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Ayurvedic treatment of Prostate Cancer in India

02 Dec, 2023

Blog author iconHealthtrip Team

The prostate is a small, walnut-sized gland that is part of the male reproductive system. It is located just below the bladder and surrounds the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine and semen out of the body. The primary function of the prostate gland is to produce and secrete a fluid that nourishes and helps transport sperm during ejaculation.

The prostate gland is a crucial component of the male reproductive system, and its secretions make up a significant portion of semen. It also plays a role in controlling the flow of urine and maintaining urinary function. Problems with the prostate, such as prostate cancer or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), can lead to various urinary and sexual issues, making the prostate an important area of focus in men's health. Herbal Remedies for prostate cancer

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Symptoms of prostate cancer

  • Frequent urination, especially at night
  • Difficulty starting and stopping urination
  • Weak urine stream
  • Pain or discomfort during urination
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection.
  • Pain in the lower back, hips, or pelvis
  • Discomfort or pressure in the rectum
  • Bone pain, which can be a sign of advanced prostate cancer that has spread to the bones
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble with bowel movements, such as constipation

Ayurveda is an ancient system of traditional medicine that originated in India and has been practiced for thousands of years. It offers a holistic approach to health and wellness, and Ayurvedic treatments for prostate cancer are based on the individual's constitution, or "prakriti," and the specific imbalances or "doshas" they may have. It's important to note that while Ayurveda can complement conventional cancer treatments, it should not be used as a sole replacement for evidence-based medical interventions like surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.

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In Ayurveda, prostate cancer is viewed as a complex health issue resulting from imbalances in the body's doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha), dhatus (tissues), and agni (digestive fire). Here's the Ayurvedic perspective on prostate cancer:

1. Dosha Imbalance: Ayurveda believes that an imbalance in one or more doshas can contribute to the development of prostate cancer. For example:

  • Vata Imbalance: Excess Vata may lead to dryness, degeneration, and mobility issues in the prostate gland.
  • Pitta Imbalance: An aggravated Pitta dosha can cause inflammation and heat-related issues in the prostate.
  • Kapha Imbalance: Imbalanced Kapha dosha might result in the accumulation of fluids, mucus, and congestion in the prostate.
2. Dhatu Involvement: Prostate cancer is understood to affect the reproductive tissue, known as Shukra Dhatu. Ayurveda considers an imbalance in this tissue as a key factor in the development of prostate issues, including cancer.

3. Agni and Ama: Ayurveda highlights the importance of maintaining balanced agni (digestive fire) for proper digestion and metabolism. When agni is weakened, it can lead to the accumulation of ama, or toxins, in the body. These toxins are believed to play a role in the initiation and progression of cancerous growths, including prostate cancer.

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4. Vikriti Assessment: Ayurvedic practitioners assess an individual's current state (Vikriti) in comparison to their inherent constitution (Prakriti). This evaluation helps identify doshic imbalances, tissue involvement, and overall health status related to prostate cancer.

Ayurveda takes a holistic approach to prostate cancer, considering not only the physical aspects but also the mental and emotional well-being of the individual. Stress, emotional factors, and lifestyle choices are taken into account. Ayurveda can complement conventional cancer treatments, it should not be used as a sole replacement for evidence-based medical interventions like surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.

Here are some Ayurvedic approaches

1. Herbal Remedies

Ayurvedic herbs, such as Ashwagandha, Turmeric (containing curcumin), Shatavari, and Guduchi, are believed to offer potential benefits for prostate cancer care:

a. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera):

  • Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Ashwagandha is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic inflammation is associated with cancer progression, including prostate cancer. By reducing inflammation, Ashwagandha may help mitigate the inflammatory processes involved in cancer development.
  • Adaptogenic Effects: Ashwagandha is considered an adaptogen, which means it may help the body adapt to stress and maintain overall well-being. Cancer and its treatments can be physically and emotionally stressful, and Ashwagandha may support the body's stress response.

b. Turmeric (Curcumin):

  • Anti-Cancer Properties: Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, has been extensively studied for its potential anti-cancer properties. It is believed to inhibit cancer cell growth and division, induce apoptosis (programmed cell death), and interfere with cancer-promoting pathways.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory agent and may help reduce inflammation in the prostate, potentially slowing the progression of prostate cancer.
  • Antioxidant Benefits: Curcumin acts as an antioxidant, neutralizing harmful free radicals that can damage cells and DNA. This antioxidant effect may help protect prostate cells from oxidative stress.

c. Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus):

  • Hormonal Balance: Shatavari is believed to help balance hormonal levels in the body. Prostate cancer is often hormone-sensitive, and maintaining hormonal balance can be crucial in managing the disease.
  • Immune System Support: Shatavari is thought to have immunomodulatory properties, which means it may help regulate the immune system. Supporting the immune system can be vital for cancer patients.

d. Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia):

  • Immunomodulatory Effects: Guduchi is known for its immunomodulatory actions, potentially enhancing the body's immune response. This may help the immune system recognize and target cancer cells more effectively.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Benefits: Guduchi also possesses anti-inflammatory properties, which can contribute to reducing inflammation in the prostate tissue.

It's important to note that while these herbs have shown promise in laboratory and preclinical studies, their effectiveness in treating prostate cancer in humans is not fully established through rigorous clinical trials. Therefore, they should be viewed as complementary to conventional prostate cancer treatments. Always consult with a healthcare professional, preferably one experienced in both Ayurveda and oncology, before incorporating herbal remedies into your cancer care plan. They can help you determine the appropriate dosages and monitor your progress alongside conventional treatments. Additionally, individual responses to these herbs can vary, so personalized guidance is essential.

2. Dietary Modifications

Dietary modifications play a significant role in Ayurvedic approaches to health and wellness, including the management of conditions like prostate cancer. Here's a more detailed explanation of how an Ayurvedic diet for prostate cancer may work:

a. Balancing Doshas:

  • Ayurveda believes that imbalances in the three doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) can contribute to various health issues, including cancer. The goal of dietary modifications in Ayurveda is to balance these doshas to promote overall health and well-being.
  • In the context of prostate cancer, Ayurvedic practitioners would assess an individual's constitution (Prakriti) and the current state of their doshas (Vikriti). The dietary recommendations would aim to pacify any aggravated doshas.

b. Incorporating Fruits and Vegetables:

  • An Ayurvedic diet for prostate cancer often includes a variety of fruits and vegetables. These plant-based foods are considered to be beneficial due to their high content of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
  • Antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, such as berries, leafy greens, carrots, and tomatoes, are believed to help combat oxidative stress and reduce inflammation, which can be particularly important in managing prostate cancer.

c. Spices and Herbs:

  • Ayurvedic cuisine is known for its use of spices and herbs, which are believed to have medicinal properties. Turmeric, mentioned earlier, is a key spice due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
  • Other spices like cumin, coriander, and fennel may be used to enhance digestion and reduce inflammation.

d. Whole Grains and Legumes:

Whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa, and oats, along with legumes like lentils and chickpeas, are often included in Ayurvedic diets. These foods provide fiber, vitamins, and minerals, contributing to overall health and supporting digestive balance.

e. Healthy Fats:

Ayurveda emphasizes the importance of healthy fats, such as ghee (clarified butter), coconut oil, and olive oil, which are used for cooking. These fats are considered nourishing and can aid in digestion and absorption of nutrients.

f. Hydration:

Proper hydration is essential in Ayurveda. Drinking warm water throughout the day is often recommended to help maintain digestive balance and eliminate toxins from the body.

g. Individualized Approach:

  • It's important to emphasize that Ayurvedic dietary recommendations are highly individualized. What works for one person may not work for another, as each individual's constitution and health condition are unique.
  • An Ayurvedic practitioner would assess your specific constitution and any imbalances to create a personalized diet plan that suits your needs and promotes balance.

While an Ayurvedic diet can be a valuable component of a holistic approach to prostate cancer care, it should be integrated alongside conventional medical treatments. Always consult with your healthcare provider or an experienced Ayurvedic practitioner when making significant dietary changes, especially when dealing with a serious medical condition like prostate cancer. They can help you create a safe and effective dietary plan that complements your overall treatment strategy.

3. Detoxification

Detoxification procedures, such as Panchakarma, are an essential component of Ayurvedic practice and are often recommended to promote overall health and well-being. Here's a more detailed explanation of Panchakarma and how it is believed to help eliminate toxins from the body and improve overall health:

a. Panchakarma Overview:

  • Panchakarma is a comprehensive detoxification and rejuvenation therapy in Ayurveda. The term "Panchakarma" is derived from two Sanskrit words: "Pancha" meaning five and "Karma" meaning actions or procedures. These five therapeutic actions or treatments are designed to remove accumulated toxins, balance doshas, and restore the body's natural state of health and vitality.

b. Pre-Panchakarma Preparation:

  • Before undergoing Panchakarma, an individual typically undergoes a preparatory phase called "Purvakarma." This phase includes practices like oleation (external and internal oil application) and sweating therapies to prepare the body for detoxification.

c. The Five Panchakarma Therapies: Panchakarma includes the following main therapies:

