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Cancer Treatment in Ayurvedic System - Dr. Z. Jacob

Athulya Ayurvedic Medical Research Centre (AAMRC),
Mundikkalthazham, Kottamparamba
P.O. Medical College - Karanthoor Road
Calicut - 673008, Kerala, India,
Tel : 0495-358016, 356391
E-mail :,


A Novel hypothesis of cancer has been developed. Cancer is defined as a deficiency syndrome expressed as adverse allergic manifestations affecting Vata, Pita, Kapha and Dhadhu. The hypothesis is expressed mathematically as follows:

BMA (Balanced Metabolic Activities)Normal stage
IBMA (Imbalanced Metabolic Activities)Diseased stage
ie: IBMA a 1/ BMADiseased stage
ie: IBMA = k/BMA
Where k is the balancing constant Therefore k is a function of IBMA
k/BMA ……..primary stage
k '/BMA …... secondary stage
k''/BMA ……advanced stage

The progress of the disease can be expressed as follows.

A classification of 56 types of cancers based on Thridhosha and Dhadhudhosha (dwidhiya) are also advocated. Further classifications based on Thridhiya combinations need thorough rationalization and research.
Novel ayurvedic therapeutic protocols have been developed for effective treatment, cure, relief of pain and sufferings and extension of life span of many cancer patients at AAMRC, Calicut, based on the Thridhosha and Dhadhudhosha principles.
Many of the treated patients now live like normal individuals having no signs of the disease. Of the many patients treated and benefited, a list of representative categories (disease wise) of patients is also presented in the paper for reference. This necessitates fresh demand for thorough and unbiased research and commitment for development of newer and modified protocols for cancer treatment.


There has been an alarmingly increased incidence of cancer (Arbhudha) since the latter part of the last century. Contrary to the minimal incidence rate in earlier days, the current higher rate of this maharogha has been attributed to change of life style, food habits, exposure to pollution, drug abuse and misuse, infections, radiations etc. Increased awareness of the disease and facilities for detection are other causes to exhibit the high number of cases. This needs a retrospection and forces the modern man to adopt an environment wherein incidence of the maharogas is controlled to the minimum. Of the many alternatives, clean water, air and environment and Ayurvedic practices find prime importance in the list.

According to the Ayurvedic system of medicine the dreaded cancer is defined as a disease wherein certain predisposing complaints of impure gas, bile, phlegm, blood, protein or fat develop primarily non-malignant and painless round or deep rooted plaques/cysts which gradually spread and excruciate severe pain. Of the various types, cancer caused by impure blood or protein are incurable. Others are curable provided the patient receives early medical attention and systematic treatment depending on the types of impurities that caused the disease, (Ashtangahridaya). The Ashtangahridaya explanations given for cancer affecting glands, thyroid, vocal cord, blood etc. are more descriptive than those of modern sciences. The Ayurvedic Acharyas described the prognosis and method of treatment in the form of psalms (slokas), but it is very difficult to comprehend them in the absence of full explanations in vernacular. However, one can apparently make out certain principles that are almost similar to what is now available in modern medical sciences. For example, terms like dysplasia, metastasis and stages III & IV (advanced stages) manifesting the presence of highest degree of impurities that could not be expelled from the system, leading to excruciation and ultimate death.

In the ancient times, the incidence of cancer might have been very rare while the life style itself was in attunement with the nature, and the people were taking only appropriate natural
'Ayurvedic' medicines (not chemical based as of now) whenever any treatment was needed at all. This regimen thrived well with the same state of the art till the colonial rule in India. The period prior to the colonial rule did not witness any effective attempts by any one to contribute substantially as the then system was profoundly infallible. Also it might have been found enough to satisfy the then prevailing health and socio-economic status of the society. Thus further progress was at stand still. The downfall of its popularity started with the introduction of allopathic system by colonial rule. With the passage of time nobody dared to go for Ayurvedic treatment and solely depended on allopathic system. The limitations of this system for the treatment of patients with stages III and IV are well known. Even now it is noteworthy to mention that nobody put efforts to understand and research by taking leads from the learnings of Acharayas.


Our recent hypothesis is that cancer is a deficiency syndrome expressed as allergic manifestation affecting Vata, Pita, Kapha, and Dhadhu. Factor k represents insufficiency factor for primary stage, k' secondary stage and k" for advanced stage patients, respectively.

To arrive at the above hypothesis mainly four aspects, viz., balanced metabolic activities (BMA), imbalanced metabolic activities (IBMA), Maladhosha of Thridhosha and dhadhu and presence of factor k have been considered. Normal individuals have sufficiency in all factors responsible for non-allergenicity to carcinogenic agents and the maladhoshas are cleared from the system in normal fashion. While in cancer patients who are insufficient in certain factors and possessing factor k responsible for allergenic to various agents and the maladhoshas are not cleared properly.

