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The word Siddha comes from the Tamil word for perfection. In Siddha medicine, the individual is a microcosm of the universe. The human body consists of the five primordial elements - earth, water, fire, air and space, the three humours-vatha, pitta and kapha and seven physical constituents. Food is the basic building material of the human body and gets processed into humours, tissues and wastes. The equilibrium of humours is considered as health and its disturbance or imbalance leads to a diseased state. There is equal emphasis on the body, mind and spirit and strives to restore the innate harmony of the individual. Treatment is aimed at restoring balance to the mind-body system. Diet, lifestyle, yoga and meditation play a major role not only in maintaining health but also in curing diseases.
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The traditional medicinal knowledge is thought to be within every one’s reach and does not require any study or training to practice it. In some families almost all the members are acquainted with some part or other of herbal remedies. The traditional healers specialize in particular areas of their profession. Thus we find some medical practitioners are expert in bone setting, wound healing, poisonous bites, neurological disorders, etc. and some others in spiritual healing, especially the use of incantations while others combine both in their treatment. It is important to note that there is no doubt about the efficacy of herbal medicine among its users. Rural and urban poor people in India rely on herbal remedies since these are within their reach. In fact in remote areas this is the only source of health care available.
Siddhars or Siddhas the spiritual scientists of Tamil Nadu (ancient South India) are the pioneers of this scientific system. Siddhas fundamental principles never differentiated man from the universe. According to them, ‘Nature is man and man is nature and therefore both are essentially one. Man is said to the microcosm and the Universe is Macrocosm, because what exists in the Universe exists in man. ‘Siddha system trusts that all objects in the universe including human body are combined of five basic primordial elements, namely earth, water, fire, air and space. Siddhas defined 96 principles as the constituents of Human Being. They comprise Physical, Physiological, Mental and Intellectual mechanisms of a person. They are nothing but the materialization of the ‘Five Basic Elements’- Earth, Water Fire, Air and Space. The diagnostic methodology in Siddha treatment is unique as it is made purely on the basis of the ‘Clinical acumen’ of the physician. The Physician examines the tongue, complexion, speech, eyes, palpatory findings in a patient and also examines the urine and stools. The diagnosis is then confirmed by the ‘Pulse Diagnosis’ and ‘naadi’ diagnosis’. The interrogation plays only a very minimal role. The examination for the above is called as the ‘Eight Tools of Diagnosis‘.
These diagnostic tools not only help for diagnosis but also to learn the prognosis and restoration of health. The ‘Pulse Diagnosis ‘is very unique in Siddha Medicine, which was introduced to other Indian Systems of Medicine at a later period. The pulse is examined in the Right hand of males and the left hand for females. The pulse is recorded at the Radial-artery. The unit of pulse diagnosis is 1 for Vatham 1/2 for Pitham and 1/4 for Kapham. This unit is equivalent to the size of a grain (wheat).
Market size for Ayurveda and Siddha is approximately $ 814 million which is 84% of the ISM&H market share. Total global herbal market is of size 62 billion dollars, of which India accounts only for 1 billion dollars. Though in India, since ancient time the herbs and medicines form the heritage, still we account for a low percentage of the world market. This can be understood only if the sector is studied with respect to different units operating in it, the type of technology embodied in them and the scope of expansion and improvement.
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