Is Cancer Mentioned in Sushruta’s Book?

Sushrutha regarded as ‘ the Father of Plastic Surgery’ all over the world performed complex surgeries much before Hippocrates, Celsius and Galen even made a mark on the scene. His work Sushruta-samhita, is well known as the of knowledge about surgery  in ancient India. Through this article we intend to understand that did Sushruta in his book ever mention about cancer. 

Sushruta had great knowledge about medicine and surgery. Having walked the earth around the 6th century BCE,  he enjoyed the patronage of learned scholars. A student of Divodasa, who was the student of Dhanvantri (expounder of Ayurveda), Sushruta was a surgeon, philosopher and a teacher. Sushruta

 The most popular work of Sushruta was the Sushruta-Samhitawhich was in the nature of a collection of all the treatments that are possible in medical science. It is unbelievable that Sushruta mentions about plastic surgery and even C section operations in his works. These require high level of technology. It is strange that in those days when there was no such technology available Sushruta was able to find out means of doing these complex surgeries.

The topic under consideration in this article is if cancer is mentioned in the works of Sushruta?  Is an important question and it can solve many mysteries that are associated with medical science and treatment of cancer? If cancer is such an old disease it can change the way we look at the disease forever.

The Sushruta Samhita is primarily based on Ayurveda. There is a detailed study in the book about the diseases that can occur and how they must be cured. The language used is Sanskrit. It is not easy to understand all that is written. It requires a good deal of knowledge about Sanskrit and Ayurveda.

Some experts who have read the Sushruta Samhita in detail claim that there is a mention of cancer in the book. The disease is described as an inflammation on the body. It was named Granthi and Arbuda in the book. Blood cancer was called rakt granthi. The book mentions that these are like tumors that can happen in the nervous system, venous system and arterial system. These tumors are described as painful. It is also mentioned clearly that these tumors lead to the damage of the tissues in the body. Due to tumors the body fails to function normally and as a result there is a lack of coordination between the parts of the body. All this information clearly points towards the fact that the learned scholar was talking about cancer. This further goes to contradict the belief that cancer is caused by modern lifestyle.

The Sushruta Samhita also mentions about drugs that can cure cancer. The drugs were made from herbs like most of the other aurvedic medicines. There are mentions of herbs that have the capacity to cure cancer and also stop it from recurrence.

Some of the herbs that Sushruta Samhita mention about curing cancer are Rubia cordifolia, Curcuma domestica, Baliospermum montanum, Baliospermum montanum, etc. the list is a long one. In the last twenty years research has been done on these herbs. Most of the cancer medicines that we find today are derived from the herbs mentioned in the Sushruta Samhita. Due to the expenses involved some of the components are made chemically in the laboratories. These herbs and the components have proved very useful in the cure of cancer. As they are natural the side effects also reduce considerably.

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Sushruta also mentions the various types of cancer too. He says that sometimes the tumor can be surrounded with some more tumors too. He mentions that how these tumors are caused and what are the symptoms clearly in his book. For example he says that the main cause of blood cancer is pitta dosha. He also mentions the stages of cancer and how it slowly develops. He also mentions the treatments that can be given t handle the disease and stop it from spreading. He did not have enough technology. He mostly used medicines that were made from herbs to cure the cancer. He gives a detailed account of each stage of cancer in his book.

The details that are presented in the Sushruta Samhita about cancer are unbelievable. This is strange that for years the scientists were looking for a cure to cancer and these are mentioned in an a book written thousands of years ago.