is another form of ancient Indian medicine very popular in the
southern parts of India.
say that Lord Shiva (one of the Hindu Trinity - Brahma, Vishnu and
Shiva) handed down the knowledge to goddess Parvati, who in turn
passed it on to Nandideva another mythological character. The medical
system then got handed down to gurus.
in Tamil, a south Indian language, means perfection. And those who
have attained an intellectual level of perfection are called Siddhas.
In ancient Tamil Nadu it is believed eighteen such Siddhars lived
during different periods. The Siddha system of medicine, therefore,
was written in different periods.
unique aspect of this system is that this form of medicine aims at
the immortality of both the soul and the body. According to Hindu
philosophy there are two modes of salvation for humans. One is the
salvation of the metaphysical self and the other is the physical
salvation with the body rendered immortal. The latter is called Jiwan
Mukti, and the Siddhas aimed at this also. The immortality of the
perishable body may sound strange to a rational mind. But the aim had
the effect of setting very high standards of medicine.
there are medicines in Siddha system which supposed to have the
effect of arresting the degeneration of the cells in the body.
Alchemy is an important aspect of this form of medicine. But the
success of this aspect of the system is not established although
there are some experts of the system who even today claim to
alchemy was not the primary work of the Siddhas. They essentially
wanted to evolve drugs which would arrest the decay of the body. They
believed that this could be achieved when drugs were prepared from
non-decaying material like metals and minerals. The advantage of was
that they could be prepared and preserved at all times and seasons.
Whereas the vegetable based drugs could be collected and prepared
only during their respective seasons. Under such unpredictable
environment they thought that it was not safe to depend on vegetable
all the traditional Indian medicines, Siddha is based on the concept
of Man as a part of the universe and therefore on the harmony that
exists between the two. The therapies are based on body humours and
other characteristics which exist in Ayurveda.
and sulphur play a major role in the therapeutics of this medical
science and often, they are used in combination. The addition of
sulphur is expected to control the fluidity of mercury. Siddha
medicine has an interesting way of categorizing the drugs. On the
basis of mutual interaction they are called enemies or friends. The
drugs which are compatible with each other are called friends and
those who do not are enemies. The Siddha practitioner considers these
aspects while administering them. The diagnosis is based on findings
from eight aspects; pulse, eyes, voice, touch, colour, tongue, faeces
have developed a longevity discipline called "kayakalpa".
Something akin to Gerontology of the modern medicine. Gold and
mercury figure prominently for rejuvenation. More than the medicine,
it is the discipline of life that the Siddha system advocates for
longevity. Controlling the breathing and diet are methods suggested
in this system. Meditation and yoga are also significant aspects of
the Siddha system.