Siddha medicine is known to be one of the foremost traditional medical systems in the country of India.
The Siddha System of Medicine (Traditional Tamil System of medicine), which has been prevalent within the ancient Tamil land, is that the foremost of all other medical systems in the world. Its origin goes back to B.C 10,000 to B.C 4,000. As per the textual and archeological evidence which indicate the remote antiquity of the Dravidian civilization of the erstwhile submerged land Kumarikandam, that’s the Lemuria continent situated within the Indian Ocean, the Siddha System of medication is contemporaneous with those of the submerged lands Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Chinese and Grecian medicines. The distinctiveness of the Siddha System is evident by its continuous service to humanity for more than 5000 years in combating diseases and also in maintaining its physical, mental, and moral health while many of its contemporaries had become extinct long ago.
The roots of the traditional Siddha System are intertwined with the mythology and culture of the ancient Tamil civilization that existed in the southernmost tip of the Indian peninsula, predating much of recorded history.
According to the lore, Lord Shiva passed on the knowledge of medicine to Parvati, his wife. it was further conveyed from her to Nandi and eventually to the Siddhas. The word Siddha is used to suggest those that have attained some extraordinary powers which are called “siddhi”. The powers pointed towards the discipline of mind and its control over the body and were established with the practice of Yoga and medicine this was achieved.
In South India, the traditional Tamils or Dravidians Siddha is the mother of medicine. The folks that identified with the event of such a Siddha school of thought became known as Siddhars. They documented their spiritual studies in Tamil medicine, yoga, and astrology depicting Siddha medicines, Siddha herbs, and its concepts.
The Concept of Siddha Medicine
The system is claimed to possess emerged in antiquity, from the highly evolved consciousness of the Siddhars. The clarified intellect and heightened intuition of the Siddhars, resulting from their yogic powers, enabled them to explore the world around them and explore its natural resources for the sake of humanity. Their findings on the characteristics of plants, metals, minerals, and animal products and their knowledge of the properties of medicine, its purification, processing, fixing dosage, toxicity, antidote, and clinical application were preserved within the type of verses for the utilization of the posterity.
This unique legacy was bequeathed to pick out disciples or “chidas” by word of mouth. it’s believed that there was a line of 18 siddhars, with Agasthya being the foremost and a large portion of Siddha lore is credited to him. With time, this oral tradition was transcribed on palm leaf manuscripts that now serve as the main repository of the knowledge.
The contributors of the Siddha system, the Siddhars, of Tamil land, were mystics, yogis, poets, devotees, seers, and medical men of varied combinations and various statures. They were superhuman beings who possessed supernatural powers (like Eight forms of Siddhis). They were the best scientists of the earlier periods and were the guardians of the planet and that they existed, and still exist, for the advantage of the general public at large.
They were men of great practical knowledge and wisdom. they had full awareness of the nature and activities of all the objects on this planet and of all times-past, present, and future. They were mainly liable for the growth and development not only of Tamil medicine that has alchemy, medicine, yoga, Kayakalpa (rejuvenation therapy), philosophy, astronomy, astrology, Varma, Muppu, Thokkanam, etc. but also for several other sciences of public utility.
The Concept of Siddha Principles
According to the Siddha system, the individual is a microcosm of the universe. The human body consists of the five primordial elements-earth, water, fire, air, and space, the three humours-vatha, pitta, and Kapha and 7 physical constituents. Food is the basic building material of the physical body and gets processed into humours, tissues, and wastes. The equilibrium of humours is taken into account as health and its disturbance or imbalance results in a diseased state; Saint Thiruvalluvar has indicated a similar view in his Thirukural.
Reflecting this theory of cosmic oneness, the five senses are said to correspond with the five elements. Ether (Veli) is responsible for hearing; air (katru) for the sense of touch; fire (thee) for sight; water (neer) for taste; and earth (Mann) for the sense of smell.
Siddha is a comprehensive system that places equal emphasis on the body, mind, and spirit and strives to revive the innate harmony of the individual. Treatment is aimed toward restoring balance to the mind-body system. Diet and lifestyle play a significant role not only in maintaining health but also in curing diseases. This concept of Siddha medicine is termed as pathiam and apathiam, which is actually a list of do’s and don’ts.
Diagnostic Methodology and Concept of Siddha Treatment
The diagnostic methodology in Siddha treatment is unique because it is formed purely on the basis of the clinical acumen of the physician. The pulse, skin, tongue, complexion, speech, eye, stools, and urine are examined. This approach is collectively referred to as “Eight sorts of examination”; and among the eight, the examination of the pulse is extremely important in confirming the diagnosis.
Treatment consists of three distinct categories: Deva Maruthuvam, (divine method); Maanida Maruthuvam (rational method); and Asura Maruthuvam (surgical method). in the divine method, medicines like parpam, chenduram, guru, kuligai prepared from mercury, sulphur, and pashanams are used. within the rational method, medicines prepared from herbs like churanam, kudineer, vadagam are used. In surgical methods, incision, excision, heat application, bloodletting, leech application, etc. are practiced.
