From ancient medicine to modern medicine: ayurvedic concepts of health and their role in inflammation and cancer

J Soc Integr Oncol. 2007 Winter;5(1):25-37. doi: 10.2310/7200.2006.029.


Recent statistics indicate that the overall cancer incidence in the United States, in spite of billions of dollars spent on research each year, has not changed significantly in the last half-century. Cancers of the prostate, breast, lung, and colon, although most common in the Western world, are least common in the Eastern world. Allopathic medicine commonly practiced currently is only 100 years old. Although traditional medicine has been around for thousands of years, no integration exists between it and allopathic medicine. Ayurveda, the science of long life and one of the most ancient medical systems still practiced on the Indian subcontinent, can be used in combination with modern medicine to provide better treatment of cancer. This review focuses on the ayurvedic concept of the causes of cancer and its linkage with inflammation, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment. How ayurvedic medicine can be integrated with allopathic medicine is also discussed in this review.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / therapeutic use
  • Cachexia / drug therapy
  • Herbal Medicine / methods
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / etiology*
  • Inflammation / therapy
  • Life Style
  • Medicine, Ayurvedic*
  • Medicine, Traditional
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Neoplasms / therapy*


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic