Siddha medicine or siddha practice is regarded as the oldest medicine practice of the world, older than Ayurveda itself. Siddha practitioners traditionally kept the knowledge of their medicine as a secret and were reluctant in sharing knowledge with outsiders. Siddha medicine or sidha vaidya practice remained more of less a traditional family matter and outsiders had little scope of learning this system of medicine.
However, it is to be noted that siddha vaidya or siddha system of medicine survived longer than Ayurveda and has considerable support base in Kerala, India and different parts of the world.
Siddha vaidya or siddha medicine is mainly the contribution of Dravidians in south India. It is believed that an ancient seer named Agastya had 18 disciples, who were called siddhas. These 18 people learned, taught and wrote extensively about almost all spheres of knowledge. Medicine was just one of them. They wrote philosophy, theosophy and literature.
Only selected families had the right to see the scriptures written on palm leaves.
Though Ayurveda was originated in north India and Siddha medicine in the south, it is Ayurveda that got much support in Kerala and South India. Still Ayurveda is given preference by more people in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Opening up of the knowledge in the last few decades has opened up the scope of siddha vaidya. Now there is a medical college for siddha vaidya (Santhigiri siddha vaidya medical college, Thiruvananthapuram) in Kerala and six in Tamil Nadu.
One can find similarities between Ayurveda and siddha schools of thought. Both identify microcosm (humans) and macrocosm (the universe) as an essential unit. The basic component of nature is sky, earth, water, air and fire.
Siddha in Malayalam means some kind heavenly achievement. Siddha is derived from a Tamil word Chitta which means divine perfection. Siddha medicine translates into a perfect medicine. The basic principle of siddha vaidya is to revitalize and rejuvenate organs and thereby instilling a fresh lease of life to persons. No chemicals are used or allowed in the siddha treatment.
The siddha system also emphasize on permanently curing the disease. That is once treated, there can be no re occurrence of the disease.
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