AYURVEDA & CANCER

Ayurveda is the 5,000-year-old traditional natural healing science from India and the sister science to yoga.   Ayurveda literally means the science of life or the wisdom of living in harmony with nature.   “Ayu” means life and “veda” means wisdom or science.  

Ayurveda considers the wellbeing of the mind-body-spirit, and is an integrated, multi-disciplinary science incorporating massage therapy, psychology, spiritual healing, herbology, nutrition and esoteric sciences.  

In Ayurveda, cancer is considered to be an imbalance of all three doshas--vata, pitta, and kapha. Doshas are bio-energies or building blocks of the mind-body.  

 

Every cancer has different root causes and therefore cancer protocols vary from person to person. However, ayurveda recommends the following general guidelines for all cancers. Please consult with your primary care physician before starting any alternative therapies.

  1. Food as medicine to provide nourishment, antioxidants, gentle detoxification and balancing of doshas. 

  2. Herbal Supplements to support immunity, digestion, natural detoxification and cancer fighting properties.

  3. Pachakarma or ayurvedic detoxification therapies to remove AMA (toxic accumulations), dosha imbalances and pathogens.

  4. Rasayana or rejuvenation therapies to build Ojas (life vigor), which can be further translated as natural immunity and strength in mind-body-spirit.

  5. Meditation, mindfulness and yoga are essential aspects of ayurvedic healing as they reduce stress, calm the nervous system, provide insight, and balance all doshas.

  6. Spiritual healing in whatever form feels good to you is also recommended because ayurveda considers true health to be harmony of the mind-body-spirit continum.

Healing the Root Causes of Cancer

Ayurveda seeks to heal the root causes of cancer. Ayurveda recognizes that genetics, diet, lifestyle and exposure to toxins can all play a significant role in cancer formation.  As a preventative and palliative medicine, Ayurveda places special importance on removing these causes through regular detoxification, rejuvenation and gut balancing practices. 


In order to understand cancer, we must better understand some of the potential causes:

Environmental Toxins

Exposure to chemical toxins is a well known cause of cancer in both ayurvedic and western medicines.  

Environmental carcinogens like chemicals, toxic molds, heavy metals, radiation poisoning,  can compromise immunity and cellular heath.

Gut Health

Digestion is the most important aspect of healing in ayurveda. Most imbalances and cancers are thought to originate in the digestive system.  Imbalances like weak digestion or poor Agni, can lead to an accumulation of AMA (toxic byproducts of metabolism) and constipation (retention of toxins).  

 

Wrong Diet

The American diet is ridden with processed foods, chemical perservatives, pesticides and toxic chemicals which harm gut health.   Ayurveda considers each human to require a unique diet to balance their mind-body types.  Most western nutrition offers the same basic nutritional profile to all people without consideration of doshas.  

Low enzymes

Enzymes are necessary for proper gut health, hormonal balance and numerous other functions in the body.  They facilitate the metabolism, absorption, and transportation of essential nutrients.  Enzymes also support the body's gut bacteria and the elimination of waste products out of the body.   Enzymes are abundant in fresh fruits, vegetables, and fermented foods. Cooking at temperatures over 118 degrees denature most enzymes. And because the modern diet loften consists of processed, pre-cooked and frozen meals, many people lack digestive enzymes and suffer from gastro-intestinal conditions.   

Lack of Probiotics

With the advent of antibiotics and pesticides, many people lack healthy gut bacteria.  Chemotherapy obliterates bacterial flora, and can often leave patients immunocomprimised. 

Viruses

Modern science has found that many viruses can lead to cancer.   Viruses lower immunity and can create carcinogenic metabolites.  If you have been exposed to viruses such as HPV, Herpes (all of them), Epstein-Barr or other viral conditions, it's important to take ayurvedic supplementations that fight viruses and support liver function. 

Unprocessed Emotions

Emotional wellbeing and mental health is another keystone of health in ayurveda. Many people hold on to past hurts, trauma, anger and resentment and these can lead to imbalance.  For example, anger can increase stress hormones like cortisol and read to inflammation throughout the body.  Feelings of forgiveness, contentment and happiness are proven to enhance immunity and homeostasis. 

