By Dr. Hiren Raval, Ayurveda
Cancer is a disease in which abnormal cells in certain parts of the body divide uncontrollably and destroy tissues. Cancer is an umbrella term for a variety of diseases involving uncontrollable multiplication of cells. Some of the most common cancers are breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer and basal cell cancer. Earlier cancer used to be an incurable disease, however, now treatments are being developed. Ayurveda is also being used as an alternative option in the treatment of cancer. Various health institutions or facilities are including Ayurvedic techniques along with other treatments such as chemo therapy and radio therapy to help reduce side effects of medications. A pilot study found that Ayurvedic drugs have significantly reduced the side effects of cancer treatments in breast cancer patients.
Ayurveda originated in India over 5000 years ago, but only now modern science believes in its principles and hence more research is being directed towards natural therapies and ancient herbs. Ayurveda helps people find a path towards a healthy lifestyle as all of its treatments are natural. We all understand how prevention is better than cure and so here is a list of some common herbs, which according to Ayurveda have anti-cancerous properties-
- Amla: According to Ayurveda, amla is a super food. It is one of the richest in sources of vitamin C. Also amla contains compounds such as flavonoids, gallic acid, quercetin, phyllaemblic compounds, pectins, etc, thus making it the best fruit for rejuvenation of the body. Research has shown that amla extracts have the capability to kill and prevent cancerous growth.
- Turmeric: Turmeric or haldi is another herb which is being widely researched because of its anti-cancer properties. It also has anti- oxidant, analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. Curcumin is a principle component of turmeric which helps prevent cancerous growths.
- Garlic: Garlic is rich in sulphur, arginine, flavonoids and selenium. The bio active compound is formed when the bulb of garlic is chopped and crushed. Research has shown that garlic has helped reduce the risk of cancer. Studies from all over the world, US, France, China have all shown similar results in regard to lowered cancer risks with moderate garlic intake.
- Basil leaves: Also known as Tulsi, this is considered as a holy plant in India and is well known for its healing powers. Tulsi leaves are used to boost immunity and help reduce stress. Tulsi leaves also have anti – inflammatory, analgesic, anti- stress and anti- diabetic properties. Studies have also shown that tulsi has phytochemicals which can reduce lung, liver, oral and skin cancers.
- Other power ingredients that can fight cancer are ginger and ashwagandha.