SIDDHA MEDICINE (Tamil :சித்த வைத்தியம்
Citta- or Tamiḻ-maruttuvam) is a system of traditional medicine
originating in ancient
Tamilakam 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.
Agastya 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
The Ministry of Ayurveda,
Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani,
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
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 .
* 1 History
* 2 Basics
* 3 World
* 4 Concept of disease and cause
* 5 Diagnosis
* 6 Drugs
* 7 Treatment
* 8 Varmam
* 10 See also
* 11 References
* 12 External links
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
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, Pitham and Kabam in childhood,
adulthood and old age, respectively, whereas in Ayurveda, it is
totally reversed: Kabam is dominant in childhood, Vaatham in old age
and Pitham 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), Pitham (fire) and Kabam(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
was celebrated in a grand manner on 14 April 2010, at Image
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
Siddha day was celebrated at
Trivandrum , Kerela, 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 Kabam — 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 Kabam are
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
kabam, 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 kabam, slurred in alcoholism .
* Kan (eyes): muddy conjunctiva, yellowish or red in pitham, pale in
* Thodal (touch): dry in Vaatham, warm in pitham, chill in kapha,
sweating in different parts of the body.
* Malam (stool): black stools indicate Vaatham, yellow pitham, pale
in kabam, 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
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, sulfur 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) Thaduvu 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 recipient.
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,
as a scientific medical system, even in
Tamil Nadu . Still, there are
a few ardent followers of the system who prefer
Siddha for only a few
diseases like jaundice . After some modern doctors, such as Dr.
Ramalingam, IMPCOPS, president, Chennai, C.N. Deivanayagam , tried to
Siddha system, a few modern doctors have started
suggesting Siddha. In 2012, VA
Shiva Ayyadurai , a Tamilian and MIT
systems scientist, launched an educational program for medical doctors
through the Chopra Center with
Deepak Chopra which integrates concepts
from traditional systems medicine such as
Ayurveda , and
traditional Chinese medicine , with systems science and systems
Tamil Nadu state runs a 5.5-year course in
Siddha medicine (BSMS:
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. There has been renewed interest in
Siddha, as many started feeling modern medicine is not complete and
changing its stands/theories frequently. The health minister of Tamil
Nadu in 2007 claimed that
Siddha medicine is effective for chikungunya
Siddha medicine is practiced by
Siddha family doctors (traditional practitioners), often referred
in Tamil as vaithiyars, have transferred knowledge to their children,
and Medically certified
Siddha doctors who have studied in government
/ government approved
Siddha medical colleges.
* ^ 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
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