Siddha system of medicine:

Introduction and origin:

Siddha system is one of the oldest systems of medicine being practiced in south India for centuries. It is even practiced in Sri lanka, Singapore, Malaysia. It traces its origin to Dravidian culture attributed to sage Agasthya. The word Siddha means "to attain perfection" or Heavenly bliss.

Fundamentals and principles:

They are similar to ayurveda. Universe consists of two essential entities matter and energy. Siddha called them Siva(male) and Shakti (female) .Matter cannot exist without energy inherent in it or vice versa.
Human being is made of five elements in different combination called Pancha Maha Bhutas-

Mum (solid)
Neer (fluid)
Thee (radiance)
Vayu (gas)
Akasam (ether)

These are present in every substances but in different proportions. Earth, water, fire, air and ether are manifestations of those five elements. Human being is made of these elements. The physiological functions in body are mediated by three substances which are made up of these five elements called Tridoshas.
1. Vata
2. Pita
3. Kapha

Vata is formed from Akasam and Vayu -controls the nervous actions such as movements and sensations.
Pita is formed from fire -controls metabolic activities of body, digestion, assimilation, warmth.
Kapha is formed from Munn and Neer- control's stability.

When equilibrium between these upsets disease sets in.

Formulations and treatment:
These system of medicine emphasizes that medical treatment should be oriented not merely to disease but should also take into consideration the patient, his environment, sex, age, habits, mental frame, diet, physical conditions,etc.

In siddha system drug preparation is largely based on plants but minerals and metals like silver, copper, gold, arsenic, sulphur, etc are used as therapeutic agent. Even the tridosha theory, saptadhatu, nomenclature in Ayurveda remains the same but when treatment is concerned where ayurveda system uses 100 herbs/minerals while Siddha uses only 10 herbs/minerals to cure a disease.

Great attention is paid towards minerals and metals than herbs. There is always a complete interplay of metals and minerals in Siddha system. The use of metals and minerals form an integral part of Siddha system of therapy to cure a disease. Herbs are mainly used to triturate and calcinate metals into Basmams and Sindoorams.

Thus formulation in Siddha medicine includes herbal products, in organic substances and animal products and lead in different formulation like

Chendooran - reddish powdered medicament.
Chunams - medicaments prepared by calcinations.
Choornams - powdered drugs.

According to Siddha practioners the conceptual framework is that every organ in body is essentially made up of a particular element. For e.g. If liver is not functioning properly it is believed that concentration of particular metal/mineral element in liver is low resulting is dysfunction. If that particular metallic element is rich in Siddha medicine and is targeted against liver.

All metals and minerals are in detoxified state as per method known as "Shodhana" during which metals molecules are rendered non toxic further on boiling with several herbs and animal products the inorganic metal is converted to organic compound. The pure compounds are called "Siddha Sevithavai". In Siddha system medicines with minerals are called Parpams (Ca and Phosphorous combinations) where in ayurveda are called Bhasmas. The deep rooted difficulty in Siddha system of medicine is lack of scientific validation of therapeutic claims of plant based drugs.

Standardization and regulations:
In Siddha system educational pattern, regulation of education, practice and ethics, registration etc are governed by Statutory Council.

Drug standardization can be done by studying following parameters-

• Authentication
• Foreign matter
• Organoleptic Evaluation Microscopy
• Volatile matter
• Ash and extractive values
• Micro-organism
• Pesticide residue
• Chromatographic procedures and marker components.

Quality Assurance is thrust area for traditional formulations like bhasmas, parpams, churnas (stomatal index, palisade ratio, ash content, and water soluble ash. Finger printing and marker compound analysis are now a days available.

Herbal pharmacovigilance is the need of the day. Herbs with known toxicity also provides valuable tool to improve herbal product quality. Experimental studies in this field should continue. Herbal pharmacovigilance aims at detection of serious adverse reactions and at quantification of their incidence and at identification of contributive and modifying factors.
Herbal companies should be legally bound to report suspected adverse reactions to their products to competitive authorities as in case of allopathic system.


Evaluation of Indian traditional medicine is possible through proper exploitation and exploration of wide biodiversity and great ancient treatise of traditional medicine with the light of modern tools and techniques.

Prospects of harmonization seem brighter now that bio-medicine has proceeded from cell to molecular level. The combined analytico-synthetic methodology is replacing purely analytical methodology in medical sciences. The bio-chemical model is being transformed into bio-psycho-socio-medical-model developments which are bound to facilitate harmonization. Research into traditional medicine at molecular and genetic level is likely to throw greater light on mechanisms of traditional therapies and their integration with modern medicine.

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