Preventive principles

SIDDHA PRINCIPLES OF DISEASE PREVENTION

(Prevention of Diseases through Siddha system of Medicine)

One of the salient feature of siddha system of medicine is that, prevention of diseases is given much importance than cure. This can be understood from the lot of space assigned to “Pini anugaa vidhi” (rules to keep diseases away) in siddha literatures.  Siddhars, the founding pillars of siddha system,   have recommended certain basic guidelines to be followed for healthy living. This includes observation of certain regimen, taking in to account of some factors like the habitat where a person lives, the seasonal changes and dietary habits etc. Their concepts pertaining to Thinai/Nilam ozhukkam (disciplines according to habitat), Kaala ozhukkam (seasonal discipline), Unavu (diet) and Naal ozhukkam (daily regimen) are highly specific and followed even today.

Along with this, the concept of “Kaayakarpam” mentioned by siddhars for prevention of diseases is highly admirable as it makes the body resistant to infections.

THINAI  OZHUKKAM (HABITAT DISCIPLINES):

Habitat was divided in to five types in ancient Tamil literature depending upon the landscape and landforms. Different types of habitats, common diseases and predominant humour which are prevalent among the people living in those habitats are described in siddha texts. For healthy living and prevention of diseases, preventive measures are to be taken depending upon the habitat.

The following table given below briefly explains this principle

Sl.no

Habitat

Geographical description

Prevalent disease

 

Dominant humour

1.

KURINCHI

Land of hills, mountains and surroundings

Fevers which mainly affect the hematopoietic system

Kabam

2.

MULLAI

Land of forest

Vatha diseases (diseases affecting joints and nerves)

Pitham

3.

MARUTHAM

Land of crops and agriculture

Suitable land for living

All the three humours are in balanced state

4.

NEITHAL

Land of sea shore and its surroundings

Severe forms of vatha diseases, swelling of liver, intestinal diseases.

Vatham

5.

PALAI

Dry, desert land and their surroundings

All kinds of diseases

All the humours are deranged

 

Diet and drugs that normalize the increased humour are recommended by siddhars depending upon the seasonal changes as discussed in the following headings.

KAALA  OZHUKKAM (SEASONAL DISCIPLINES) :

According to Tamil as well as siddha tradition, whole year is divided in to six seasons as follows which are called as perumpozhuthu (larger periods) and each season consists of two months approximately.

KAR

     Dark clouds and Rainy season

Monsoon

KUTHIR

    Cold wind season

Autumn

MUNPANI

    Early dew season

Winter

PINPANI

     Late dew season

Early spring

ILAVANIL

   Light warmth season

Spring

MUDHUVENIL

    Hot season

Summer

The regimen that must be followed during each season is briefly tabulated below:

SEASON

PREFERRED TASTE

                   DIET

LIFESTYLE CHANGES

PREVENTIVE MEDICATION

MONSOON

Sweet, sour & salt

 Old rice, rain water, deep well water, hot water, water/butter milk mixed with panchakolam (mixture of dried ginger, root of pepper, Piper longum and Plumbago zeylanica). Diet,easily digestible with sour and salt taste, rich in fiber content should be taken.

All wearable items including dresses should be well dried and scented with sandalwood. Bare foot walking on wet floor is to be avoided.

Laxative, appetite stimulants.

 

 

AUTUMN

Sweet, bitter& astringent

Green dal, rice, thinai (millet), pigeon pea, goatmilk, gooseberry, green and leafy vegetables.

To avoid day time sleep, overeating and exposure to dew; evening walk and wearing clean and neat dresses are advised.

Purgation with oils and bloodletting procedures.

WINTER

Sweet, sour & salt

Urududal and wheat containing diet should be added.

Early breakfast, usage of warm water and warm clothes and avoiding direct exposure to cold.

Oils that minimise vayu should be applied on head and body.

EARLY SPRING

Sweet, sour & astringent

                  SAME         AS      FOR

WINTER                  

SEASON

SPRING      

 

 

 

 

            

Bitter, pungent & astringent

 Rice, thuvarai (pigeon pea), ghee, kezhvaragu (ragi) and fruits like mango, banana and jack mixed with honey should be added to diet. Pieces of sandalwood or vettiver (Vetiveria zizanioides) to be put in boiled and cooled water and used for drinking.

 Sleep during day time and wakefulness during night should be avoided.

Emetics and nasal applications.

SUMMER

Sweet

Easily digestible tasty food rich in fiber and water content should be taken. Grapes, pomegranate, cardamom, ilupaipoo (flower of Madhuca longifolia), jathicai (nutmeg) and palm jaggery are also recommended for this season.

