Monday, November 12, 2012

Alternate Medicines: SIDDHA

The Siddha Medicine is one of the oldest medical systems known to mankind. It is originated from Tamil Nadu. It was very popular in ancient India and believed to be more than 2500 years old.

Siddhas belivedd to be developed by the siddhars. Siddhars were spiritual adepts who possessed the ashta siddhis, or the eight supernatural powers. Sage Agathiyar is considered the guru of all Sidhars, and the Siddha system is believed to have been handed over to him by Lord Muruga, son of the Hindu God - Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi. So, are the siddhars the followers of Lord Shiva (Shaivaites). Agathiyar is the first Siddhar, and his disciples and other siddhars of other schools contributed thousands of texts on Siddha, including medicine, and form the propounders of the system in this world.

The Central Council for Research in Ayurveda and Siddha (CCRAS), established in 1978, by Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, coordinates and promotes research in the fields of Ayurveda and Siddha medicine. Also, the Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM), a statutory body established in 1971 under AYUSH, monitors higher education in areas of Indian medicine, including Siddha.

Generally the basic concepts of the Siddha medicine are almost similar to Ayurveda. The only difference appears to be that the siddha medicine recognizes predominance of vata, pitta and kapha in childhood, adulthood and old age, respectively, whereas in Ayurveda, it is totally reversed: kapam is dominant in childhood, vata in old age and pitham in adults.

According to the Siddha medicine, various psychological and physiological functions of the body are attributed to the combination of seven elements: first is saram (plasma) responsible for growth, development and nourishment; second is cheneer (blood) responsible for nourishing muscles, imparting colour and improving intellect; the third is ooun (muscle) responsible for shape of the body; fourth is kollzuppu (fatty tissue) responsible for oil balance and lubricating joints; fifth is elumbu (bone) responsible for body structure and posture and movement; sixth is moolai (brain) responsible for strength; and the last is sukila (semen) responsible for reproduction. Like in Ayurveda, in Siddha medicine also, the physiological components of the human beings are classified as vata (air), pitta (fire) and kapha (earth and water).

It is assumed that when the normal equilibrium of the three humors (vata, pitha and kapha) is disturbed, disease is caused. The factors, which assumed to affect this equilibrium are environment, climatic conditions, diet, physical activities, and stress. Under normal conditions, the ratio between these three humors (vata, pitha and kapha)ie:(Vadham, Pittham,Kabam in Tamil) is 4:2:1, respectively.

According to the siddha medicine system, diet and lifestyle play a major role, not only in health but also in curing diseases. This concept of the siddha medicine is termed as pathyam and apathya, which is essentially a list of "do's and dont's".

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