Uniqueness of Siddha Dr Thangarathi Baskar B.S.M.S., M.B.A., Siddha system of medicine is an integrated part of Indian system of medicines, which is very potent and unique system when compared with other traditional systems. The unique aspect of this system is that, this form of medicine aims at the immortality of both soul and the body.Siddha system of medicine is most ancient and spiritually enriched one. Medicines areformulated and prepared by the Siddhars thousands of years ago after undergoing variousresearch works on flora, fauna and the rich mineral resources of Mother Earth. The medicinesare enriched with prayers and power which not only cures the disease but also provides peace tothe mind and spirituality to the soul. This divine system of medicine is a treasure of numerousmedicines.Siddha is a tamil word that is derived from its roots “siddh”, which means perfection in life or“Heavenly Bless.”The uniqueness of Siddha system of medicine is elaborately discussed in this article:Fundamental Principles of Siddha are 1. Five elemental theory 2. Three humours 3. Seven thathus 4. Fourteen natural urges 1. Five elemental theories:Siddha Science considers nature and man as essential one. Man is said to be the microcosm anduniverse is the macrocosm because what exists in the world, exists in man. Man is nothing but aminiature world containing the 5 elements of the various principles, which constitute the herbals,herbo minerals and animal kingdom.According to the siddha medical science, the universe originally consists of atoms whichcontributed to the 5 basic elements 1. Earth 2. Water 3. Fire 4. Air 5. SkyAll these 5 elements correspond to the 5 senses of the human body and they were thefundamentals of all the corporeal things in the world.
Uniqueness of SiddhaA close relationship is found to exist between the external world and the internal system of Man.Siddhars maintain that the structure of the human body is miniature world in itself Manconsumes water and food and breathes air, and thus maintain the heat in the body. The life forceis given by ether. The earth is the first element which gives fine shape, to the body includingbones, tissues, muscles, skin, hair, etc. Water is the second element representingblood,Secretions of glands, vital fluid etc., Fire is the 3rd element that gives motion, vigor,vitality to the body; it also helps digestion, circulation, and stimulation besides respiration, andthe nervous system.Siddha Vaidya considers that the body is constituted mostly of the earth element and it is locatedin the space element. The elements of water, fire and air help it to function. These three elementsthat confer functions to the body are called Tri Dosham (three functional elements). In general,the health and illness of the body is evaluated as an imbalance of just these three elements ofwater, fire, and air. 2. Three Humours:Siddha Physicians believed in three major life governing forces or doshas. These doshas namelyVatha, Pitta and Kapha—stand for some fundamental aspects of life: form, energy andmovement.Siddha system considers that the body is constituted mostly of the earth element and it is locatedin the space element. The elements of water, fire and air help it to function. These three elementsthat confer functions to the body are called Tri Dosham (three functional elements). In general,the health and illness of the body is evaluated as an imbalance of just these three elements ofwater, fire, and air.Dosha Corresponding element Vatha Air Pitta Fire Kapha Water The knowledge about the balances and imbalances of these functional elements are usedin disease classification and in preventive health applications. The doshas are further classifiedinto sub - doshas. Vatha is divided into ten, 1. Uyirkaal 2. Keezhkaal 3. Nadukkaal 4. Melnokkum kaal 5. Paravu kaal 6. Naagan 7. Koorman 8. Kirukaran
Uniqueness of Siddha 9. Devathathan 10.DhananjeyanPitha is divided into five, 1. Aanal pitham 2.Eranjaga Pitham 3. Saathaga Pitham 4. Pirasaga Pitham 5. Aalosaga PithamKapha is divided into five sub-doshas. 1.Avalambagam 2. Kilethagam 3. Pothagam 4. Tharpagam 5. SantheegamExcess or deficiency of one or more of these elements causes diseases and disorders, since itreflects functional disabilities. Siddha System uses these elements or doshas in the classificationof diseases and disorders. When diseases are classified, the dosha that predominantly is involvedmay be mentioned. Therefore, a particular disorder can be a Vatha type, a Pitta type, a Kaphatype, or a blend of all three. 3. Seven Dathus or the Seven Tissue Types:Siddha System recognizes seven types of essential tissue in the body which support all othertissues in its life and functions. These tissue types are called the seven dathus, which are thefollowing: 1. Rasa (lymph):The importance of lymph was recognized by Siddha physicians from very early periods. Lymphis considered to be the carrier of nutrients from the digestive process, and disorders of the lymphare dealt with a serious manner. 2. Kurudhi (blood):Blood and human life are inter-woven with one another. Disorders of blood or its reduced abilityto function is a prime cause of disease according to Siddha Vaidya. 3. Tasai (muscle):