Genetics and Dosha type

Genetics determine your dosha or mind-body type. Dosha means bio-energy and also refers to your unique ayurvedic mind-body-type. Every dosha (vata, pitta, kapha) has a predisposition to certain imbalances according to Ayurveda.  For example, Vata body-types are prone to suffer from insomnia, anemia, anxiety and low energy. Every individual is a unique manifestation of nature and requires a custom approach to wellbeing depending on their imbalance.  To learn more about your dosha and dosha imbalance, it's best to schedule a personalized consultation with an ayurvedic practitioner.

CANCER CAUSING TOXINS

Industrial toxins like dioxins, solvents, heavy metals, pesticides, fungicides, insecticides, and certain pharmaceutical drugs can cause cancer and disease. Most people have been exposed to some level of these industrial toxins.  Trace levels of pesticides have been found in tap water, cereals, and even in the umbilical cords of many newborns.  Toxins like pesticides can mutate DNA in cells and lead to premature cellular death.

Some cancer causing toxins are created inside of your body. Metabolic waste products from poorly digested foods along with waste materials released by bacteria, viruses, carcinogenic parasites, and cancer cells, can build up in the body and strain immune function.  These toxins are collectively known as AMA in ayurveda.  AMA (toxins) can collect in the system and disturbs homeostasis and cellular health if you're not practicing regular cleansing and detoxification. AMA (toxins) can lodge in various tissues or organs like the liver, skin, digestion system and eventually lead to diseases processes.  

Exposure to toxins is one of the reasons ayurveda recommends Pachakarma or detoxification for everyone, whether you're in health and in a state of imbalance. 

PANCHAKARMA

AYURVEDIC DETOXIFICATION THERAPY

Panchakarma is ayurvedic detoxification therapy that incorporates herbology, ayurvedic body treatments, lymphatic massages, and other purification protocols. Detoxification therapies helps purge out accumulated toxins from cells, organs, and systems in body. Benefits of cleansing include improved immunity, digestion, strength, energy, vibrancy, and mental-physical well-being. The two major organ systems I recommend cleansing in cancer are:

  1. Colon Cleansing 

  2. Liver Cleansing

RASAYANA

REJUVENATION THERAPY

After chemotherapy, the body's natural immunity tends to weaken. Building robust immunity or OJAS (life vigor/natural immunity) is essential in bringing the body back to homeostasis.  Strong immunity fights cancer causing viruses, helps remove carcinogenic toxins, and wards off disease.  Rejuvenative therapies are crucial after chemotherapy.

FOOD AS MEDICINE

Some basic guidelines for preventing and fighting cancer are: 

 

  1. Eating Organic seasonal fruits, proteins and veggies.  Vegetables and fruits are high in phytonutrients, antioxidants and contain cancer fighting properties. Eating with the seasons increases nature's healing potential.

  2. Eat according to your Dosha-type (mind-body type)

  3. Eat according to type of cancer type. Each type of cancer requires a unique approach.

  4. Avoid Cancer causing foods  

STOP THESE FOODS

  1. GMO soy and corn. Studies show GMO's and the pesticide roundup which is frequently used with GMO's are linked to cancer. Rates of cancer in livestock that eat GMO feed is higher. Sick animals create unhealthy meat, which creates unhealthy people. Foods Sprayed with Pesticides

  2. Heavily Processed Foods like white sugar, corn syrup, boxed cereals, frozen meals, etc.

  3. Non-organic meats

  4. Eggs are not recommended for daily consumption in ayurveda because they can lead to doshas imbalances. Eggs are the reproductive tissues of animals, and are considered to be "balls of hormones" that can disturb your own hormonal balance if eaten in excess. 

CANCER HEALING FOODS

  1. Plant proteins like lentils and beans are recommended for most people. Kitchedri is a staple detoxification stew recommended in cancer prevention and treatment. Check out a recipe here.

  2. Nuts and seeds like hemp, chia and almonds provide healthy essential fatty acids

  3. Organic fruits & veggies are naturally detoxifying and nourishing. Bitter vegetables like dandelions greens, bitter melons, and other leafy greens help reduce inflammation and fight cancer.  Fruits and veggies that are rich in Vitamin C and Vitamin A boost immunity and nourish damaged tissues. Think lemons, grapes, oranges, blueberries, papayas, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, and avocados. Basically most veggies and fruits. Do not limit to those listed above. 