The therapeutic treatment in Siddha might be further categorized into Purgative therapy, Emetic therapy, Fasting therapy, Steam therapy, Oleation therapy, physiotherapy, Solar therapy, Bloodletting therapy, and Yoga therapy.
There is also a branch of the traditional science that deals with traumatology and accidental injuries called Varma. this is often based on the notion of over 100 vital points that are junctions of bones, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels and nerves called Varma points. Pranic energy is found concentrated in these points which, upon manipulation, produce the curative effect.
Siddha medicine system has enormous pharmacopeia containing vegetable, animal, and mineral products and treatment techniques consisting within the use of 32 kinds of internal medicines and 32 kinds of external medicines, application of heat and cold, ointments, potions and poultice, bloodletting, counter-irritation, bath, suction, manipulative processes like thokkanam, varma, yoga and concentration on hygiene and diet (pathiam), periodical use of purgatives and emetics, use of medicine which include, apart from herbs, preparations from metals and minerals like copper, silver, gold, lead and preparations from products of animal origin such as brain, liver, bones, blood, skull, horns of varied animals, tissues of reptiles and also Kayakalpa to stop or postpone greying of hair, formation of wrinkles and aging, prevention or treatment of diseases, and postponement of death (to any desired length of time). Some empirical treatment techniques under the guise of magic exorcism, incantation, pilgrimage, peregrinations, mountaineering, and similar activities have also been in practice for ages.
Benefits of Siddha Medicine
Generally, Siddha treatment is incredibly effective for arthritis, joint diseases, skin diseases, urinary tract infections (UTI), renal stones, liver problems, neurological disorders, and hemiplegic conditions. Siddha system also offers an efficient treatment for minor ailments including cold, cough, and fever. Siddha medicine has been effectively complemented with allopathic medicine in the treatment of deadly viral diseases like Dengue and Chikungunya. However, a Siddha specialist has to be consulted before starting the treatment.
Categorization of Siddha Medicines
Siddha medicines are also roughly divided into three classes-
- Miracle medicines
- Sophisticated medicines
- Common medicines
Miracle medicines- Miracle medicines are becoming rare and should be learned directly from the masters who, having undergone all types of initiation and hazards of apprenticeship, have reached perfection altogether respects.
Sophisticated medicines- Sophisticated medicines could also be scientifically prepared and used by well-trained physicians without much risk.
Common medicines- Common medicines are the foremost simple and cheap ones which were in wide use till the beginning of the 20th century and are still in use in remote rural areas of our country.
The Siddhars have evolved a special technique for attaining spiritual awakening by rousing, with yoga techniques like aasana, pranayama, and dhyaana (meditation), the Kundalini Shakthi (Serpent power) lying dormant at the bottom of the spinal column within the region of the plexus sacralis. Only by caring for his mortal inheritance, man is able to reach the conclusion of his highest potentialities. By working in unison with theology and philosophy, Siddha medicine aids in bringing to maturity the quiescent gem of an immortal divine being in his mortal body.
The Siddha System of Education
The Siddha system of education in ancient India wasn’t imparted or organized on the dimensions of mass education like schools and colleges, but the concept of education was to treat it as a secret and sacred process, for the reason that the method of personal growth (especially the inner growth) can only be achieved by an in-depth and constant touch between the teacher and therefore the taught in their personal relation from which the entire world was excluded.
The teaching was imparted in the type of verses, many of them in ambiguous language, and handed down to the posterity by the guru-sishya (teacher-disciple) tradition. The sacred medicines and techniques were taught only to a detailed circle of disciples and this trend continued to exist till recently.
Siddha education has become a mass institutional education around the middle of the 20th Century and has been catering to the requirements of the general public. Developments within the academic side and also in scientific research have been developing. scientific research of accessible Siddha literature may bring us precious truths, methods of preparation of miracle medicines of mineral, vegetable, and animal origin and this may be a valuable contribution to the medical world today. Additionally to the literature written in palm-leaf manuscripts etc., there are many valuable medicines and treatment techniques in practice. Steps are being taken by the government for collecting, screening, analyzing, and codifying the available manuscripts, printed books, traditional recipes, medical secrets, and lots of other things found scattered in disciplines and activities seemingly unconnected with medicine.
Relevance Of Siddha
There has been a resurgence of traditional medical systems the world over, supporting the holistic nature of their approach to healing. The efficacy of indigenous systems has been proved in various contexts. They have an inclination to use locally available, cost-effective materials as herbal ayurvedic medicines for treatment. Hence, the Siddha system which also has strong cultural and historical bonds with the people of Tamil Nadu is becoming increasingly relevant.