Uniqueness of SiddhaMuscles are important to give strength to body activities. Loss of muscle strength causesimmobility and imbalance in the body. Conversely, an imbalance of Vatta can cause muscletissue to suffer from immobility imposed on it due to symptoms such as pain. 4. Kozhuppu (adipose tissue):Fatty tissue plays a very important role in the human body. The human body in balance shouldhave a certain amount of fatty tissue. Fat is part of lipoproteins and many hormones. It is theother half of proteins in the makeup of the cell membrane, the most intelligent entity in the cellnext to DNA. 5. Elumbu (bone):Bone provides the primary physical foundation for a human being. Bone also acts as a safe areafor the marrow tissue and is a depot of calcium, without which muscular activities areimpossible. 6. Majjai (marrow):A healthy marrow is important not only to a healthy blood but also for a strong immune system,since bone marrow is the area of blood-cell formation—red cells, white cells, and platelets. 7. Sukkilam and Suronitham:These are highly conserved tissues in the body according to ancient Siddha Vaidya.Siddha says there are 14 Natural urges present (Vegangal-siddha term)If we suppress Natural urges they cause signs and symptoms which may lead to a disease. 4. 14 Natural Urges 1. Sneezing 2. Micturition 3. Defecation 4. Yawning 5. Flatus air 6. Appetite 7. Thirst 8. Cough 9. Exhaustion 10. Sleep 11. Vomiting
Uniqueness of Siddha 12. Tears 13. Semen 14. BreathingGuiding Principles of Diagnosis in SiddhaTo diagnose a disease, Siddha Physicians investigate the cause of the disease, the signs andsymptoms, complications if any, and pathological tissue (udal kooru) changes. They examineboth the body and the disease together to arrive at a conclusion regarding the condition ordisease. For diagnosis, two paths are followed, viz., approach to the disease called Noi naadaland determination of etiology of the disease called Noi mudal naadal.Essentially, the Siddha system follows a unique methodology in diagnosis of disease. It consistsof eight criteria for physical examination and is called ‘Envagai thervu’. These include:1. Tongue (Naa)2. Colour (Niram)3. Speech (Mozhi)4. Eyes (Vizhi)5. Stool (Malam)6. Urine(Moothiram)7. Touch (Sparisam)8. Pulse (Naadi)Out of these eight entities, methods used for physical examination of urine (Neerkuri andNeikkuri) and pulse are unique to Siddha and act as confirmatory diagnostic tools.Physical examination of urineNeerkuri (Symptoms expressed in urine)This is the physical examination of urine which deals with the colour, smell, quantity, frequency,specific gravity, and frothiness of urine.NeikkuriThis is a method in which a drop of gingelly oil is dropped over a urine sample. The spreadingpattern exhibited by the oil droplet over the surface of urine gives a confirmatory clue that helpsin the diagnosis of the disease.PulseDiagnosis using pulse is a very important aspect of Siddha and is the method developed bySiddhars to extend our sensual perceptions to the interior of our body to diagnose and confirmillnesses. In other words, it performs the job of present day inventions like stethoscope and
Uniqueness of Siddhasphygmomanometers. The pulse movements (pulsations) are compared to the movement ofdifferent animals according to the intensity felt for easy interpretation. It is felt mainly at 10points, out of which the one felt over radial artery is considered the best and is felt in left handfor females and in right hand for males. It is usually felt using 3 fingers (viz, index, middle andring fingers) in view of assessing the states of Vatham, Pitham and Kabam simultaneously.DietDiet plays a major role in our everyday activity. Diet acts as the source of vital nutrients to gainenergy and it builds our body. Improper diet habits cause disturbances in equilibrium of thethree humours (Uyir thathukkal) and physical constituents (Udal thathukkal) in turn causingseveral diseases.”Unavae marunthu; marunthae unavu”This verse, meaning diet can act as medicine, explains the importance of diet.The diet concept of Siddhars is based upon taste of foods as it indicates the natural property ofthe kind of food. A typical diet must therefore include a combination of 6 tastes that is bestsuited to the prevailing season. (Sweet, sour, bitter, astringent, salt, pungent)Hunger (pasi - one of the 14 physiological reflexes or Vegangal) indicates the need for food. Dietintake nourishes the different physical constituents, viz., Udal thathukkal in a particular sequenceand finally provides strength to our body. However, food like milk, water and meat soup provideinstant strength to body.According to Saint Thiruvalluvar, 3 main factors decide the structure of a good diet. Taste The constitution of person who intakes the diet Time & season o TasteTastes may have a compatible counterpart or an inimical counterpart and inimical tastes shouldnever be taken together. A particular taste of food when taken in combination with its inimicaltaste food might yield poisonous effects due to dietetic incompatibilities.E.g. Milk and fish should never be taken together. Similarly, a combination of milk and greenleafy vegetables is also harmful.A diet should also include food that normalises the three humours (trithoda sama porul).(Chukku, Milagu, Venthaiyam, Manjal, Elaam, Kayam, Poondu, Seeragam)
Uniqueness of SiddhaThe concept of inimical and compatible taste in diet is also applied for selection and preparationof Siddha medicines. o The constitution of personDiet with respect to quantity and quality should be taken according to the gender, age,physical/mental activity and basic body constitution (viz., Vatham, Pitham, Kapam) of theperson o Time, season, and habitatSelection of proper diet also takes into consideration the period of day (breakfast/lunch/dinner)seasonal variations and geographic locationsSleepSleep is nature’s way of providing rest to our body. Proper sleep is required when our body feelstired after a day’s work and it is therefore best to sleep at the end of a day. Sleep helps our bodyto carry out repair activities. The quantity and quality of sleep equally influences one’s goodhealth. A man deprived of sleep develops varied disorders. Siddhars have mentioned certainprocedures to follow with regard to sleep.As a part of daily regimen (Naal ozhukkam), good personality traits like silence, sincerity,charity, humanity, humility, honesty, politeness, justice, love and care for others are alsoencouraged since they result in purity of mind and will better chances of success in achievingeternal bliss.