Siddha Introduction

SIDDHA THERAPEUTICS: The contribution of Siddha literature with its boundless therapies and pharmaceutical preparation is acclaimed excellence even in modern era. Siddha treatment is not only curative, but also preventive, endowed with philosophical thoughts which enrich the mind and body. The refined natural remedies designed in Siddha Materia Medica, states the uses of herbs, minerals, animal products and metal ores in combating diseases.

Siddha herbs and spices of garam masala

SIDDHA
Oldest stream of medicinal sciences

Therapy / Treatment

Drugs & Treatment

SIDDHA THERAPEUTICS

The contribution of Siddha literature with its boundless therapies and pharmaceutical preparation is acclaimed excellence even in modern era. Siddha treatment is not only curative, but also preventive, endowed with philosophical thoughts which enrich the mind and body. The refined natural remedies designed in Siddha Materia Medica, states the uses of herbs, minerals, animal products and metal ores in combating diseases.

Heavy metals such as gold and silver have been used as Parpams, Chendoorams and Chunnams ( metallic salts / metallic nano particles ) to promote longevity, as well as to treat a variety diseases including even Non -Communicable Diseases ( NCDs ). The process of incineration converts the metallic salts into extremely fine emulsified particles, so that the body can absorb and process them.

Siddha Therapy is classified as :

  • Devamaruthuvam ( Divine Method )
  • Manidamaruthuvam ( Rational Method )
  • Asuramaruthuvam ( Surgical Method )

Generally according to the mode of application, medicines are classified as internal and external, each having 32 categories.

The crown of Siddha medicine is "Muppu", a method of preparation of Universal salt, which can potentiate the efficacy of medicine 100 times, even though added in very small quantities. It is not needed to mention that preparation of Muppu, needs wisdom rather than knowledge.

Siddha medicines revitalize and rejuvenate the organs ensuring their normal functions. The treatment in Siddha is aimed at keeping the humors in equilibrium with a proper diet and disciplined regimes of life. Siddha Therapies are a hallmark in successfully managing the chronic ailments like psoriasis, diabetes, hypertension, bronchial asthma, sinusitis etc.

The drugs used by the Siddhars could be classified into 3 groups :

The Thattu 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 )
  • Ghandhagam ( drugs which are insoluble in water, like sulphur )

The drugs used in siddha medicine were classified on the basis of 5 properties :

  • Suvai ( taste )
  • Gunam ( character )
  • Veeryam ( potency )
  • Pirivu ( class )
  • Mahimai ( action )

According to their mode of application, the siddha medicines could be categorized into 2 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 categories.

Fundamental of Siddha

SIDDHA SPECIALITIES

Siddha system is a unique system compared to other systems as it is both medicinally, intellectually and spiritually enriched. Siddha system is bestowed with various specialties of which few are enumerated below.

1. VADHAM / RASAVATHAM ( ALCHEMY )

Alchemy is a complex science of converting lower metals to higher. It can be accomplished only when the atoms of a substance can be isolated and relocated. Alchemy still remains as a magical myth, but Siddhars who were devoid of earthly pleasure used these techniques to reveal the potency of the medicinal preparations.

2. AITHIYAM ( MEDICINE )

 

3. YOGAM ( YOGA )

No matter how each of us define wellbeing, what lies in the core concept is a healthy mind in a healthy body, empowered by an indomitable spirit. Yoga brings about this harmonious integration of mind, body and spirit. The term yoga is not only confined to physical postures, but it signifies union with the supreme universal spirit as the word "yuj" which means unity (union of the mind and body). Thirumoolar, a great Saint of Siddha, preached and advocated many Yogic Thanthraas in his very old Tamil text Thirumathiram.

4. PRANAYAMAM

Pranayamam, an integral part of yoga defined as a science of cleansing, balancing and gaining control over the life force ( prana ). With the amalgamation of traditional and modern concept, Pranayamam is considered as one of the best remedy to cure stress and anxiety disorder.

