Part 1: Prevention:
Cancer has become an epidemic these days. Cancer at one time
was not prevalent in North America and used to be a disease
of old age, but now afflicts almost one in two adults. Anyone
can get it – any age, any occupation, any personality,
the rich, the poor, the fit and the unfit. Kind, loving people
seem to get it almost as much as mean people. Animals get
it and even young children. Western medicine does not have
much to offer in terms of prevention apart from preventative
mastectomies (!!) and questionable cervical cancer vaccines
(vaccines pose dangers for the immune system).
Once a cancer diagnosis is established modern medicine pulls
out the heavy machinery:
Chemotherapy, radiation, surgery. Those treatments are quite
violent and invasive, and I suspect that sometimes the treatment
can kill the patient faster than the cancer would. The symptoms
are attacked at the surface, not at the root. When everything
fails, a person might then turn to alternative medicine; however,
by then it is often too late.
A Natural Preventative Approach
Ayurveda believes that whenever the body is not in harmony
with the natural laws of life, a build-up of ama (toxins)
and an imbalance of Vata, Pitta and Kapha is created, which
can lead to diseases such as cancer.
Cancer prevention is targeted towards creating balance and
harmony through diet, lifestyle, herbs, meditation, pranayama,
yoga and cleansing the body of its toxic load through an Ayurvedic
cleansing program called Panchakarma.
Ayurvedic Guidelines for Cancer Prevention:
* Consume plenty of foods full of prana (life-force) whole,
fresh, sun-ripened, enzyme-rich, alkalizing, organic and mostly
plant based. * Avoid processed foods, refined flour products,
hydrogenated fats, fast food, excessive low-quality meat and
dairy, micro-waved food and leftovers.
* Eat low glycemic foods that have a low sugar content. (Tumor
cells love sugar)
* Eat dark green leafy vegetables, especially those that are
in the cabbage family such as kale and collards.
* Do regular rejuvenation and purification practices such
as regular Panchakarma. Discover your unique body-mind constitution
and use herbs, spices and foods according to your unique individual
* Do the Abhyanga (Ayurvedic self-massage) every morning,
which will stimulate the lymphatic system to eliminate toxins.
Spices for Cancer Prevention
Spices not only lend irresistible aromas and flavors to dishes,
but have potent cancer-fighting properties.
Here is a recipe for a delicious tri-doshic (does not aggravate
Vata, Pitta or Kapha) spice-mix that has potent cancer-fighting
Grind in coffee grinder or spice grinder: 3 parts coriander
seeds, 3 parts fennel seeds, 1 part black pepper, 1 part cumin
seeds. Add 1 tablespoon of turmeric. Store in an airtight
jar. Saute´ briefly in ghee or olive oil then add to
vegetables, meat or rice dishes. When eating out, bring a
small jar of your spice mix and sprinkle it on food.
A few Examples of Powerful Cancer-fighting Spices:
Curcumin, the compound that gives turmeric its yellow color,
is said to inhibit tumor-promoting enzymes and interfere with
the growth of cancerous tumors. As a powerful antioxidant,
curcumin neutralizes free radicals that increase the risk
of cancer or heart disease.
Rosemary has potent cancer-fighting properties by blocking
carcinogen-binding to DNA, and modifying metabolic enzymes
to decrease the toxicity of a carcinogen. Since whole rosemary
seems to be more beneficial than its isolated compounds, the
addition of fresh rosemary to one’s diet may have more
benefit than taking it as a supplement.
Eat a little ginger with each meal, and your risk of developing
cancer drops significantly. Ginger not only kills cancer cells,
it also prevents them from building up resistance to cancer
Coriander seeds are the most cooling of all the spices that
significantly improve digestion and are a good choice for
people high in Pitta.
Coriander, rich in coriandrol, helps combat breast and liver
cancers. Fresh coriander is known as cilantro, and is particularly
powerful in detoxifying the body of heavy metals, such as
lead or mercury.
In recent research, fenugreek seeds were experimentally shown
to protect against cancers of the breast and prostrate cancer.
A naturopathic doctor from Germany told me that fresh fenugreek
is particularly beneficial for individuals with bone cancer.
Both the seeds and the fresh leaves are good for blood sugar
and fat metabolism, prevent hair loss and are beneficial for
Here is a recipe that is especially good for preventing and
Cabbage and Methi Leaf (Fenugreek)
Effect: Detoxifying and cleansing
2 cups cleaned and chopped green cabbage
1 cup fresh cleaned fenugreek leaves (spinach if fenugreek
1 tbsp olive oil
2 teaspoons pancha phoran (Indian 5 spice, available at Indian
salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
fresh lime juice to taste
Warm the olive oil in a pot on medium heat. Add pancha phoran
and turmeric. Heat for a few seconds to bring out the potency
of the spices. Add the cabbage. Mix in the methi leaves. Add
some salt and water to keep from burning. Lower the heat and
cook for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with some lime juice.
Ayurvedic Herbs for Cancer Prevention
There are many Ayurvedic herbs that have anti-carinogenic
properties, such as amla, ashwaganda, triphala, guduchi, holy
basil, neem, shatavari, gotu kola and brahmi. Consult with
an Ayurvedic practitioner who will put you on a diet and herb
program that is designed for your individual constitution.
An Apple a Day…….
Have a stewed apple first thing in the morning. Apples have
more pectin than any other fruit. They are high in flavanoids
and quercetin, the combination of which makes them exceptional
cancer-fighters. They have an impressive ORAC value (Oxygen
Radical Absorbance Value), which means they render potentially
cancer-causing free radicals
harmless. The trick is to start the day with a stewed apple.
Stewing the apple will enhance the absorption of all the potent
nutrients. Sip a cup of warm water with it. This is the best
way to start your digestion in the morning by enhancing agni
(digestive fire). Here is the recipe:
1 apple cored and diced (make sure it is organic, then you
don’t have to peel it)
1 cup water
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (optional)
juice of one half lemon
a little bit of sucanat or agave nectar
Mix apples, water, clove and ginger in a pot. Cook for 10
Add lemon juice and sucanat or agave nectar. Discard cloves.
Cancer is a sign that our internal environment is out of
balance. Prevention is the key. The time has come to give
more energy to preventative measures and educating people
on ways to live healthier lives. The ancient wisdom of Ayurveda
that can easily be applied by everyone, enhances the health
and immunity in such a way that cancer does not even have
Cancer & Ayurveda - Part 2: Treatment
Ward, L.Ac, Dipl. C.H., CAS
a Licensed Acupuncturist
and Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist in Santa Barbara,
She specializes in nutrition based on the principles
of Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine and Western medical
combines acupuncture, therapeutic massage, cupping,
essential oils, and herbal recommendations in her
the article "Oh Baby! Prenatal and Postpartum the Ayurvedic
- by Gina Tolleson, Santa Barbara News-Press, July 31, 2006