  • Vamana (Emesis): This therapy involves controlled vomiting induced by specific herbal formulations. It is primarily used to eliminate excess Kapha dosha and toxins from the upper respiratory and digestive tracts.
  • Virechana (Purgation): Virechana therapy uses purgative substances to cleanse the lower digestive tract. It is employed to remove excess Pitta dosha and toxins from the body.
  • Basti (Enema): Basti therapy involves the introduction of herbal decoctions, oils, and other substances into the rectum to remove accumulated toxins, particularly Vata dosha. There are two types of Basti: Anuvasana (oil enema) and Niruha (decoction enema).
  • Nasya (Nasal Administration): Nasya therapy involves administering herbal oils or powders into the nasal passages. It is used to clear toxins from the head and neck region, improve respiratory health, and balance doshas.
  • Rakta Mokshana (Bloodletting): This therapy is less commonly used and involves the removal of a small amount of blood to purify the blood and treat conditions related to impurities in the blood.

d. Post-Panchakarma Care:

After the completion of Panchakarma, a person is advised to follow a specific diet and lifestyle regimen to support the body's detoxified state and maintain balance.

5. Benefits of Panchakarma:

  • Detoxification: Panchakarma therapies are believed to eliminate accumulated toxins (ama) from various tissues and organs in the body.
  • Balancing Doshas: Panchakarma helps balance the doshas (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) by removing excesses and restoring equilibrium.
  • Enhanced Digestion: Improved digestion and absorption of nutrients are often reported after Panchakarma.
  • Rejuvenation: Panchakarma rejuvenates the body and mind, promoting overall vitality and well-being.
  • Stress Reduction: The calming and grounding nature of Panchakarma therapies can help reduce stress and anxiety.

It's important to note that Panchakarma is a specialized therapeutic process and should only be administered by qualified Ayurvedic practitioners in a controlled and supervised environment. The choice of specific Panchakarma therapies is determined based on an individual's constitution, current health condition, and imbalances. While it can be a valuable part of Ayurvedic wellness practices, Panchakarma should be undertaken with proper guidance and caution, especially when dealing with medical conditions like prostate cancer. Always consult with a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner before considering Panchakarma or any other Ayurvedic therapies.

4. Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle changes are a fundamental aspect of Ayurvedic practice, and they are particularly important when addressing conditions like prostate cancer. Here's a more detailed explanation of how Ayurveda emphasizes balanced and harmonious living, including stress management techniques like yoga and meditation:

a. Stress Management through Yoga and Meditation:

  • Yoga and meditation are integral components of Ayurvedic lifestyle recommendations. They are considered powerful tools for reducing stress and promoting mental and emotional well-being.
  • Yoga: Yoga involves a combination of physical postures (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama), and meditation techniques. It is believed to help balance the mind, body, and spirit. Certain yoga poses may be recommended specifically for prostate health.
  • Meditation: Meditation is a practice of focusing the mind and achieving a state of mental clarity and inner calm. Regular meditation is believed to reduce stress, anxiety, and emotional turmoil, which can be especially beneficial for individuals dealing with the emotional challenges of cancer.

b. Daily Routine (Dinacharya):

  • Ayurveda emphasizes the importance of a daily routine to align with natural rhythms. This includes waking up and going to bed at consistent times, practicing oral hygiene, and incorporating self-care rituals.
  • Maintaining a structured daily routine can help regulate the body's internal clock and enhance overall well-being.

c. Dietary Discipline (Ahara):

  • Ayurveda places great importance on mindful eating. It encourages individuals to eat in a calm and peaceful environment, savoring each bite mindfully. Proper chewing and digestion are considered essential for health.
  • Avoiding overeating and adhering to regular meal times are recommended practices.

d. Exercise and Physical Activity:

  • Regular physical activity is promoted in Ayurveda to maintain healthy circulation, digestion, and overall vitality.
  • Exercise routines should be individualized and tailored to a person's constitution and physical condition. Gentle exercises like walking and yoga may be particularly beneficial during cancer treatment.

e. Sleep Hygiene:

  • Adequate, restorative sleep is crucial for healing and maintaining balance in Ayurveda. Creating a conducive sleep environment and following a consistent sleep schedule is recommended.
  • If sleep disturbances are an issue during cancer treatment, relaxation techniques and herbal remedies may be suggested to improve sleep quality.

f. Emotional Well-Being:

  • Ayurveda recognizes the intimate connection between emotional and physical health. It encourages practices that nurture positive emotions, such as gratitude and compassion.
  • Supportive therapies like Ayurvedic counseling, known as "sattvavajaya chikitsa," may be recommended to address emotional imbalances.

g. Sattvic Lifestyle:

Ayurveda encourages a "sattvic" lifestyle, characterized by purity, simplicity, and harmony. This includes spending time in nature, engaging in creative pursuits, and fostering positive relationships.

h. Detoxification (Panchakarma):

Periodic detoxification treatments, known as Panchakarma, may be recommended to eliminate toxins from the body and rejuvenate the system. These treatments can help restore balance and vitality.