One can control the rhythms of pranic energy with pranayama and achieve healthy body and mind.

Pātañjali in his text of Yoga Sūtra mentioned pranayama as means of attaining higher states of awareness and holding of breath is an important practice of reaching Samādhi.Pranayama, not only tones the lungs, regulates the heart rate, rejuvenates the glands and improves the health of the nervous system by increasing oxygenation, but also regulates the bio energy flow of body and harmonizes the alleviated humors to restore good health.

5. KAYAKALPAM

It is a special branch of Siddha medicine which prevents age related degeneration and prolongs the healthy living. Kayakalpam means ‘transformation of the body’. But an analysis into the history and practice of Kayakalpam reveals much more, than just the descriptions of exotic and complex herbal formulas designed to bring about physical and mental rejuvenation.

6. VARMAM

Life, ( the bio energic flow ) flows in the body in a particular pathway. Certain key points in the body where life energy is concentrated ( Vaasi ) is called Varma points.

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, prana and the mind. If one looks at the long list of things which varmam can do, one will be totally mesmerised by the deep science and the indisputable healing it brings about. The human body can get into lot of accidents, minor and major, in its lifetime. Very rarely people are lucky enough to escape accidents in life.

According to Siddha medicine there are 108 important pressure points in human body through which Prana flows in a channeled way. Any trauma to these vital points may cause loss of consciousness or convulsions or even death. But gentle vibration or pressure applied in these points relieves the obstruction of the energy flow.

Varmams have been classified based on the type of pressure needed to injure :

  • Choondu Varmam
  • Koochal Varmam
  • Padu Varmam ( Major Varmam points which activated by fingers / hands due to injury)
  • Parechal Varmam
  • Sukkila Varmam
  • Sumbana Varmam
  • Sunonitha Varmam
  • Thattu Varmam ( Varmam points which stimulated by tapping / blows )
  • Thadavu Varmam ( Varmam points which stimulated by rubbing / massage )
  • Thuppu Varmam ( Varmam points which stimulated by spitting the herbs )
  • Thodu Varmam ( Varmam points which stimulated by touch )
  • Uuthu Varmam ( Varmam points which stimulated by blowing using mouth )
  • Nakku Varmam ( Varmam points which stimulated by licking )
  • Nooku Varmam and Meitheenda Kalai / Meitheenda Kalam
    ( Triggering vital points by focusing / staring / concentrating on the target )

The widely used and recognised ones are the 12 Padu varmams and 96 Thodu varmams ; 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 the most awe-generating and is rarely seen practiced, as those masters who were able to do this are almost extinct.

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.

Varma therapy provides a complete natural healing to rejuvenate the toxic imbalances.

7. HERBAL MASSAGE THERAPHY (THOKKANAM)

Massage Therapy is defined as a passive exercise, involving the use of medicated oils to rejuvenate the body cells. On scientific inclination, massage therapy increases the lymphatic flow, eliminating the toxic substances which cause ill health.

Siddha theory states that massage (Thokkanam) strengthens blood circulation, facilitates lymphatic drainage, improves skin tone, promotes the vitality and relaxes the body on the whole. Massage therapy is a pioneer in treating stress, injury, pain and many major ailments. It helps in detoxification of the body favoring healthy body and soul.

8. GNANAM or THATHUVAM ( PHILOSOPHY )

 

Siddhars, spiritual scientists of Tamil Nadu explored and explained the reality of Nature and its relationship to man by their yogic awareness and experimental findings. They postulated the concept of spiritualism for self improvement and the practices propounded by them came to be known as the "SIDDHA SYSTEM".

The eight mighty SIDDHIC PROCESS or OCTOMIRACLE ("ATTA-MA-SIDDHI") which could keep the body strong and perfect for EXTERNAL LIFE, where THERE IS NO DEATH OR REBIRTH.

Treatments Methods

TREATMENT

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 these concepts.

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 therapy, etc.

