There are 32 types of External Treatments in Siddha Medicine
- Kattukal or Bandaging : The raw drugs and medicines like leaves bran etc are either ground or cooked. This is then tied or bandaged in affected part.
- Pattru or Medicated Pack application : The raw materials are either ground or juices of leaf, bark, root etc are heated or not heated and applied or pasted on the affected area.
e.g- Neerkovai mathirai patru applied on fore- head in case of head ache or sinusitis
- Ottradam or Formentation : The substances like lime powder, bran, brick powder, egg- shell, leaves of medicinal plants like Nochi (Vitex negundo), Erukku (Calotropis gigantea), Amanakku (Ricinus communis), Thuthi (Abutilon indicum) etc are tied in a cloth as a bundle. This medicated bundle is heated and applied over the affected area.
This type of treatment is very effective for Vatham ailments (Arthritis) and painful conditions like muscle cramps, bone disorders etc.
- Poochu : External application of either boiled juices of leaves or thailam (oil) on the diseased part. e.g- Manjal poochu
- Vedhu or Steam therapy : Application or exposing medicated steam over affected part or whole body. This type of treatment is helpful in curing Vatham as well as Kapham diseases.
The materials used for this treatment is medicinal herb like Nochi and Thumbai, Turmeric powder, Salt Water, Red brick and benzoin.
This treatment is helpful in treating Sinusitis, Pain and oedema in any part of body, Muscular pain etc. A special steam apparatus is used to provide steam to the whole body.
- Pottanam : The raw drugs are either pounded or leaves of medicinal plants are fried, tied in a cloth piece as bundle. This medicated bundle is dipped in a particular medicated oil and then applied over affected area.
e.g- Navara (arisi) kizhi
- Thokkanam or Physical manupulation : This treatment may be defined as physical manipulation of body or the massage treatment which is either given to the entire body or a particular diseased part. Massage is done in two ways: First is just by using bare hands and second by usindg oil. There are 9 techniques used in this treatment.
a.Thattal b. Irukkal c. Pidithal d. Murukal e. Kaikattal f. Azhuthal g. Izhuthal h. Malarthuthal i. Asaithal.
- Pugai or Fumigation : Application of medicated fumes to different parts of the body. For e.g- Fumes generated by using Agasthiyar kuzhambu, Jeerakam or cumin seeds, chukku powder (dried ginger), turmeric, flower of Datura metel are used clinically. Mostly the apparatus used for fumigation has a long neck and a broad base. The diseases related to Kapham are easily cured by this treatment. In Siddha, mercurial preparations are used for fumigation in case of heamorrhoids, cancer of cervix and uterus, fistula in ano.
- Mai : Raw drugs is ground with Anjanakkal and leaf juices, it is then prepared into a mai or waxy form by adding ghee. Mai is nothing but collyrium for the eyes. It is also prepared by using the carbon produced by burning certain raw drugs and then mixing it with herbal decoctions flower juices honey etc. e.g- Neelanjanamai
- Podi Thimirthal : This type of external treatment involves the rubbing of certian medicated powders either seperately or after mixing it with camphor or leaf juice. Subtances like horse gram flour, turmeric powder etc are used.
- Kalikkam : This type of treatment involves the application of eye drops after mixing and dissolving the medicated pills in honey, plant juices, breast milk etc.
- Nasiyam or Nasal application : External medicines which are used as nasal drops is used in this type of treatment. In this, the raw drugs after being ground with herbal juices are made into a pill, teid in a cloth soaked in any herbal juice, mother milk etc and instilled in nose drop by drop. Individual oil or herbal juices or flower juices are also used for nasiyam. e.g- Peenisa thylam, Flower juice of Leucas aspera or thumba.
Note : It is advised to give steam exposure to entire body of the patient before nasiyam for better results.
- Oothal or Blowing with mouth : Certain leaves or medicines are chewed and the aroma is blown into the nose or ears of the patient. e.g – Chukku powder is blown in case of faintness in varma injury.
- Nasika paranam : In this type of treatment either powdered raw drugs or raw drugs after soaking in herbal juice, milk etc are dried in shade, powdered, sieved and applied into the nostrills e.g- Iluppai podi, Akkarakara podi.
- Kalimbu or Ointment : This is a form of medicine used externally in form of ointment. In this certain mineral compounds, astringent materials like Terminalia chebula are powdered, ground with butter and applied over wounds and ulcers.
e.g- Poora kalimbu, Vanga virana kalimbu.
- Seelai or Medicated plasters : This type of external medicine is in form of medicated plasters.
Plasters are prepared by grinding toxic materials in water or herbal juice. A piece of cloth is soaked in this and externally applied over wounds.
e.g- Cloth soaked in Turmeric water and applied
- Neer or Medicated water : This type of external medicine is in form of Medicated water for washing wounds and ulcers. They are antiseptic solutions. This is prepared by either soaking the raw drugs in water and making a decoction of it or diluting the caustic substances.
- Varthi or Medicated wicks : This type of external medicine is in form of medicated wicks. Caustic substances are ground well with herbal juices or decoctions, a piece of cloth is soaked in this and a wick is prepared. The wicks are applied or inserted into granulomatous tracks in fistula, sinuses and non- healing ulcers. The wicks prepared by corrosive substances increases the size of sinuses and disintegrate the necrosed tisssues from the ulcers. Wicks prepared from astringent substances can be applied to arrest bleeding through nose, rectum or vagina. Wicks can be preparedfrom honey and rocksalt ( induppu) and inserted into the anal orifice for purgation.
- Chuttigai or Heat application : This is otherwise called heat application. It can be done by using Needle (Loha Chuttigai), Broken Earthen Pots (Mann Chuttigai), Piece of Wood (Mara Chuttigai), Heated air (Kaal Chuttigai), Sun bath (Kaanthi Chuttigai).
This type of applications are usually done over vertex, forehead, chest, back, hands and legs.
- Salagai or Probing method : This is application of a probe which is a slender apparatus made up of a metal used to trace out fistulous tracks.
- Pasai or Paste : Raw drugs are added to melted wax or castor oil and applied over the affected areas.
e.g- Kungiliya pasai used for wounds
- Kali : It is prepared by grinding certain drugs like Alli seeds ( Lepidium sativum) and Rice flour with water or cows milk, heated and applied to the affected areas.
e.g- In case of abcesses, Rice flour and Turmeric are ground well with water, heated made into kali and applied over it.
- Podi or Dusting method : Powdered raw drugs are applied over the wounds and ulcers. Usually astringent substances are used.
e.g Poora podi, Vengara podi
- Murichal or Reduction method : This is a method of physical manipulation in which bone setting is done to correct the dislocation of bones.
- Keeral or Incision : In this method, an incision is made over the boils, abcesses, carbuncles, acne etc so as to drain the accumulated pus, blood, water etc out of them.
- Karam or Caustic application : It is the method of application of Medicated Caustic drugs over areas of excision or chronic ulcers.
- Attai vidal or Leech application : Leech application over affected areas of inflammations, blocks etc. The leeches which used therapeutically are not ordinary or dangerous ones. They are beneficial leeches which are let on the affected area for some time, the leeches suck the impure blood in that area and drop on its own usually. Hence the disease gets relieved. Leech application is usually done for haemorrhoids, contusions, swellings, tumours and ulcers.
- Aruvai or Surgery : