ loses its immunity, making it susceptible to many disorders.
Similarly, a health status of an individual that exhibits recurrent episodes of hepatitis can be weakened from chronic alcoholism and the accompanying fatty liver it causes. Overlooking such conditions and continuing an unhealthy lifestyle keeps worsening the health of the liver. Following proper daily regimen (Dinacharya) and seasonal regimen (Ritucharya), along with a few Ayurvedic herbs, helps to keep doshas under control. It also helps regain the strength of the organs and develop their resistance capacity for disease.
In general, in any cancer situation, along with surgical treatment and/or chemotherapy and radiation, starting an Ayurvedic treatment becomes helpful to improve the immunity of the the cancerous organ(s) and to clear the accumulation of doshas. This helps strengthen the afflicted organs, and thus, the chances of recurrence are minimized.
About Dr. Mahesh Sabade
Vaidya (Ayurveda doctor) Mahesh Sabade earned the Ayurvedacharya and Ayurveda Vachaspati degrees (or B.A.M.S. and M.D. respectively) from the University of Pune, specializing in Panchakarma, and received a Dharam Hinduja Scholarship for post-graduate studies and research at the Ayurveda Research Institute in Pune. Since 1997, Vaidya Mahesh has been running his own Ayurvedic consultancy and Panchakarma center in Pune. In addition, he works as Honorary Ayurveda Consultant to the University of Pune Health Center, and as Honorary Ayurveda Consultant on the Panel of Doctors for the State Governor of Maharashtra. He also teaches Panchakarma at the College of Ayurveda and Research Centre, Akurdi. He is a Founding Member of the Foundation for Education and Research in Ayurveda and Traditional Systems of Medicine, whose mission aims to encompass both education and clinical research, plus offering improved, low-cost Ayurveda services in rural areas. He is co-author of a book and CD-ROM called Aahar, The Scientific Diet. Visit his website, http://mindbodysoul.in/, for more.