Abhyangam ( Āyurvédic Body Massage )

Synchronized body massage with medicated oil is given according to the requirement of the diseases for a said period of 30-45 minutes. This treatment is very useful for relaxing the muscles to relieve the stress and to improve blood circulation.

Dhara ( Thakra Dhara, Thaila Dhara, Kashaya Dhara )

In this process some herbal oils, medicated milk, medicated butter milk etc. are poured as continuous stream on the forehead. This is an ideal treatment to relieve stress and strain and induces good sleep and for certain skin diseases. It will also improve memory power and cools the body.

Kadee Vasthi

In this process warm medicated oil is retained over the lower back with the help of herbal forte. This treatment lasts for 30 minutes to an hour and it is good for any type of low back pain and other spinal disorders.

Kizhi ( Elakizhi, Podi Kizhi )

Herbal leaves or herbal powders, aerated in medicated oil is applied to the whole body in boluses for a period of 30- 45 minutes per day. This is found effective in arthritis with inflammatory swelling, Spondilosis, injuries etc.

Nasyam

Herbal juices or medicated oils are instilled into the nostrils. This is highly effective in certain kinds of head aches, sinusitis and other diseases related to head and nose.

Njavarakizhi

It is a process by which the whole body or a specific part is treated by the application of boluses filled with medicated puddings prepared with certain decoctions, which is tied in a muslin bag. It is done for joint pains, emaciation of limbs in children and elderly, high blood pressure and certain skin diseases.

Pizhichil

Here the medicated oil is poured all over the body on a rhythmic way continuously for a period of 30- 45 minutes per day. This is very useful for chronic conditions like Arthritis, Paralysis, nervous disability and certain muscular disorders.

Sirovasthi

In this procedure, the oil is retained on the scalp with the help of leather crown. This is done in case of facial paralysis, dryness of nostrils, mouth and throat, severe head ache and diseases of the eyes.

Swedanam ( Steaming )

It is a process of purifying the body. This brings out the toxins of the body, there by cleansing the skin, improves the tone of the body and reduces fat etc.

Udwarthanam

This is a massage with herbal powder. This treatment is for obesity and certain rheumatic ailments etc.

Vasthi

Certain herbal oil or herbal extracts is administered through the rectum for a period of 5 to 25 days. This treatment is effective for arthritis, paralysis, numbness and constipation.

Siddha for Atta-Ma-Siddhi

ANIMA

The faculty of reducing gross body to the size of an atom and to enable him to fly in space.

ESATHWAM

Supreme power over animates and inanimate in the universe.

KARIMA

The power of reducing the primordial elements within himself to a point desired.

LAHIMA

The power of becoming as light as feather.

MAHIMA

Power of expanding oneself without limit.

PRAHAMIYAM

The power of penetration like rays by which one can attain immortality.

PRAPTHI

Faculty of knowing everything; Past, Present and Future and to secure everything as desired.

VASITHAM

The power of securing any object.

Padhartha Guna Chinthamani

  • R Prabhu
    R. Prabhu

Padhartha Guna Chinthamani

Padhartha Guna Chinthamani

The famous "Paati Vaidhiyam" (Grandma's medication), used to cure some minor ailments, is being followed in some homes even today. The practice of Paati Vaidhiyam has been passed on for generations that people are able to understand the problem of an ailment or disease and are able to diagnose and cure it correctly. They are able to do it because, they knew the characteristics of the diseases and, most importantly, the characteristics of the medicines that were used to cure them. Medicines in the sense, are nothing but herbs and other eatables that are used in the day to day life.

These substances with medicinal value are not only used on the incidence of an ailment, rather it was used regularly that prevented the incidence of that ailment, leading to a healthy and properous lives. Nowadays, only some homes are gifted with the people with the knowledge of Paati Vaidhiyam, but the rest are not, because there is no one to tell the medicinal characteristics of the things that we used and consume in our day to day life. And such treasures get lost from that generation onwards and once lost it is lost forever. Only a few people take some effort to make a note of these so that it get propagated into the future. The advantage of Paati Vaidhiyam is that it diagnoses and cures the ailment perfectly and without any side-effects.

