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Antiquity of Medical information in

Sangam age and Its Congruences with

Siddha Medicine
Pre amble:
The Sangam age is considered to be primitive and relics of ancient Tamil culture are
being excavated from it. The Antiquity of Siddha Medicine system lies in the Dravidian
culture and has its deep roots in Sangam literature. Tolkappiyam, Ettuthogai,Pathinen keel
kanakku,Pathu Pattu, twin epics(Silambu/Manimekalai), Asarakovai, (Elathy,Siru pancha
moolam, Thiri kadugam Publications of Kadai sangam) ,Agananuru,Purananuru are some
of the Sangam texts which describe about the plants which are used


contemporarily in Siddha .
Tantrism is a pre Vedic cult and laid a foundation stone to many of the religious thought
forms. The healing system evolved from tantrism is Siddha medicine. Lord Siva is considered
as the founder of Tantrism.Naadi tharpana a text book on Naadi paritchai describes about
reflections and inspirations of Tantrism laid foundation for pulse reading in Ayurvedam.Even
Tantrism laid basic philosophies to Pulse reading.

Ilangovadigal call the physicians as

ayulvedhargal. Tolkappiyam mentioned about uyiriyal kolgai. It differentiated life forms

according the rationale of sensual perceptions. Silappathikaram quoted about Basic principles
used in Siddha (Five senses, five sensory perceptions, 10 vayus, 10 naadis etc.). Tolkappiyam
/Agam / Puram mentioned about Habitats for human living (Kurinchi- Hilly tract / Mullai
wooded area / Marutham- Agricultural tract / Neithal Coastal tract/ Paalai Arid Tract).
Asarakovai Said about rules and regulations for a healthy life. Even though there is a lot of
mention about plants their medicinal properties are little described because all the Literature
of Sangam period deals with love Emotions and Human behaviors. Establishment of Usage of
Medicinal plants in Sangam age may be helpful for tracking behind the age of Siddha
medicine the medical system of Dravidians.

Medical Information in Ancient literature and its congruences with Siddha system
Vembu and Kadukkai Tolkappiyam
Vembu and Kadukkai are bitter and astringents which are not palatable to taste but yields a
lot of Medical benefits in Post digestion. These plants are equated with hard advices which
are non-palatable initially but yields betterment later and also annotated as when you use
them in need words are worthy.

Tolkappiyam also describes about usage of flowers of Medical benefits as logos in War front.
Cherans used Flower from Palmyrah (Panam poo), Cholas used Aathi flower (Bauhinia
racemosa) and Pandyas used Neem flower.
Neem leaves are used along with Manjal (Iravam) for Quarantine in epidemics which is a
habit mentioned in Purananuru.

Kadugu Brassica juncea

Usage of Kadugu for post war wounds are in practice as a bed .Fumigations with narandam
and cleaning with Lotus stem are mentioned.

Conservation of Medicinal plants

People of Sangam period are very cautious and adopt conservation practices which are
evident from Versions of Nattrinai that trees of medicinal values are to be sparingly used.

In Silambu the medicated water used by Madhavi for bathing consists of 10 astringents, Five
Seeds and 32 types of fragrant substances called omalikaikal. She washes her hair with
application of Javadhu, Maan madham, and Kasthurimanjal.
Medicated herbal seats for people attaining Siddhis
Nachinarkiniyar who has written annotations for Silambu quoted that people who have
attained Siddhi (Meiunarvu) are made to be seated in seat made of Lotus petals/ Ambal petals
and Samai.

Pulses and Grains

People of Sangam age used eight types of pulses which clearly indicate the present day health
advice of Multi Grain theory.

Aquatic medicinal plants

Cultivation of Aquatic plants and ponds are mandates of NMBP today. These practices were
traditionally present which is evident from Manimekalai which Narrates about cultivation of
these plants in the Agali (Neeraran).
Nelli finds its place in Kurunthogai, Agananuru, Purananuru, and Nattrinai and is mentioned
for goodness and longevity.
There were mentions about Milagu in various literatures.


Malai padu kadam

Inji manjal Painkari piravum


Milagu exported from Tamilnadu is used as Levy paid by people of Rome to vacate a king.

The literary references quoted above establishes the mention of Many medicnal plants and
Basic Siddha Philosophies in Sangam Literature and Further studies may discover many
medical prescriptions and Evidences for the Antiquity of Siddha system the chattels of
Dravidians and Tamils.