Siddha Vaidya-Chemistry

Chemistry can be defined as the science that relates to the peculiar properties of matter of the elementary substances, the proportions of elements combinations, methods of separation, the laws which govern and affect them; a simpler definition can be the Anatomy of natural bodies by fire. Chemistry had been found developed into a Science auxiliary to medicine and Alchemy in Siddha Vaidya.

The knowledge of active principles of plants and minerals in this alternative system of medicine was of a very high order. Siddhar’s presentation of Chemistry is masterly though fragmentary, but one can gain knowledge and collect materials for research in the field of ancient chemistry, it is available only in the works of Siddha Vaidya with exhaustive knowledge of chemical properties of active principles of plants and minerals. The credit goes to Siddhas who were the greatest scientists both almost all the branches of science.

Siddha vaidya is a vast repository of vegetable, animal, and mineral products. Several minerals like silver, gold, zinc, and copper were well known to Siddhas, used in the prevention and treatment of various ailments. Some of the minerals were known to have anti microbial actions and the physicians used them to save the lives in several cases. Usage of minerals seemed to have no adverse reaction on the humans. Some of the herbo mineral preparations were used to treat the skin ailments like psoriasis, alopecia, leprosy, diabetic ulcers, warts, vitiligo, eczema etc. The siddha system had also developed the process of obtaining metals from their ores.

Pioneering chemical processes invented by Siddha Vaidya

• There are 25 varieties of water-soluble inorganic compounds called ‘Muppu’, which are different types of alkalies and salts.
• There are 64 groups of mineral drugs which are insoluble in water, but emit vapors when put in fire. Out of these, thirty-two are natural and the rest are artificial.
• There are seven drugs insoluble in water, which emit vapor on heating.
• There are classes of metals and alloys, which melt when heated and solidifies on cooling, such as gold, silver, copper, tine, lead and iron. These are incinerated by special processes and used in medicine.
• There is a group of drugs that exhibit sublimation on heating including mercury and its various compounds.

• Sulfur and mercury, which are insoluble in water, find a significant place in Siddha materia medica.

Chemical processes like calcinations of metals, preparation of extracts and essences from minerals and other natural bodies or substances preparations of mercury such as animated mercury, pills for flying in the air, calcinated powders such as red-oxide, marvelous property of transmuting metals, preparation of caustic alkali from the ashes of plants and several other preparations of medicine with high potency and power, some of them even capable of rejuvenating the whole human system were in exhaustive procedures in the poetic form of Siddha Vaidya texts.

Anyone who had made a special study of the Siddha Science will naturally come to the conclusion that it is the fountain head of all knowledge and sciences.

Siddha’s knowledge of poisons also was not in any way inferior; it had been very exhaustive and surpassing as seen from the description of the properties of poisons furnished below. According to their science, poisons are divided into two main classes, viz: Natural or Native and Artificial or Synthetic, each of which is further sub-divided into 32 kinds making up total of 64 kinds.

Calcified Oxide, red-oxide, carbonate, were prepared from chemical salts, mercury, sulphur, arsenic, zinc, vermilion, corrosive sublimate, sal-ammoniac, bichloride of mercury, borax, etc.

The Siddha system used the cleansing process of metals like lead, copper iron, mercury, etc. The process of cupellation which was thought to be originated from Arab countries was known to Siddhas much before.
Siddha Vaidya and Alchemy

The Siddhars were also aware of the several alchemical operations divided onto several processes such as calcinations, sublimation, distillation, dissolution, fusion, separation, conjunction or combination, coagulation, fermentation, exaltation, i.e., the action or process of refining gold, fixation, i.e., the action or process of refining gold, fixation, i.e., bringing to the condition of being non-volatile, i.e., to the state of resisting the action of fire purification, incineration of metals, animation or vivification, fabrication, liquification, extraction and so on, list of these processes were endless.

No doubt Siddhas were very much interested in the mineral side of Alchemy is evidenced from the fact that medicines prepared from minerals and salts were often freely used in this system of medicine and Mercury occupied the central place in Alchemy.

‘Muppu’ was believed as a ‘Universal Salt’ for calcinating metals and other metallic compounds and as such compounded in all medicines. Even the caustic alkali preparation from Fuller’s earth played an important role; and whenever this alkali acted too strongly, it was generally moderated by the addition of sour-gruel (acetic acid).

The Siddhas were also aware of the mystic process of killing a metal which means depriving a metal of its characteristic physical properties such as its color and luster; and a list of such agents are already given under ‘chemistry’ (supra). Mercury is said to be Siva’s generative principle and its efficacy enhanced when it has been subjected six times to the process of killing.

There were several evidences to prove the abilities of Siddha inventions in the chemical processes and their usage in treatment of diseases. One such evidence states that ‘Marco polo’ during his travels stopped at Malabar Coast of Kerala around the year of 1293 and met a group of Siddhas to enquire about the preparations of Mercury and Sulphur which could increase the span of human life to 150 – 200 years. According to Siddhas, Mercury is looked upon as the seminal seed of Lord Shiva which formed a triad with sulfur and air that corresponds to Sun, Moon and wind. Mercury, Siddhas say that it can drive away any disease; all absorbing just like Lord Shiva who takes up the entire universe in his body and transforms the existence into essence. The same principle is transferred to chemical reactions.

Author: vijayalakshmi kuchimanchi

I am a retiree worked in the field of Life sciences, greatly interested in promoting alternative medicine, more in Herbs and a student trying to learn Hindu Philosophy for the past several years. In addition to these I want to be a learner of every modern technological inventions , at the same time promote the greatness of Hindu Culture.


  1. This Blog was most helpful, your ideas are straight to the point, and the colors are cool too.

  2. I just signed up to your blogs rss feed. Will you post more on this subject?

  3. aarthi velmurugan says:

    ofcourse siddha system consists of miracuous chemistry and the knowledge of siddhars towards herbo mineral preparations by their yogic awareness and experimental findings reveals that they are spiritual scientists. siddha being holistic ammd divine system of medicine should be brought to light of the world through scientific validation and right path of approach.

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