Our siddhars have took the pains to analyse the cause and treatment of the diseases and they have mentioned preparations to cure many diseases completely without any side-effects. The classification of the diseases and the treatment itself forms a great reference in the field of Medicine. Not all such references can be used by the common man, because it requires some background in medicine. However, there is one such great reference that can be used even by the common man. It is a rare treasure named "Padhartha Guna Chintamani" (Padhartham - Eatables, Gunam - Characteristic, Chintamani - The one that bestows all good things). It is one comprehensive reference that explains the medical characteristics about the food items and the utensils used to prepare those food items. It explains the medical characteristics of over 1000 items. The author of this masterpiece is a Siddhar named, Theraiyar. Theraiyar is the disciple and student of Agathiar. He is also known to be best student and has written many medical texts of which some perished and some remain.

Many legends exist about Theraiyar, let us see a few of them. The name Theraiyar is because when King of country had a severe chronic pain in his head, he treated it by opening the king's skull and removing the small toad from the King's head. Therai means Toad in Tamil. As he removed the toad from the King's head he is named after that Theraiyar It is also said that Avaiyar met Agathiar and asked him to take Theraiyar as his student. Theraiyar was the most illustrious student of Agathiar, that there is a legend that he turned a mountain into gold using herbs and got the praise of Agathiar.

Theraiyar's work, the Padhartha Guna Chintamani, is one of the masterpieces that exist even today. It is great collection and a central reference about the medical characteristics of the things that humans normally consume in their day to day life and the ones that are not normally consumed. It describes the characteristics of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian diets. It not only describes about the items that are eaten. It also describes the characteristics of the utensils used to prepare and serve the items consumed, for example, the medicinal characteristics of stone utensils used to prepare food or medicines is described.

Let us see some of the songs from that text. I have tried to give exact meanings for these songs, but in some cases, due to the medical nature, I have tried to give approximately correct meanings. The following song describes about the various parts of the plantain tree.

Padhartha Guna Chinthamani 1

"Narrkadhali Andham Anall Nalgum Thando Kudalil
Sikkum Mayir Thol Nanjum Theerthidumkaan Thokkuru Poo
Megam Ozhikkum Pinjaal Venkaduppu Yaegum Kaayaal
Dhegam Muzhukka Kaalam Thaer"

meaning, the tuber of the plantain increases the body's internal heat, the stem cures ailments in the stomach and intestines, the flower cures skin disorders, the tender fruit cures ailments due to increase in body heat. Unripe fruit cause Vaadham (The proportion of air that exists in the human body) to accumulate causing bodyaches etc.

The following songs illustrates the properties of ginger

Padhartha Guna Chinthamani 2

"Injikilangukku Irumal Aiyam Okkaalam
vanjikkum Sanni Juram Vann Baedhi Vinjukindra
Soolai Arum Vaadham Pom Thoondadha Theebanamaam
Velaiarum Kannaai Vilambu"

meaning, the ginger cures the following Cough, Cold, Dense Phlegm in the chest. Delirious fever, Diarrhoea, Skin disease, Vaadham. It also makes one feel more hungry

The book even tells the properties of the various types boiled water. Water that is 100% boiled, 75%, 50% and 25% boiled. The following songs explain those

Padhartha Guna Chinthamani 3

"Nenjerrippu Netrivali Neengaa Puliyaeppam
Vanjamura Vandha Vayitri Noi Vinjiyae
Veezhamal Kattodu Veppirumal Suttaneer
Azhaakku Uttkolla Arum"

meaning burning sensation in the chest due to acidity, continuing sour belch, stomach ailments and dry cough will get cured when an Azhaakku - 1/8th of padi (A utensil used to measure liquid quantities) - of boiled hot water is taken.

