Ayurvedic perspectives: Dr Reena Arora on breast cancer

Last Updated on December 4, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Ayurveda – an ancient holistic healing system that views breast cancer as an imbalance in the body’s Doshas, particularly aggravated pitta and kappa. Ayurvedic treatments emphasize the use of herbal remedies, dietary modifications and lifestyle practices to restore harmony and support overall well-being in conjunction with conventional medical care. In this discussion, Dr Reena Arora will explain Ayurveda’s approach and its potential in the management of breast cancer.

Dr Reena Arora is an esteemed Ayurvedic specialist with over 24 years of experience as an Ayurvedic practitioner. She has also contributed her expertise at the International Herbal Centre of Amrita Ayurveda for four years. Apart from this, she also actively engages in promoting healthcare awareness through various platforms including All India Radio.

What is Ayurveda’s perspective on breast cancer as a condition?

Dr Reena Arora: Breast cancer word is according to allopathy, according to Ayurveda, it is a combination of various diseases. There are three Doshas in Ayurveda, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. As a result of an imbalance in these, different diseases occur in our bodies. The basic emphasis should be on the balancing of these three Doshas. In breast cancer, we consider that these Doshas are deformed. We advise dietary regimes, and lifestyle regimes according to Ayurveda to prevent breast cancer.

Surgical and chemotherapeutic interventions often treat breast cancers. What role does Ayurveda play here?

Dr Reena Arora: Firstly, it depends on the diagnosis of the patient. If the cancer is diagnosed or has progressed to later stages, then the patient cannot just rely on Ayurveda. They have to undergo treatments like chemotherapy, etc. They can use complimentary ayurvedic medicines. Cancer can have a lot of other side effects. When patients undergo chemotherapy, they tend to experience hair loss, weakness, and lack of immunity. These things can be handled with the help of Ayurvedic medicines. Also, if patients follow proper diet and lifestyle routines, then they may need to undergo fewer sessions of chemotherapy.

What Ayurvedic herbs are suggested for breast cancer in Ayurvedic texts, how do they work, and how can breast cancer patients safely use them?

Dr Reena Arora: I would like to say this as a disclaimer that you should not consume any herbs or Ayurvedic medicines on your own without the advice and supervision of an Ayurvedic doctor. This is because every individual’s body is unique. We advise our medicines to address their differences and uniqueness. Ayurveda is a personalised system of treatment. The herbs that I am going to discuss, have anti-carcinogenic elements, antioxidants, etc. We can use Haldi (turmeric). The capsules containing curcumin can be used. Amla is another very good antioxidant. Ashwagandha promotes health and increases immunity and stamina. There are many other medicines as well.

Why is ‘green nanotechnology’ important in Ayurvedic breast cancer management?

Dr Reena Arora: Green nanotechnology in Ayurveda includes Bhasmas like Swarnabhasm. The Bhasmas in Ayurveda are so minute that they become nanoparticles. Their absorption in the blood is better and some Bhasmas can break the blood-brain barrier as well. This is the green nanotechnology that we use for breast cancer but under the supervision of a qualified Ayurvedic expert.

Can you share Ayurvedic dietary and lifestyle guidance for supporting breast cancer patients during treatment?

Dr Reena Arora: The tendency of breast cancer is more common among women during and after menopause. There are many hormonal changes after menopause. Some people undergo hormone replacement therapy to stay healthy. So, the oestrogen and other hormones that people take can be a reason for breast cancer. Therefore, limiting these things and correcting your lifestyle can ensure a healthy life. You should consume a protein-rich diet. Most importantly, women start experiencing weakness after they undergo menopause. However, family members and people around them do not understand this most of the time, and expect them to work in the same way and capacity even then. Women as well as people around them should understand and accept the changes in their bodies and its capacity after menopause. Women experience a lack of stamina and therefore, they should make some healthy changes in their lifestyle and food habits. Eating fresh is important.

Are there any potential interactions between Ayurvedic treatments and conventional therapies or medications?

Dr Reena Arora: There are no contraindications between Ayurvedic medicine and allopathic medicine. You can consult your doctor about any problems you may face. However, one should maintain a gap between these medicines. You should follow the dietary precautions asked by the doctor to be followed along with the medicine you are consuming.

How can Ayurvedic practitioners raise breast cancer awareness and protect women?

Dr Reena Arora: Women should consult a doctor immediately if they notice a lump. Many women experience lumps before their menstrual period which go away after the periods. Such cases also should not be ignored. There should be regular health talks as well as routine medical checkups, especially for women in offices and workplaces. This can also increase awareness about issues like breast cancer among women.

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