The incidence of Cancer continues to rise across the globe. In each part of the world, depending on the local environment and the native lifestyle, the body’s immune systems and digestive flora were attuned to what it would take to survive and thrive. However, due to the relentless urbanisation, man is becoming increasingly divorced from his natural habitats. As this large-scale migration to urban areas, and sometimes across the seas to distant lands, takes hold, the mind-body-spirit trinity gets a rude jolt. In the first flush, the enjoyment of the ‘luxury’ and amenities’ of the urban world blunts the signals that the body may be sending back to us. But the new life soon begins to take its toll. It is not surprising to see therefore that, the higher the rate of urbanisation, the higher the incidence of Cancer.
Prevention is key. If the case for preventative measures is strong for all Lifestyle Diseases, it could perhaps be said that it is the strongest for the deadly trio of Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes. It is critical that we listen to the body’s signals, so that we can take timely actions. We cannot allow our emotional stress to build up to a breaking point; we must strengthen our body & mind – by building a regular ‘practice’ into our daily routine. This should include a healthy dose of Aerobic exercises, stretching, strengthening and breathing exercises, and meditative practices. The more we live in harmony with the natural laws of life, the more we take in the life-enhancing gifts of Nature. Cancer is a sign that our internal environment is disconnected with the external environment. Keeping our internal environment harmonious with our external reality prevents the cancer cells from taking hold. Food choices play a critical role – see tips below. In addition, Traditional Medicine systems across the world have for long used adaptogenic herbs and plant-based high potency antioxidants, which help prevent various cancers. For example, several herbs are used in Ayurveda to bring balance to our ‘doshas’ (constitution), which helps minimise cancers of various kinds. Cancer drugs used during the last 20 years have been either directly derived from plants or from chemically altered natural products. Nine plant-derived compounds, including vinblastine, vincristine, etoposide, teniposide, taxol, navelbine, taxotere, topotecan and irinotecan, have been approved for use as anti-Cancer drugs.
Tip of the Week
Dietary choices greatly enhance or reduce the risk of cancers. For overall health and vitality, as well as for Cancer prevention, foods that are full of life-force (‘prana’ or ‘chi’)should be heavily present in the diet. These foods are primarily plant-based, whole, fresh, sun-ripened, enzyme-rich, alkalising and ideally organic. Low glycemic foods that have low sugar content are helpful, as are dark green leafy vegetables - especially the cabbage family. Cruciferous vegetables – like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and radish - can improve or maintain our nutritional status while we receive Cancer treatment. Another potent source is rejuvenative foods, such as sprouts, baby greens, wild greens, enzyme-rich foods, sea-vegetables and algae. Overly refined foods, saturated animal fats, hydrogenated fats, heated oils or fried foods must be avoided.
Nature’s Wonder Food(s) of the Week: Cancer Fighting Herbs
Studies undertaken by the University of Texas have shown that Cancer patients on a diet that contains Astragalus have twice the survival rate. It seems to be effective for virtually every type of Cancer. Brahmi, Tulsi (Holy Basil) and Calamum are helpful during meditation and help to rejuvenate the nervous system. Examples of immunity strengthening tonic-like herbs are Cleavers, Echinacea and Cat’s Claw.Rosemary can help prevent Cancer and age-related skin damage. Caffeic acid and rosemarinic acid are potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents. Carnosol detoxifies substances that can initiate the Breast Cancer process.
In Ayurvedic practice, Cancer preventative herbs are chosen as per each person’s ‘dosha’ (constitution). Some illustrative examples are:
Colon cleansing herbs or antispasmodics: like Triphala, Asafoetida, Skullcap, Ginger root, Celandine, Aloe Vera, Apple Cider Vinegar and Garlic. Examples of powerful blood-cleansing herbs are Shatavari, Turmeric, Burdock root and Red Clover. Other herbs for ‘Vata’ body types are Adaptogenics such as Ashwagandha, Siberian Ginseng, Holy Basil(Tulsi) and Mugwort. Herbs that aid circulation for ‘Pitta’ constitution are Milk Thistle & Gentian. To ameliorate ‘Kapha’, examples of expectorant-like herbs, which help dislodge phlegm, are: Black Pepper, Ginger, Cayenne Pepper , Cardamom and Trikatu.
Other than for purposes of preventative tonic use, it is important to consult a highly qualified professional when considering these herbs for disease management.
For Education purposes only; always consult a Healthcare Practitioner for medical conditions