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Siddha Medicine (Tamil:சித்த வைத்தியம்
Citta- or Tamiḻ-maruttuvam சித்த / தமிழ்
மருத்துவம்) is a system of traditional medicine
originating in ancient
Tamilakam (Tamil Nadu) in South India.
Traditionally, it is taught that the siddhars laid the foundation for
this system of medication. Siddhars were spiritual adepts who
possessed the ashta siddhis, or the eight supernatural powers.
Agastyar is considered the first siddha and the guru of all siddhars;
the siddha system is believed to have been handed over to him by
Murugan, son of
Shiva and Parvati.
The Ministry of Ayurveda,
Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and
Homoeopathy of the Government of India coordinates and promotes
research in the fields of ayurveda and Siddha medicine. The Central
Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM), a statutory body established in
1971 under AYUSH, monitors higher education in areas of Indian
medicine, including siddha medicine. To fight bioprospecting and
unethical patents, India set up the Traditional Knowledge Digital
Library in 2001 as a repository of 223,000 formulations of various
systems of medicine common in India, such as ayurveda, unani, siddha
medicine and homeopathy.
3 World Siddha Day
4 Concept of disease and cause
9 Siddha today
10 See also
12 External links
The Siddha science is a traditional treatment system generated from
Tamil culture. Palm leaf manuscripts say that the Siddha system was
first described by Lord
Shiva to his wife Parvati.
all this knowledge to her son Lord Muruga. He taught all these
knowledge to his disciple sage Agasthya.
Agasthya taught 18 Siddhars
and they spread this knowledge to human beings.
Siddha focused to "Ashtamahasiddhi," the eight supernatural power.
Those who attained or achieved the above said powers are known as
Siddhars. There were 18 important Siddhars in olden days and they
developed this system of medicine. Hence, it is called Siddha
medicine. The Siddhars wrote their knowledge in palm leaf manuscripts,
fragments of which were found in parts of South India. It is believed
that some families may possess more fragments but keep them solely for
their own use. There is a huge collection of Siddha manuscripts kept
by traditional Siddha families.
According to the manikandan, there were 22 principal siddhars. Of
Agasthya is believed to be the father of siddha medicine.
Siddhars were of the concept that a healthy soul can only be developed
through a healthy body. So they developed methods and medication that
are believed to strengthen their physical body and thereby their
souls. Men and women who dedicated their lives into developing the
system were called Siddhars. They practiced intense yogic practices,
including years of periodic fasting and meditation, and were believed
to have achieved supernatural powers and gained the supreme wisdom and
overall immortality. Through this spiritually attained supreme
knowledge, they wrote scriptures on all aspects of life, from arts to
science and truth of life to miracle cure for diseases.
From the manuscripts, the siddha system of medicine developed into
part of Indian medical science. Today there are recognized siddha
medical colleges, run under the government universities, where siddha
medicine is taught.
Most of the practicing Siddha medical practitioners are traditionally
trained, usually in families and by gurus (teachers). When the guru is
a martial arts teacher, he is also known as an ashan. They make a
diagnosis after a patient's visit and set about to refer to their
manuscripts for the appropriate remedies, which a true blue physician
compounds by himself or herself, from thousands of herbal and
herbo-mineral resources. The methodology of siddha thought has helped
decipher many causes of disorders and the formulation of curious
remedies which may sometimes have more than 250 ingredients.
Generally the basic concepts of the
Siddha medicine are similar to
Ayurveda. The only difference appears to be that the siddha medicine
recognizes predominance of Vaadham, Pittham and Kapam in childhood,
adulthood and old age, respectively, whereas in Ayurveda, it is
totally reversed: Kapam is dominant in childhood, Vaatham in old age
and Pittham in adulthood.
According to the Siddha medicine, various psychological and
physiological functions of the body are attributed to the combination
of seven elements: first is ooneer (plasma) responsible for growth,
development and nourishment; second is cheneer (blood) responsible for
nourishing muscles, imparting colour and improving intellect; the
third is oon (muscle) responsible for shape of the body; fourth is
koluppu/Kozhuppu (fatty tissue) responsible for oil balance and
lubricating joints; fifth is elumbu (bone) responsible for body
structure and posture and movement; sixth is elumbu majjai (bone
marrow) responsible for formation of blood corpuscles; and the last is
sukkilam (semen) responsible for reproduction. Like in Ayurveda, in
Siddha medicine also, the physiological components of the human beings
are classified as Vaadham (air), Pittham (fire) and Kapam (earth and
World Siddha Day
After former Chief Minister Karunanidhi's announcement of Tamil New
Year's Day as World Siddha Day, the first World Siddha Day was
celebrated on 14 April 2009, addressed by his Excellency Shri Surjit
Singh Barnala, Governor of Tamil Nadu. The second World Siddha Day
was celebrated in a grand manner on 14 April 2010, at Image
Auditorium, Adyar, Chennai; more than 2000 students, post graduates,
practitioners and traditional vaidyas participated in the
celebration. In connection with the celebrations, a website was
launched. The third World Siddha day was celebrated at Trivandrum,
Kerala, where Siddha doctors met on 14 and 15 April 2011.
Concept of disease and cause
It is assumed that when the normal equilibrium of the three humors —
Vaadham, Pittham and Kapam — is disturbed, disease is caused. The
factors assumed to affect this equilibrium are environment, climatic
conditions, diet, physical activities, and stress. Under normal
conditions, the ratio between Vaadham, Pittham, and Kapam are 4:2:1,
According to the
Siddha medicine system, diet and lifestyle play a
major role in health and in curing diseases. This concept of the
Siddha medicine is termed as pathiyam and apathiyam, which is
essentially a list of "do's and don'ts".