Ayurvedic lifestyle recommendations are typically tailored to an individual's unique constitution and imbalances. Therefore, it's essential to work with an experienced Ayurvedic practitioner who can assess your specific needs and guide you in making appropriate lifestyle changes. These lifestyle practices can complement conventional medical treatments for prostate cancer by promoting overall well-being and helping manage the physical and emotional challenges of the disease.

5. Ayurvedic Medicines:

Ayurvedic medicines can be prescribed to support prostate health and overall well-being. The selection of these medicines is highly individualized, taking into account an individual's unique constitution (Prakriti), current imbalances (Vikriti), and specific health conditions like prostate issues. Here's a more detailed explanation of how Ayurvedic medicines may be used in prostate health:

a. Individualized Approach:

  • Ayurveda recognizes that each person is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to herbal medicine. An Ayurvedic practitioner will conduct a thorough assessment, which may include pulse diagnosis (Nadi Pariksha) and examination of the tongue, to determine the individual's constitution and imbalances.
  • Based on this assessment, the practitioner will prescribe specific herbal formulations that are tailored to the individual's needs. These formulations are intended to bring balance to the doshas and address the underlying causes of health issues, including prostate concerns.

b. Herbal Formulations:

Ayurvedic medicines for prostate health often contain a combination of herbs carefully selected to address the condition. Common herbs that may be used in these formulations include:

  • Tribulus terrestris (Gokshura): Known for its potential benefits for the urinary system and prostate health.
  • Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens): Often used to support prostate health and relieve urinary symptoms.
  • Shilajit: Believed to have rejuvenating properties and support overall vitality.
  • Varuna (Crataeva nurvala): Known for its diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Punarnava (Boerhavia diffusa): Used for its diuretic and anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Gokshuradi Guggulu: A classic Ayurvedic formulation for urinary and prostate health.

These herbs are chosen for their specific qualities and actions that can benefit prostate health, including reducing inflammation, supporting urinary function, and maintaining hormonal balance.

c. Mode of Administration:

  • Ayurvedic medicines can be administered in various forms, including herbal powders, tablets, capsules, decoctions, and medicated oils. The mode of administration is determined by the Ayurvedic practitioner based on the individual's needs and the specific formulation.
  • The practitioner will provide instructions on when and how to take the medicines, along with dietary and lifestyle recommendations to enhance their effectiveness.

d. Regular Monitoring:

When using Ayurvedic medicines, it's essential to maintain regular communication with the Ayurvedic practitioner. They can monitor your progress, make necessary adjustments to the treatment plan, and ensure that the medicines are well-tolerated and effective.

e. Complementary to Conventional Treatment:

Ayurvedic medicines for prostate health are typically considered complementary to conventional medical treatments. They can be used alongside procedures like surgery, radiation therapy, or hormone therapy to enhance overall well-being and manage side effects.

It's crucial to emphasize that Ayurvedic medicines should not be used as a sole replacement for evidence-based medical treatments for serious conditions like prostate cancer. Always consult with your oncologist and work collaboratively with a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner when considering Ayurvedic treatments as part of your overall prostate health care plan. Individual responses to Ayurvedic medicines may vary, so personalized guidance is essential for safe and effective use.

Benefits of Ayurvedic Treatment of Prostate Cancer

  • Ayurveda considers mind, body, and spirit for comprehensive care.
  • Tailored to the individual's constitution and imbalances.
  • Helps manage PC symptoms and treatment side effects.
  • Ayurveda can boost the immune system for overall health.
  • Stress management techniques like yoga and meditation.
  • Promotes a balanced, nourishing diet to support the body.
  • Procedures like Panchakarma remove toxins and rejuvenate.
  • Focuses on emotional and mental well-being.
  • Encourages prevention and wellness for the future.

Find out the top Ayurvedic hospital and doctors in India - Ayurveda Treatment in India - Cost, Hospitals, Doctors | HealthTrip

It's important to note that Ayurveda is considered complementary medicine in the context of cancer treatment. It should be used alongside, not as a replacement for, evidence-based medical treatments such as surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or hormone therapy.

Before beginning any Ayurvedic treatment for prostate cancer, consult with your oncologist and seek their guidance. They can help you make informed decisions about incorporating Ayurvedic therapies into your overall cancer care plan, ensuring they are safe and appropriate for your specific case.

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Ayurveda views prostate cancer as a complex health issue resulting from imbalances in the body's doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha), dhatus (tissues), and agni (digestive fire). It considers prostate cancer as an outcome of doshic imbalances and emphasizes the importance of restoring balance through individualized treatments and lifestyle adjustments.