happy gif Webpages of Tamil Electronic Library © K. Kalyanasundaram

Siddha Medicinal system of Tamilnadu

Siddha Medicinal system of Tamilnadu

A civilized society must naturally have had a system of medicine which catered to the health needs of its people. This was the Siddha system. The term 'Siddhi' means 'achievement' and the Siddhars were men who achieved certain results in medicine, as well as in yoga or tapas. The results in medicine were achieved by the Siddhars through their mental powers, they bequeathed to their 'Chilas' or pupils, who preserved and propagated the science. Eighteen siddhas seem to have existed. They should have lived at different periods and bequeathed their experiences in medicine and yoga to posterity.

The names of these eighteen Siddhas differ from one source to another. It is not necessary to dogmatise which of these enumerations is correct. Some of the Siddhas, for example, Kapila and Kakabujanda have written treatises both in Tamil and in Sanskrit. It is possible that the originals were written in Tamil and that they were translated into Sanskrit later.

The following is the list of eighteen Siddhas according to one recension:
    1. Nandi
    2. Agasthiyar
    3. Thirumular
    4. Punnakkeesar
    5. Pulasthiyar
    6. Poonaikannar
    7. Idaikadar
    8. Bogar
    9. Pulikai Isar
    10. Karuvurar
    11. Konkanavar
    12. Kalangi
    13. Sattainathar
    14. Azhuganni
    15. Agappai
    16. Pambatti
    17. Theraiyar and
    18. Kudhambai.

Names like Bogar, Idaikadar and Theraiyar are of recent origin and these Siddhars lived probably in the middle ages. There are also authors of Siddha treatises like Sattaimuni, Yugimuni, Macha Muni, Kakabusundar etc., whose works are available in parts at the present day and are being used. -- Siddha System is one of the ancient traditional systems of medicine in India.

Siddhars the spiritual scientists of Tamil land are the founding fathers of this scientific system. According to Siddha System the human body is the replica of the universe so are the food and drugs irrespective of their origin. Siddha system believes that all objects in the universe including human body are composed of five basic primordial elements, namely earth, water, fire, air and space.

The human body is a conglomeration of three humors and seven physical components. The Food is considered to be basic building material of human body, which gets processed into humors, tissues and wastes. The equilibrium of humors, body tissues and waste products is considered as health and its disturbance or imbalance leads to disease or pathologic state. This system also deals with the concept of immortality and salvation in this life. The exponents of this system consider that achievement of this state is possible by regulated diet, medicine and processing of mind by yogic or spiritual exercises like meditation and yoga.

Siddhars described 96 principles as the constituents of Human Being. They include Physical, Physiological, Mental and Intellectual components of a person. They are nothing but the manifestations of the " Five Basic Elements ". Disease: Disease is a condition in which there is imbalance in the "Five Elements, which alters the "Three Humours " which is also reflected in the seven physical constituents. The change disturbs the equilibrium and cause disease.

The basic concept of Siddha system of medicine is " Food is Medicine - Medicine is Food"

    " Noi Naadi Noi Mudhal Naadi Athu thanikkum Vaai Naadi Vayppa Seyal."
    "Test disease, its causes and cure and apply remedy that is sure"
    - Thiruvalluvar.

It is always essential to identify the cause for any disease to be accepted as a " Scientific method "

The Diagnostic methodology in Siddha Treatment is unique as it is made purely on the basis of the " Clinical Acumen " of the Physician. He examines the Tongue, complexion, speech, eyes, palpation in a patient and he also examines the urine and stools. The diagnosis is then confirmed by the " Pulse Diagnosis ". The above approach is collectively known as " Eight types of examinations". However, the Siddha Physician now also accepts the modern diagnostic methods for the purpose of diagonosis.


The following line of treatment have been in practice in Siddha medicine.
  • Using medicines like Choornam, Kudineer, Vadagam etc. made of herbs.
  • Surgical methods like incision, excision, heat application, blood letting and leech application etc.
  • Physiotherapy - Thokkanam and Varma, the Siddha way of Touch therapy, Medicated Oil application , Fomentation, herbal steam bath etc.
  • Using medicines like Parpam, Chenduram, Chuxnam etc . made of minerals especially of metals.

Siddhars , with their clarified and inituitive intellect resulting from their yogic powers explored the nature and exploited the natural resources for the sake of humanity. They documented their findings about the characteristics of plants , metals, minerals and animal products. They documented all their findings in the form of poems for the use of posterity. Knowledge was transmitted from Guru to disciples. Their boundless knowledge on the properties of drugs, purification, processing, heat application, fixing dosage , toxicity , antidote and clinical application is astonishing the modern scientific world.


The Siddha System is capable of treating all types of chronic diseases especially arthritis, skin problems urinary tract disorders, infertility , degenerative disorders like osteo arthritis , Senile Dementia,disease of the liver, medicinally treatable Spinal disorders ,general debility ,diarrhoea and intractable allergic disorders. Aringnar Anna Govt Hospital of Indian Medicine, Arumbakkam , being the premier institute in Tamil Nadu for Indian Medicine and Homoeopathy treats both outpatient and inpatient.

Web resources on Siddha Medicine


Web tamilelibrary.org

Like to order Tamil books?
click here to see a list of Books of interest to Tamil Diaspora that you can order directly from

Click here to go to Guestbook page

Page visits to the site since Nov 16, 2005: