Siddha System of Medicine also known as Siddha Vaidya in India is the oldest among the Indian Medical Systems. It is about 10,000 years old. Siddha System of Medicine is considered to be of Dravidian origin and has all its literature in Tamil. The word 'Siddha' comes from 'Siddhi' which means an object to be attained or perfection of heavenly bliss.Siddha can be termed as a scientific art, which was founded by Siddharth's or evolved souls (numbering 18) who lived in the past. Of these 18 Siddhars, Agasthiyar is considered the foremost and his work is considered as outstanding in Siddha Medicine. More than just a medical system, Siddha is a method dealing with intense spirituality and immense possibility for the betterment of human beings. In short, Siddha medicine means 'Medicine that is eternally perfect'.
Like Ayurveda, Siddha is also a traditional medicinal system of India. Siddha originated and flourished in Tamil Nadu, South India while Ayurveda is prevalent both in South India as well as North India. The basic concepts of the Siddha medicine are the same as those of Ayurveda. In both systems, the basis of treatment is the three element theory or 'tridosha' (three humours). The three humours are Vatha (air), Pitta (bile) and Kapha (phlegm). It is believed that without these humour an individual cannot exist and imbalance of these may cause diseases. The major factors that affect or disturb the equilibrium state of these three humours (tridhoshas) in our body are diet, physical activities, environmental factors and stress.
Siddha medicine system has a vast wealth of drug knowledge. In Siddha, medicines are based mostly on herbs and metallurgy. Preparations are made mainly out of the parts of the plants and trees such as leaves, bark, stem, root etc., but also include mineral and some animal substances. Powdered gold, silver and other metals extract from pearls and corals, and juices of herbs are mainly used for the manufacture of Siddha medicines. The use of metals like gold, silver and iron powders in some preparations is a special feature of Siddha medicine, which claims it can detoxify metals to enable them to be used for stubborn diseases. The treatment of Siddha medicine is aimed at keeping the three humors at equilibrium state in the body thereby keeping the seven elements in normal condition to have a healthy body and mind. The Siddha system includes not only medicine and alchemy but also yoga and philosophy.
To be successful in this field, practitioners should have good memory and recollection ability, service mentality, patience, self-confidence, logical and analytical mind, decision-making ability, communication and counselling skills etc. Apart from all the above, they must possess a strong sense of responsibility as the patient's life depends on him.
Government and Private Hospitals, Clinics, Nursing homes, Health Departments, Medical colleges, Drug companies, pharmaceutical companies, research institutions
To become a Siddha practitioner one should have bachelor's degree in Siddha (B.S.M.S). There are Siddha medical colleges which offer undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses. The duration of undergraduate course Bachelor of Siddha Medicine and Surgery (B.S.M.S.) is 5 1/2 years and post graduate course M.D. (Siddha) is 3 years.
Like other forms of medicine, the minimum qualification for a bachelor course in Siddha is 10+2 with PCB (Physics, Chemistry & Biology). However, arts and humanities students can also apply. Additionally, for pursuing a course in Siddha system, you need knowledge of Tamil language. Admission/selection to this course is made based on a Common Entrance Examination.