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Fundamental Principles of Siddha medicine

Fundamental Principles of Siddha medicine

The universe consists of two essential entities, matter and energy. The Siddhas call them Siva (male) and Shakti (female, creation). Matter cannot exist without energy inherent in it and vice versa. The two co-exist and are inseparable. They are the primordial elements Bhutas, not to be confused with modern chemistry. Their names are Munn(solid), Neer (fluid), Thee (radiance), Vayu (gas) and Aakasam (ether). These five elements (Bhutas) are present in every substance, but in different proportions. Earth, water , fire , air and ether are manifestations of these 5 elements .The human anatomy and physiology, causative factor of diseases, the materials for the treatment and cure of the diseases, the foods for the sustenance of the body, all fall within the five elemental categories .The human being is made up of these five elements, in different combinations. The physiological function in the body is mediated by three substances (dravayas), which are made up of the five elements. They are Vatham, Pitham, and Karpam. In each and every cell of the body these three doshas co-exist and function harmoniously. The tissues are called dhatus. Vatham is formed by Akasa and Vayu. Vatham controls the nervous actions such as movement, sensation ,etc. Pitham is formed by Thee and controls the metabolic activity of the body, digestion, assimilation, warmth, etc. Kapam is formed by Munn and Neer and controls stability. When their equilibrium is upsets disease sets in. The chart below may help to visualize the different properties. In addition to the influence of the Tridoshas the seasons also affects body constituents as evident in northern and southern India.

The five elementsMunn , Neer, Thee, Vayu, and Aakasam

Tridoshas according to Siddha MedicineThe three doshas may be compared to three pillars that support a structure. From the charts below it can be seen the Tridoshas are involved in all functions of the body, physical, emotional and mental. The bodily activities, voluntary and involuntary are linked to Vatham. Pitham is linked to bodily changes involving destruction/metabolism. All constructive processes are performed by Karpam. They function dependent on each other. They permeate every single structure in the body. The maintenance of the equilibrium is health, disturbance is disease.

Vatham Pitham Karpam characteristic is dryness, lightness, coldness & motility heat, mover of the nervous force of the body smoothness, firmness, viscidity, heaviness Formed by Aakasam and Vayu, controls the nervous action that constitute movement, activity, sensation,etc. Vatham predominates in the bone. Formed by Thee, controls the metabolic activity of the body, digestion,warmth, lustre, intellect,assimilation,etc. Pitham predominates in the tissue blood. Formed by munn and Neer,controls the stability of the body such as strength, potency, smooth working of joints. Karpam predominates in other tissues Vatham predominates in first one third of life when activity, growth ,sharpness of functionof sense,are greater Pitham predominates in the second one third of life Karpam predominates in the last one third of life. Diminishing activity of various organs and limbs Location-pervades the body (refer to Vayu chart) Location-in alimentary canal from cardiac end of stomach to end of small intestine Location-in chest ,throat, head and joints-acts as thermostat to the body

The seven tissues (dhatus) one of the three doshas predominate as shown in chart above in third column. The seven dhatus are: Rasa (lymph), Kurudhi(blood), Tasai(muscle), Kozhuppu (adipose tissue), Elumbu(bone), Majjai (marrow) and Sukkilam and Artavam (male and female hormones) .The theory of predominance of the Tridoshas according to age and season varies from that of Ayurveda (see chart). Plus in Ayurveda the experts argue that Vatham predominates in old age as in last one third of life contributing to emaciation, dryness, etc.( as opposed to Karpam in Siddha) but as anyone who has been to north and south India will attest to -the extreme weather in the opposite ends of the country will affects individuals differently. Hence both theories could very well be correct.

Method of Treatment - The treatment for the imbalance of the Tridoshas are made up of the five elements. The drugs are made up of the five elements. By substituting a drug of the same constituents (guna) the equilibrium is restored. The correction of the imbalance is made by substituting the drug which is predominately of the opposite nature. An example is of Vatham imbalance is cold, dry thus the treatment will be oily and warmth. For inactivity of limbs, massage and activity, are prescribed. If Pitham dosha is increased, warmth is produced; to decrease Pitham , sandalwood is administered, internally or externally because of its cold characteristics .Five types of VayuVatham is considered to be the primary dosha because it activates the other two doshas. Vatham is the outcome of the Akasa and Vayu of the Panchamaha Bhutas. The location and functions of the Vayu is not much different from that of Ayurveda.Prana Apana Samana Vyana Udana located in mouth and nostrils (inhaled)- aids ingestion located at anal extremity (expelled)-elimination, expulsion equalizer, aids digestion circulation of blood and nutrients functions in upper respiratory passages
Siddha PharmacyAlchemical ideas dominate Siddha medicine. Although alchemy was not the primary aim of Siddha medicine, they wanted to evolve drugs that could arrest the decay of the body. But this could not be achieved by drugs that which them selves are subject to decay such as drugs of vegetable origin. Thus the preparation of medicines of metal and mineral origin that do not lose their potency with the lapse of time. These medicines can be adminstered in small doses. They are available in all seasons and can be preserved. The Siddhars knew of the occurrence of the metallic compounds, ores, and their knowledge was so advanced that they could prepare them from simpler materials. Agasthiyar , Thirumular and Bogar are three of the Siddhars in the lineage of the 18 Siddhars. They have contributed to the preparation to these medicines. As the universe is composed of the five Bhutas so are the medicines. Some of the methods used by the Siddhas still survive under a veil of secrecy. Certain mercury and arsenic compounds are manufactured only in certain families and the methods are a closely guarded secret.