In diagnosis, examination of eight items is required which is commonly
known as "enn vakaith thervu". These are:
Na (tongue): black in Vaatham, yellow or red in pitham, white in
kapam, ulcerated in anaemia.
Varnam (colour): dark in Vaatham, yellow or red in pitham, pale in
Kural (voice): normal in Vaatham, high-pitched in pitham, low-pitched
in kapam, slurred in alcoholism.
Kan (eyes): muddy conjunctiva, yellowish or red in pitham, pale in
Thodal (touch): dry in Vaatham, warm in pitham, chill in kapam,
sweating in different parts of the body.
Malam (stool): black stools indicate Vaatham, yellow pitham, pale in
kapam, dark red in ulcer and shiny in terminal illness.
Neer (urine): early morning urine is examined; straw color indicates
indigestion, reddish-yellow color in excessive heat, rose in blood
pressure, saffron color in jaundice, and looks like meat washed water
in renal disease.
Naadi (pulse): the confirmatory method recorded on the radial
The drugs used by the Siddhars could be classified into three groups:
thavaram (herbal product), thadhu (inorganic substances) and jangamam
(animal products). The Thadhu drugs are further classified as:
uppu (water-soluble inorganic substances or drugs that give out vapour
when put into fire), pashanam (drugs not dissolved in water but emit
vapour when fired), uparasam (similar to pashanam but differ in
action), loham (not dissolved in water but melt when fired), rasam
(drugs which are soft), and ghandhagam (drugs which are insoluble in
water, like sulphur).
The drugs used in siddha medicine were classified on the basis of five
properties: suvai (taste), gunam (character), veeryam (potency),
pirivu (class) and mahimai (action).
According to their mode of application, the siddha medicines could be
categorized into two classes:
Internal medicine was used through the oral route and further
classified into 32 categories based on their form, methods of
preparation, shelf-life, etc.
External medicine includes certain forms of drugs and also certain
applications (such as nasal, eye and ear drops), and also certain
procedures (such as leech application). It also classified into 32
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, according to
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, or vadagam are used.
In surgical method, incision, excision, heat application, blood
letting, or 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, blood-letting therapy, yoga
Varmam are vital points in the body that act as energy transformers or
batteries. They form centres for boosting the vital life-force Uyir
Sakthi flow through the intricate nadi system of the body. Nature, by
its design, has protected these vital centres by placing them deep
inside the body or by covering them with tissues inaccessible to
normal attempts of breach.
Varmam is a holistic therapy on its own and tackles the body, mind and
spirit. A varmam expert understands the underlying links between the
body, vital life-force and the mind.
Varmams have been classified based on the type of pressure needed to
injure: (a) Paduvarmam (varmam due to injury), (b) Thodu varmam (by
touch); Thattu varmam (by blows); (c) thadavu varmam (by massage); (d)
Nakku varmam (by licking i.e. tongue massage); and (e) Nokku (by
staring). The widely used and recognised ones are the 12 Paduvarmams
and 96 Thoduvarmams; there is less consistency with the other
categories simply because of the way of application or the deeper
knowledge needed to apply them. In these categories, the Nokku varmam
is rarely seen practiced, as those masters who were able to do this
are almost extinct. Nokku Varmam exploits the 3-d sense of balance by
using subtle movements to induce the eyes of the
A varmam therapist needs to have a deep knowledge about the body's
nerves and physical structure to do an effective treatment. There are
only a few therapists existing in this world, and the modern siddha
world is trying to preserve this art of healing.
Siddha has lost its popularity after modern medicine was introduced.
Tamil Nadu state runs a 5.5-year course in
Siddha medicine (BSMS:
Bachelor in Siddha Medicine and Surgery). The Indian Government also
gives its focus on Siddha, by starting up medical colleges and
research centers like National Institute of Siddha and Central
Council for Research in Siddha. Commercially,
Siddha medicine is
practiced by Siddha referred in Tamil as vaithiyars.
Yoga and Naturopathy
^ Recipes for Immortality : Healing, Religion, and Community in
South India: Healing, Religion, and Community in South India, p.93,
Wellington Richard S Weiss, Oxford University Press, 22-Jan-2009
^ The Encyclopedia of Ayurvedic Massage, John Douillard, p. 3, North
Atlantic Books, 2004
^ "Siddha". Department of Ayurveda,
Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani,
Siddha and Homoeopathy, Govt. of India.
^ "About us". CCRAS.
Traditional Knowledge Digital Library website.
^ "Know Instances of Patenting on the UES of Medicinal Plants in
India". PIB, Ministry of Environment and Forests. May 6, 2010.
^ a b "Siddha - Origin". CCRAS, Department of AYUSH, Indian
Government. Retrieved 10 November 2011.
Ayurveda & Siddha" (PDF). Department of Scientific &
Industrial Research, Indian Government. Retrieved 10 November
^ "World Siddha Day". The Hindu. Erode, India. 16 April 2009.
^ "Siddha Day to be observed on 14 April". News Today. Chennai, India.
24 March 2010.
^ a b Master Murugan, Chillayah (20 October 2012). "Siddha Therapy,
Natural Remedies and Self-Treatment". Varma Kalai. Retrieved 31 May
^ "Pulse Reading in Siddha National Health
Portal of India".
www.nhp.gov.in. Retrieved 2017-08-05.
^ "Herbs used in
Siddha medicine for arthritis - A review" (PDF).
Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge. October 2007. Retrieved 10
^ "National Institute of Siddha". Chennai, India: NIS, Chennai.
^ "Central Council for Research in
Ayurveda & Siddha". India:
CCRAS. Retrieved 2010-12-25.
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