In primary stage patients who are exposed to allergic agents, the body system acts defensively resulting in elevated body temperature, gas, high density fluids (neoplasmic fluid, phlegm, or mucosal fluids) so that the maladhosha could be excreted through sweat, urine or stool. All the cancer patients are allergic to any of the chemical based drugs like sulphadrugs, antibiotics, exposure to chemicals, radiations or microbial agents in nature and eatables like fish, meat, milk and so on. But, when this physiological abnormality of allergenicity is not effectively controlled the intensity of the maladhosha production and retention would be multiplied in many folds and thereby affecting the other vital metabolic activities to stand still. The maladhoshas are excreted partially in cancer patients. The high density neoplasmic fluids rich in protein and salts are of no use to the system and cannot be translocated fully to the kidneys for filteration. In primary stage patients, some degree of filteration might be possible but it progressively ends with calculi formations. Similar observations can also be made with in the functions of gall bladder, pancreas, spleen etc. In certain other instances the maladhoshas while translocation gets localized or circulated in the system through blood or lymph and develop regional lymph nodes or vessel nodes. As the situation progresses more number of similar nodes are thus formed and they gradually develop ulceroproliferative lesions with severe pain. In other instances, obnoxious gas, phlegm, or mucus secretion are blocked their passage in regions of injury and trauma affected aspects, develop severe pain and sufferings to the patient. Thus, depending on the intensity of maladhosha (deficiencies caused by impurities discharges on account of Thridhosha and Dhadhudhoshas) retention and excretion of maladhosha the prognosis can be classified as primary, secondary and advanced stages.

The above hypothesis is expressed mathematically as follows :

BMA (Balanced Metabolic Activities)Normal stage
IBMA (Imbalanced Metabolic Activities)Diseased stage
ie: IBMA a 1/ BMADiseased stage
ie: IBMA = k/BMA
Where k is the balancing constant Therefore k is a function of IBMA
k/BMA ……..primary stage
k '/BMA …... secondary stage
k''/BMA ……advanced stage

The progress of the disease can be expressed as follows :

Classification of Cancer

According to the modern system of medicines, there are more than hundred kinds of cancers. In Ayurveda, in general there are six types of cancer, based on Thridhoshas. Dhadhudhoshas is also associated with all types of cancers. When Dhadudhosha along with Thridhosha are considered, this can be broadly classified into 56 categories (Table 1). They are Thridhoshas independently (3), Thridhoshas together (1), Thridhoshas in dwidheeya forms (3) Dhadhudhoshas (7) Thridhosha and dhadhudhosha combinations (21) and Dhadhudhosha combinations (21). This classification raises the question, why there may not be more number of dhadhu combinations (3,4,5,6,7) with Thridhoshas. Probably, the answer is that such combinations may or may not exist in nature. We have worked out to find out possible combinations of Dwideeya forms of Thridhosha - Dhadudhosha against Thridhosha and Dhadu independently and we got '270' different Thridhiya types of Thridhosha - Dhadudosha combinations. Of these, 164 contain thridhoshas (either independently or Dwidhiya combination) with Dhadhu (independently or Dwidhiya). The remaining categories (106) do not contain Thridhoshas. This needs to be thoroughly examined for further discussion and research.

Treatment at AAMRC

Based on the above principles AAMRC has been engaged in treatment of different kinds of cancer patients for the last six years. Suited upakarmas are performed initially so as to enable the patients fit for effective treatment under strict dietary habits. Atmost care was taken in controlling the allergic manifestation while simultaneously treating with anti-vata, anti pitha and anti kapha medicines. Upakarmas include virechanam, Vamanam, Nasyam, Snehakriya and Rhaktamoksham (blood purification). These karmas are performed according to the discretion of the physician. Further supportive therapy is based on Thridhosha and Dhadudosha principles.

A list of representative examples of each type of cancer patients (of different stages) who have undergone treatment at AAMRC, Calicut is given in Table 2. We proudly announce that the above mentioned patients no longer show any sign of the disease. They do their work and live like normal individuals. This achievement is a milestone in the annals of 'Ayuveda' which must be written in golden letters.


It was earlier reported (Jacob 1998) that cancer is a disease of allergic manifestation affecting the Thridhosha and Dhadhus. These allergic manifestations are due to changing dietary habits, misuse of drugs, pollution etc. and are exhibited in increased levels of Vata, Pitha, Kapha and their permuted forms with Dwithiya forms of Dhadhudhosha (Synovial fluids, Blood, Flesh, Fat, Bone, Bone marrow and suklum). It is to be born is mind that Dwidhiya doshas either of Thridhosha or dhadudhosha are heinous. Samathridhosha and samadhadhus are safe and show healthy nature from the very beginning of life of an individual. This is explained in the verse.

In other words, the fate of living beings prone to disease is inscribed from the very moment of fertilization in mothers womb. The environment in which the fetus is born and the factors endorsed from maternal and faternal sides are also important in determining the health and life span of every individual. Progenies born with deficiency factor k would succumb to cancer, unless the deficiency is controlled. This statement holds good when we see thousands of new born babies with various types of cancers in many hospitals around the world.

The expression of factor k can be delayed by giving simultaneous shodhana chikilsa proper anti-allergic medication and proper medicines for balancing Thridhosha and Dhadhus. Therefore the above protocol has to be repeated periodically as and when required in patients with deficiency factor k. This tells the importance of Ayurveda in the treatment of cancer. Therefore a general protocol can be advocated and it may have (1) Shodana chikilsa and (2) Control of allerginicity as the primary step and simultaneous. As a next step a clever Ayurvedic physician would therefore diagnose the prime dhoshas (either of Thridhosha or Dhadhudhosha) and effectively treat patients with discretion and hence it would be possible to cure most of the cancer patients.

Acknowledgments :

The author is thankful for the creative suggestions given by Dr. K.V. Warrier and Mr. Gopinathan Nair (AAMRC) and for excellent manuscript printing by Mr. K. Subair (AAMRC).

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