Consumption of alcohol to be strictly avoided.

Medicines that normalize vatham.

 

NAAL OZHUKKAM (DAILY DISCIPLINE)

A whole day is divided in to six parts known as sirupozhuthu (small periods), and each part of the day is dominated by a humour as follows:

Vaigarai   (dawn) 

2 A.M TO 6 A.M

KABAM

Kalai         (morning) 

 6 A.M TO 10 A.M

VATHAM

Nanpagal  (noon)

10 A.M TO 2 P.M

PITHAM

Aerpadu    (dusk)  

2 P.M TO 6 P.M

KABAM    

Malai         (evening)

6 P.M TO 10 P.M

VATHAM

Yamam      (midnight)

10 P.M TO 2 A.M

PITHAM

1.A healthy person should wake up between 4 to 6 a.m. This will help the three humours to be maintained in the balanced state.

2.Drinking pure water immediately after waking will help to normalize, if any aggravation of pitham humour. It will also help to avoid constipation.

3.Evacuation of bowels in the morning is essential for appetite and balancing of three humours.

4.Brushing the teeth in the morning with twigs of trees like asokku (Saraca asoka), vembu (neem), aathi (beedi leaf tree), aal (Indian banyan), vel (gum Arabic tree) etc are recommended.

5.Oil bath, at least twice in a week will help in prevention of diseases. Also siddhars have specified the time hour during which oil bath should be taken during each month of a year.

6.Pancha karpam powder, which is a mixture of kasthuri manjal (aromatic turmeric), milagu (pepper), vembin vithu (seed of neem), kadukkai thol (skin of Terminalia chebula fruit) ,nelli paruppu (seed of gooseberry), mixed with boiled milk and applied on head before taking bath keeps the body cool and the humours static.

7.Food should be taken only after the previous diet has been properly digested. Only when hungry, one should take food and that too in right quantity depending upon the need.

8.While sleeping one should lie in the left lateral position keeping the left hand supporting the head and the left knee flexed and right leg extended over it. Day time sleep should be avoided. Sleeping bed should be used depending upon the season and the affecting disease.  For instance, sleeping in mat made up of screw pine leaves (Thazhampai padukkai) is advised for giddiness, vomiting and aggravation of pitham.

9.Natural urges should not be suppressed. They are flatus, sneeze, micturition, defecation, yawning, hunger, thirst, cough, rapid breathing, sleep, vomiting, tears, ejaculation and normal breathing.

10.Good virtues should be practiced, leaving all evil deeds and characters.

According to the siddhar Therayar, the following principles should be followed for long life, as mentioned in his classic poem,

“பாலுண்போம்; எண்ணை பெறின் வெந்நீரில் குளிப்போம்;

பகற்புணரோம்.............................

  • Drink cow’s milk at night.
  • Use warm water during oil baths.
  • Avoid coitus and sleep during day time.
  • Avoid sexual intercourse with women more than of your age.
  • Avoid direct exposure to sun rays.
  • Don’t suppress urination and defecation.
  • Sleep on left side.
  • Avoid any meat that causes piles disorder.
  • Take plenty of curd.
  • Avoid any food cooked on the previous day.
  • Eat only when hungry
  • Eat two times a day.
  • Avoid having sexual intercourse frequently.
  • Drink water only after finishing a meal.
  • Avoid all tubers other than elephant foot (Yam).
  • Do little walking after every meal.
  • Use emetic once in six months.
  • Have purgation once in four months.
  • Apply nasal application once in one and a half month.
  • Shave once in a week.
  • Have oil bath once in four days.
  • Avoid exposure to perfumes and fragrance from flowers in night.
  • Avoid exposure to dust and other allergens.
  • Revere God, cow with calf, elders and teachers.

UNAVU (DIET)

Siddhars have also recommended dietary habits to be followed for a healthy life. Food habits like time of diet, quantity, constituents of a healthy diet etc are mentioned in detail in siddha literature. Especially specific ingredients to be added in diet, for people with different body constitutions, are recommended. Few important ingredients can be found in the table below.

 

BODY CONSTITUTON    

INGREDIENTS TO BE ADDED IN DIET

VATHAM

bitter gourd, velavarai (Dolichos lablab), manathakkali (Solanum nigrum), yanai nerunchil (Tribulus terrestris), mookiratai (Boerhaavia difffusa), musumusukai (Mukia maderaspatana) etc.

PITHAM

cucumber, vallarai (Centella asiatica), puliarai (Oxalis corniculata), kovai (Coccinea grandis), ponmusuttai (Sida acuta), oritazhttamarai (Lonidium suffrutiocosum), sundai (Solanum torvum) etc.

