Many patients with cancer use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in conjunction with conventional oncology treatments. Many types of CAM approaches for cancer are popular through the world. Among them, herbal medicines have a substantial place in cancer treatment and palliation. Cancer patients in the western world use CAM in conjunction with conventional care. However, in a developing country like India which is having some of the highest cancer rates in the world the situation is quite grim. Lack of early screening and treatment facilities coupled with high cost of treatment often compels patients to seek something alternative. Ayurveda and herbal medicines are one of the most sought after therapies for cancer treatment. In this article I describe the evolution of one of the popular herbal therapy called HUMA. This alternative cancer therapy was first advocated by Dr. S M Atiq of Lucknow in mid 1980s. This poly herbal therapy was derived from various important Ayurvedic herbs viz. Azadirachta indica, Curcuma longa, Embelica officinalis, Ocimum sanctum, Semecarpus anacardium, Tinospora cordifolia etc. Over the years the popularity of this therapy has increased many folds and the conventional medical world now have the positive opinion about this therapy.
Key words: HUMA, CAM, alternative cancer therapy, Ayurveda