Introduction: A resurgence of interest in Ayurveda, other traditional systems of medicine, and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has resulted from the preference of many consumers for products of natural origin. The potential benefits of plant-based medicines could lie in their high acceptance by patients, and efficacy and safety. The most prevalent users of traditional medicine are individuals who have refractory conditions and nonlife-threatening conditions that may be chronic viz. neurological disorders, arthritis, etc. The second-largest group of users is those struggling with chronic, potentially life-threatening diseases, such as cancer and human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, etc. Both groups turn to Ayurveda and traditional system of medicine for a variety of reasons, such as management as the main treatment option and improved immune functioning, overall functioning, and quality-of-life (QoL) by coping with side effects from conventional therapies, and to relieve symptoms related to their illness. The upsurge in use of traditional system among cancer patients warrants evidence of safety and effectiveness for these interventions as concomitant to conventional cancer therapy.

Objective: This manuscript aims at a systematic review of published data on the effectiveness of Ayurveda/ herbal interventions as stand-alone or concomitant in the management of cancer.

Materials and methods: Literature search for clinical studies with specific terms was carried using search engines viz. Google scholar, PubMed, Ayush Research Portal, etc. and print journals, reports from May 2017 to June 2017.

Results: Various randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have shown that ginger, honey, turmeric, and ashwagandha are effective as add-on in chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV), radiation mucositis, and fatigue. Moreover, single case reports and case-control studies also reported with positive outcomes for Ayurveda as stand-alone and add-ons to conventional treatment.

Conclusion: Evidence for effectiveness of Ayurveda as add-on concomitant to conventional cancer treatment is substantial in comparison with Ayurveda as stand-alone, and this may help to develop integrative Ayurveda oncology treatment protocols.

Keywords: Ayurveda, Cancer, Integrative, Oncology, Plant.

How to cite this article: Gundeti MS, Srikanth N, Dedge A, Khanduri S, Dave P, Tripathi AK, Sakethram T, Reddy RG. Ayurveda and Plant-based Interventions for Cancer Management: A Systematic Review. J Drug Res Ayurvedic Sci 2017;2(2):64-80.

Source of support: Nil

Conflict of interest: None