KABAM

brinjal, peipudal (Trichosanthes cucumerina), bittergourd, fig, pepper, turmeric, mustard, sundai (Solanum torvum),tender gooseberry etc.

KAYAKARPAM

Kayakarpam is one of the special therapies in siddha system of medicine which deals with decreasing the morbidity and increasing the lifespan of an individual. Kayakarpa drugs are classified in to general (pothu karpam) and specific (sirappu karpam). The general karpam drugs can be taken by any one at any time for attaining optimum health, whereas specific drugs are meant for period of illnesses and physical imbalances.

The general drugs are very much beneficial in boosting the immune system, and thereby preventing diseases. According to Siddha Materia Medica, Kayakalpa formulations include herbs, minerals and elements of animal kingdom.

Some herbal kayakarpa drugs are mentioned here,

 

 

TAMIL NAME

BOTANICAL NAME

  PARTS USED

    DURATION

METHOD OF CONSUMPTION

Ven thutthi

Abutilon vitifolium

Leaf and flower

40 days

As curry

Sen nayuruvi

Achyranthes aspera

Whole plant

40 days

Decoction

Vilvam

Aegle marmelos

Fruit

40 days

Decoction/pickle

Katrazhai

Aloe barbadensis

Fleshy leaf

40 days

Dried powder

Ponnangkani

Alternanthera sessilis

Whole plant

40 days

Fried with ghee, pepper and salt

Kodi pasalai

Basella alba

Leaf

40 days

As curry

Mukkirattai

Boerhavia diffusa

Whole plant

40 days

As curry

Milagu

Piper nigrum

Seed

80 days

One pepper on first day, increasing one by one up to 40 on 40th day and then gradually decreasing up to one till 80th day.

Vallarai

Centella asiatica

Leaf

40 days

As curry

Pirandai

Cissus quadrangularis

Stem

40 days

As curry adding pepper and salt.

Elumichai

Citrus limon

Fruit

Six months

Juice or pickles.

Kovai

Coccinia grandis

Fruit

40 days

As curry

Chirakam

Cuminum cyminum

Seeds

80 days

One seed on first day, increasing one by one up to 40 on 40th day and then gradually decreasing up to one till 80th day.

Karisalankanni

Eclipta alba

Whole plant

60 days

Powder(Chooranam)with tender coconut water for one month followed by one month with honey.

Nelli

Emblica officinalis

Fruit

40 days

500mg powder (chooranam) along with 100mg Abraga chendooram with honey.

Vishnu karanthai

Evolvulus alsinoides

Whole plant

40 days

5 gm of fresh plant with milk

Aalamviluthu

Ficus benghalensis

Ariel roots

40 days

Juice 1 to 2 ml with sugar candy

Orithazh thaamarai

Hypanthus enneaspermus

Whole plant

40 days

5gm paste with milk

Thumbai

Leucas cephalotes

Whole plant

40 days

1 to 2gm powder with butter

Malai vembu

Melia azedarach

Leaf and bark

40 days

1 to 2 gm powder with milk

Manathakkali

Solanum nigrum

Whole plant

40 days

Curry /pickles/decoction

Thuthuvalai

Solanum trilobatum

Whole plant

40 days

As curry/ pickles

Kadukkai

Terminalia chebula

Epicarp

40 days

Powder (500 – 1000mg) with water

Amukkara

Withania somnifera

Root

40 days

500mg powder mixed with ghee

Inji

Zingiber officinale

Rhizome

40 days

Outer skin removed, sliced, soaked in honey and 3 to 5 slices , early in the morning

Note: Consulting a siddha physician is necessary for choosing the right preventive measure / diet/ kayakalpam drug, depending upon the body constitution and other factors for optimum results.

References:

  • 1.Dr.K.S. Uthamarayan, Siddha Maruthuvanga churukkam, Directorate of Indian Medicine & Homeopathy, Chennai- 106, 2006, pages 253-313,386-434.
  • 2.K.S. Murugesa Mudaliar, Siddha Materia Medica, Directorate of Indian Medicine & Homeopathy, Chennai-106, 2013.
  • 3.A hand book of common siddha kayakalpa herbs for healthy life, Central Council for Research in Ayurveda and Siddha, New Delhi- 58, 2008.

  • PUBLISHED DATE : Nov 20, 2015
  • PUBLISHED BY : Dr. G. Jeba Singh
  • CREATED / VALIDATED BY : Dr. G JEBA SINGH (CREATOR)
  • LAST UPDATED ON : Feb 09, 2016

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