Siddha Vaidya conceptualizes on Habitat, Seasons and Diet which can be prevented or adapted depending on the situations. The main purpose of is to stop/ prevent the disease from its root cause instead of treating the disease superficially. Though the treatment is slow but when the prescribed regimen is practiced correctly definite cure is waiting at the corner.
But the question is how to prevent the ailments?
Siddha’s recommended certain rules for the prevention of ailments popularly known as ‘Pini Anugaa vidhi’ in Tamil. There are around twenty three rules stated by the system starting from the ways to drinking water to when eat to meals, what to eat, bathing procedures, sleep patterns, purgatory methods in fact everything that relates to keeping oneself healthy and hygienic.
The system emphasizes if these rules are practiced with strict regime, one can keep away from death. The rules are planned with deep scientific values much before modern medicine.
Gerontology (Kaya karpam): According to this particular concept if one can maintain a healthy body gives way to healthy mind essential for salvation. Preventive measures retain youthfulness of the body which is essential for perfection in spirituality. Gerontology concentrates on two principles:
Prevention / Rejuvenation are done in three categories
1. Drugs that are of plant origin ( Mooliga Karpam)
2. Mineral s/ animal products ( thathu ) which also includes an unique combination of three salts called ‘Muppu’
3. Yoga: Siddhas themselves prescribed some of the postures and practices which help to maintain body as well as the soul. Renowned saint ‘Thirumoolar’ gave detailed descriptions of several yogasanas in his work by name, ‘Thirumandiram’.
Habitat and Season
Being holistic science of medicine, Siddha Vaidya visualizes human beings as microcosm and the universe as macrocosm, believes in planetary changes and natural rhythms (seasonal) influences the physiological nature of any living being. One of the quotes from the ancient texts states that environment is same in / out side of our body meaning body physiology must be in accordance with the season so that it can adapt well with the current season.
What is habitat? Habitat is a place we live, which can be subdivided further depending on the geographical area, climate, plants and animals present in that area like for example arid, coastal belt, hilly regions, and agricultural fields.
According to Siddha Vaidya, each of these geographically distinct areas entertains one particular type of humor (thathu).
For example – in the mountainous regions phlegm (kapham) related ailments are prevalent; where as in coastal belt is famous for wind (Vatham).
Desert areas influence bile (pitham). In all the areas agricultural belts are meant to be for healthy living.
When it comes to seasons there are six seasons with two months of duration while the days are again divided into six periods of four hours each.
Seasons have tremendous effect on the nature of the human body therefore prevention of ailments become mandatory in that particular season and Siddha Vaidya had taken care of this area also by prescribing precise preventive methods.
A cyclic rhythm of three humors in a day or season was meticulously planned, explained to us by the Siddhars.
For example: to wake up at 4.00 AM – 5 .00 AM in the morning keep the mind fresh. The reason behind this is that the air is purest and rich with oxygen and helps to balance the three humors. The functions to be performed by the body like brushing teeth, taking baths, body exercises and the type of cloths to be used for dressing , Siddhars had explained each process with reasoning why only natural products to be used. Like chewing a herbal twig (neem) increases the salivation, acts as astringent, disinfectant and at the same time, the fibres in the twig help to removes the dead germs and particles stuck in between the teeth.
Food and diet plays an important role in our daily routine. Food not only nourishes the body and also helps the body to grow. One of the verse in the ancient texts quotes, ‘diet can act as medicine’ giving utmost importance to diet.
The diet in this alternative medicine is based on the taste of the food. Siddhars have recommended six different types of tastes (sweet, sour, pungent, bitter, salt and astringent) depending on the seasons. Saint Thiruvallur explains that there are three main factors determine a good diet is the taste, nature of the person who is consuming the food and the time of the season.
The Siddha medicine discourages certain combinations in food like fish and milk or milk and green leafy vegetables because these combinations can create adverse effects on the body. The system propagates the fact that the food must be always compatible with the nature meaning the tri doshas of a person. In the same way they had also promoted different variations and prescriptions for seasonal changes.
Daily regimen rounds off with a good night’s sleep because sleep rejuvenates the body.
Siddhars also recommended the seasonal conduct which gives a clear understanding about the precautionary measures to be taken in the last/ first seven days of the seasons.