This song tells the properties of water that is boiled 25% and 50%

Padhartha Guna Chinthamani 4

"Kaalkooru Kaaineeraai Kaarigaiyae Piththampom
Maelkooru Paadhi Sutta Venniraal Maelkoorum
Vaadhamodu Piththampom Vaithu Oru Naal Sendru Unn
Urodham Pom Odi Olithu"

meaning, the water that is 25% boiled cures the (Piththam) body heat, and the water that is 50% boiled cures Vaadham and Piththam. If that water is taken a day after boiling then the diseases will run away and hide.

The next song is about the most hated of vegetables, but more medicinal in value, the Sundakkai. The Sundakkai is hated because of its bitter taste. But it is dried in the sun after soaking in curd to make the sundakkai vaththal, that is fried and eaten as such or to prepare a mouth watering kulambu variety called vaththal kulambu. The property of the Sundakkai is

Padhartha Guna Chinthamani 5

"Nenjin Kabam Pom Niraikirumi Noiyum Pom
Vinju Vaadhathin Vilaivu Pom Vanjiyarae
Vaayai Kasapikkum Maamaliyil Ulla Sundai
Kaayai Suvaipaarukku Kaan"

meaning Sundakkai, that grows in the mountains and tastes bitter cures dense phlegm in the chest, Diseases caused by bacteria, the effects of Vaadham

The more amazing thing about Padhartha Guna Chintamani is that it not only explains the characteristics of the food items we eat, but it also explains the characteristics of the metal and stone utensils in which food and medicines are prepared. The following songs tell that

Padhartha Guna Chinthamani 6

"Karungarrkal Vuthavuzhtham Kaanil Udalkku Inbaam
Nerukiratha Kall Dhosham Neekkum Orungu Vellai
Kall Marundho Veeramodu Kaaramum Ill Manjal Ammiyin
Marundho Noi Vilakka Enn"

meaning, black stones (Ammi, Aattukall) used to prepare food and medicine are really good for health. Red stones, cure ailments. White stones reduce the impact of spicyness and potence of the food. But the yellow stone has not medicinal value.

Padhartha Guna Chinthamani 7

"Thengin Kudukkai Thigirithandha Paathirathaar
Nankiraa Punmarundhum Thanmarundhaam- Venkalathaal
Mai Yiruppaal Kattaikalaal Maarkombaal Paathirangal
Seiyyin Irandaam Patcham Seppu"

meaning, the shell of the coconut, the utensils of bamboo are good for storing medicines. But utensils out of bronze, iron, wood, horns of animals stand second to them.

Let us conclude digging further into this treasure with one last song about Vilaambalam. One great fruit with a hard shell, usually mixed with Khandsari Sugar (Vellam). The taste is really out of this world. The speciality of this fruit is that the lump of fruit inside has no contact with the outer shell. If shaken, we can hear the fruit lump rolling in. One mysterious information about this fruit is that elephants like this fruit very much and are able to absorb the fruit within without breaking the outer shell, mysterious it may sound, but it is the fact that I have heard about elephants and this fruit. The song goes like this

Padhartha Guna Chinthamani 8

"Eppodhum Meikidhamaam Eelai Irumal Kabamum
Veppaarum Thaagamum Pom Meipasiyaam Ippuviyil
Endrakilum Kanimael Ichchai Vaithu Thinna Enni
Thindral Vilaankaniyai Thinn"

meaning, The Vilaambalam is always good for health. It cures severe cold, cough, dense phlegm, thirst during summer. It also induces digestion. If you intend and desire to eat any fruit on this earth, then eat this Vilambalam

The book is completely amazing, because the collection and classification of so many plants, vessels and meat of animals is a herculean one. And that too prepared hundreds of years ago, when the people in most countries at that time wouldn't have even imagined of such research. We should really admire and praise Theraiyar for such an invaluable text. This one text proves, how advanced the Tamil People were during those days. But the sad part of it is that masterpieces like this are slowly disappearing because our people really don't take care of it or are in the oblivion that these texts even exist. I hunted this book for nearly a year and finally got it in the bookfair held recently in our city. Books like these are not only a great medical reference, but they stand to add to our pride as Tamilians.

 

Remedies & Treatments