GUT HEALTH

As mentioned earlier, gut health is the heart of healing in ayurveda. Imbalance usually starts at the gut, so what you put into your body, how your digest it, and how you eliminate it. 

  1. Eat According to Dosha Mind-Body

  2. Anti-inflammatory Digestive Teas like mint, chamomile, dandelion, fennel, cumin, and Dr. Seeta's beauty tonic is especially benefical to ward off toxic effects of chemo on hair and skin. 

  3. Enzyme-rich foods like fresh fruits, veggies and proteins. Enzymes can be increased by fermenting, sprouting, juicing, and cooked under 118 degrees.

  4. Juicing is an amazing way to get your vitamins, nutrients and enzymes.

  5. Fasting has been shown to kill and starve cancer cells through a process called autophagy.  In you're going through chemo, talk to your doctor about what kind of fasting if any is best for your condition. If your are low in weight or weak, fasting is not recommended for you. However, light nourishing and detoxiyfing foods like kitchedri is recommended.

LIVER CLEANSING

One of my first approaches to healing during and after cancer is liver cleansing. The liver is one of the most important organs for immunity, building healthy red blood cells and fighting cancer. Supplementing with liver herbs provides anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic support as well as removing toxins. Try this LIVER CLEANSE.

SUPPLEMENTS  

Depending on cancer type, stage, and your unique constitution, supplements are individual based on your needs.  But general guideline are listed below:

  1. Vitamins: Vitamin C, Zinc, B-complex, magnesium

  2. Anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidants herbs like Turmeric, Manjistha, and Guduchi. The Beauty Tonic is a mixture of the herbs listed above and a dozen other cancer fighting plant medicines. The beauty tonic nourishes the hair, skin, and scalp.  Herbs like Bringaraja support natural hair regrowth after chemotherapy. 

  3. Adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha, shatavari and amla enhance the body’s natural defense system and help buffer stress.  A good formula for adaptogens is the Everything Tonic and the Sports Performance Blend in our Performance Kit. These increase energy levels, strengthen muscle/bone tissues, and build Ojas (life vigor)

  4. Cannabis as Medicine (CBD, THC):  Cannabis is known as “sarvarogini” or healer of all diseases in ayurveda.

  5. Liver Cleansing herbs like guduchi, kalmegh, and dandelion root which are in the LIVER CLEANSE & PARASITE FLUSH.

  6. Heavy metal detox. Helps like spirulina, chlorella, and amla help chelate (remove) heavy metals from tissues. The herbal formulation Collagen is a great formulation to remove heavy metals naturally and also support synthesis of collagen. 

 

PRANAYAMA – Breathing Exercises  

There are many types of breathing exercises in yoga that can support you if you're living with cancer.   Pranayama are yogic breathing techniques that increases prana (life-force), reduce stress, and enhance feelings of inner wellbeing. Other benefits of breathing exercise are: 

  • Increased levels of Oxygen. Oxygen kills cancer cells.

  • Increased Circulation 

  • Detoxifies Lungs

  • Stimulates Digestion and Lymphathic Circulation

EMOTIONAL HEALING 

Cancer often has emotional roots especially in older age according to Ayurveda.  Releasing old hurts, negative feelings like anger, sorrow and resentment benefits immunity.  Forgivenes, love and kindness are other supportive practices.

SPIRITUAL PRACTICES 

As a mind-body-spirit medical system, ayurveda encourages people to cultivate faith and spiritual practices.  Again, choose whatever feels good for you. Spirituality is different for everyone. This is your practice and connection with your Higher Self.  Spirituality can improve mood, enhance immunity, reduce stress, and enhance general well-being. Below are a few practices:

  1. Mindfulness/Meditation

  2. Prayer

  3. Seeking Divine Love & Inner Guidance

  4. Listening to your intuitive wisdom of mind-body-spirit

  5. Spending time in Nature

  6. Plant Medicine Ceremonies

  7. Church, temple, mosque, or your yoga mat

If you'd like to learn more about how ayurveda can help you, schedule a session with Dr. Seeta to create custom path to wellness for you. Learn more about consultations with Dr. Seeta here.

Powerpoint Slides and recorded presentation of talk with Living Beauty