The fundamental principle of Siddha system appears to have vanished over the years and that is why the Siddha system has lost its charm and relevance. The cardinal principle of Siddha system is ‘Unave marunthu’ (food is medicine).
If we elaborate the above principle of Siddha scientifically, we can say with certainty that food is indeed medicine and that can offer health if we consume in the right proportion and quantity. But if eat like a glutton, even the good food can cause several problems like obesity and other associated complications.
The ancient Siddhars perhaps would have looked at the human health problems in those days (centuries ago) and would have analyzed the differences in the food ate by those who suffers from some health problems. And would have later suggested astutely that if one treats the food as medicine, can remain hale and healthy. In those days, the disease, its etiology and drugs to treat various diseases were not known and available.
Perhaps Siddhars does not wants to stop with the above simple piece of advice that ‘treat food as medicine’, they also went further and made several suggestions like how to keep the mind calm, the importance of following discipline even in the daily life, the need for change in lifestyle during different seasons etc. They are definitely treasures. But unfortunately those advisory notes and suggestions of our ancient Siddhars, instead of use them to save humanity, has been converted as system of medicine, brought a change in the Siddha curriculum to impart 5 year degree course called BSMS, MD etc., parallel to allopathic system of medicine.
Remember, all food substances can be treated as medicine and will offer health, but no medicine can ever be treated as food. It was known to the Siddhars in those days itself but such wisdom seems have been missing with the modern day institutionally trained Siddhars and those who are in the helm of affairs in Siddha system and that is why they call it ‘System of medicine’ like that of allopathic system.
When the system was made a separate system of medicine, unfortunately, those who got such status to the system could not achieve anything worthwhile from Siddha system exactly like what the allopathic drugs can offer.
China is smartly promoting the Chinese medicine only as TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and promoted only for health and welfare. Government of China is doing enormous research on several TCM preparations in line with global standards and the TCM preparations that show promise are converted as ‘drugs’. China never allowed the TCM practitioners to prescribe allopathic drugs. Even the term ‘doctor’ is restricted to TCM practitioners.
But in India, the people get their qualifications in Siddha BSMS and MD and some practice allopathic drugs either secretly and or openly. In order to masquerades the obvious that they are not practicing only allopathic drugs, also prescribe some Siddha preparations.
The paradox is that Siddha preparations prescribed by allopathic drug practicing Siddha practitioners are not because of the merit of such Siddha preparations or its usefulness to the patients but only to protect own interest, said Dr Abdul Abbas, MD-Siddha.
No one can question the possibility of several Siddha preparations having some medicinal value.
Thos who know the discovery of the first antibiotics – Penicillin by Alexander Fleming will never discredit and disrespect any scientific possibility. But will never stop questing as well. When Fleming observed the fact of ‘something’ from the fungus Penicillium notatum inhibiting the growth of Staphylococci, he went deeper into the fact of knowing ‘why, what and how’ the fungus, does this wonder.
If Alexander Fleming had suggested the juice of Penicillium notatum for treating bacterial diseases, he also would have created another system equivalent to Siddha system and the same would have struggled and suffered to see the light of the day.
The scientists not only went to know what and how, how much of such inhibiting substance (s) present in the fungus, how pure it is, is it effective in pure form or in crude form, is it toxic etc., and that is how the first antibiotic was born. Otherwise the story would have been like serving Nilavembu kudineer and Papaya leaf juice to Dengue and Chikungunya patients like the way tea and coffee are offered from a kettle.
Like China, we should brand the system as Traditional Siddha System and must define it for health and relief and not as system of medicine. Let research happen in line with global standards to bring out ‘drug’ from the system. The Siddha practitioners must use ‘Siddha/Citta’ Maruthuvam in Tamil along with their degree so that the system would get proper branding and visibility said one Siddha expert.
I learned that the CCIM did not permit the Siddha graduates to use the term ‘Doctor’ and were suppose to be called as Siddha Maruthuva Arignar (BSMS) and Siddha Maruthuva Per Arignar (BSMS, MD) in order to keep the identity and uniqueness of the system. It was the story once.
Branding of Siddha system must be done distinctly and not in comparison with allopathic system. Keep it away from allopathic system, preserve its exclusivity and never mix allopathy either in the curriculum or in your practice, said Dr Abdul Abbas, MD-Siddha.
Teach human anatomy, biochemistry and other subjects to the Siddha students and not allopathic science as it would only dilute the core values of Siddha system and would encourage only quackery. Even without such knowledge, many Siddha practitioners are already engaged in allopathic practice.
Dr S Ranganathan