Monday, June 20, 2011

Siddha System of Medicine (An Ancient Indian System of Medicine & One of the Oldest in the Universe) - An Overview

The Siddha medicine is a form of south Indian TAMIL traditional medicine and part of the trio Indian medicines - Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani. This system of medicine was popular in ancient India,Due to the antiquity of this medical system. The Siddha system of medicine is believed to be the oldest medical system in the universe. The system is believed to be developed by the Siddhars, the ancient supernatural spiritual saints of India and the Siddha system is believed to be handed over to the Siddhar by the Hindu God - Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi. So are the Siddhars, the followers of Lord Shiva(saivam). Siddhar's Total Nos are eighteen in them Agathiyar Is the First Siddhar.

Basics of Siddha Medicine

Generally the basic concepts of the Siddha medicine are almost similar to Ayurveda. The only difference appears to be that the Siddha medicine recognizes predominance of vatham, pitham and kapam in childhood, adulthood and old age respectively, whereas in Ayurveda it is totally reversed: kapam is dominant in childhood, vatham in old age and pitham in adults.

According to the Siddha medicine various psychological and physiological functions of the body are attributed to the combination of seven elements: first is saram (plasma) responsible for growth, development and nourishment; second is cheneer (blood) responsible for nourishing muscles, imparting colour and improving intellect; the third is ooun (muscle) responsible for shape of the body; fourth is kollzuppu (fatty tissue) responsible for oil balance and lubricating joints; fifth is enbu (bone) responsible for body structure and posture and movement; sixth is moolai (nerve) responsible for strength; and the last is sukila (semen) responsible for reproduction. Like in Ayurveda, in Siddha medicine also the physiological components of the human beings are classified as Vatha (air), Pitha (fire) and Kapha (earth and water).

Concept of Disease and Cause

When the normal equilibrium of three humors (vatha, pitha and kapha) is disturbed, disease is caused. The factors, which affect this equilibrium are environment, climatic conditions, diet, physical activities, and stress. Under normal conditions, the ratio between these three humors (vatha, pitha and kapha) is 4:2:1 respectively.

According to the Siddha medicine system diet and life style play a major role not only in health but also in curing diseases. This concept of the Siddha medicine is termed as pathya and apathya, which is essentially a list of do's and don'ts.


The treatment in Siddha medicine is aimed at keeping the three humors in equilibrium and maintenance of seven elements. So proper diet, medicine and a disciplined regimen of life are advised for a healthy living and to restore equilibrium of humors in diseased condition. Saint Thiruvalluvar explains four requisites of successful treatment. These are the patient, the attendant, physician and medicine. When the physician is well qualified and the other agents possess the necessary qualities, even severe diseases can be cured easily. The treatment should be commenced as early as possible after assessing the course and cause of the disease. Treatment is classified into three categories: devamaruthuvum (Divine method); manuda maruthuvum (rational method); and asura maruthuvum (surgical method). In Divine method medicines like parpam, chendooram, guru, kuligai made of mercury, sulphur and pashanams are used. In the rational method, medicines made of herbs like churanam, kudineer, vadagam are used. In surgical method, incision, excision, heat application, blood letting, leech application are used.

According to therapies the treatments of Siddha medicines could be further categorized into following categories such as Purgative therapy, Emetic therapy, Fasting therapy, Steam therapy, Oleation therapy, Physical therapy, Solar therapy and Blood letting therapy, Yoga therapy, etc.

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