Siddha system is one of the oldest systems of medicine in India . The term Siddha means achievements and Siddhars were saintly persons who achieved results in medicine. Eighteen Siddhars were said to have contributed towards the development of this medical system. Siddha literature is in Tamil and it is practised largely in Tamil speaking part of India and abroad. The Siddha System is largely therapeutic in nature.
The original Home allotted to mankind by the Creator was in the temparate and fertile region of the East and pointedly in India. It is from here that the human race began its culture and career. India may, therefore, be safely stated as that the first country from which human culture and civilization originated and spread. According to Indian history prior to Aryans migration, the Dravidian was the first inhabitant of India of whom the Tamilians were the most prominent. The Tamilians were not only the earliest civilized but also those who may more considerable progress in civilization than any other early people. The languages of India were divided into two great classes, the northern with Sanskrit as the pre-pondering element and the southern with Dravidian language as independent bases. The science of medicine is of fundamental importance to man's well being be and his survival and so it must have originated with man and developed as civilization. It is, therefore rather pointless to try to determine the exact point of time to which the beginning of these systems could be traced They are eternal, they began with man and may end with him. The Siddha was flouriest in south and Ayurveda prevalent in the north. Instead of giving the name of any of individual as the founder of these systems our ancestors attributed their origin to the creator. According to the tradition it was Shiva who unfolded the knowledge of Siddha system of medicine to his concert Parvati who handed it down to Nandi Deva and he the Siddhars. The Siddhars were great scientists in ancient times.
According to tradition, the origin of Siddha system of medicine is attributed to the great Siddha Ayastiyar. Some of his works are still standard books of medicine and surgery in daily use among the Siddha Medical practitioners.
This principles and doctrines of this system, both fundamental and applied, have a close similarity to Ayurveda, with specialization in Iatro-chemistry. According to this system the human body is the replica of the universe and so are the food and drugs irrespective of their origin.
Like Ayurveda, this system believes that all objects in the universe including human body are composed of five basic elements namely, earth, water, fire, air and sky. The food, which the human body takes and the drugs it uses are all, made of these five elements. The proportion of the elements present in the drugs vary and their preponderance or otherwise is responsible for certain actions and therapeutic results.
As in Ayurveda, This system also considers the human body as a conglomeration of three humours, seven basic tissues and the waste products of the body such as faeces, urine and sweat. The food is considered to be basic building material of human body which gets processed into humours, body tissues and waste products. The equilibrium of humours is considered as health and its disturbance or imbalance leads to disease or sickness.
This system also deals with the concept of salvation in life. The exponents of this system consider achievement of this state is possible by medicines and meditation.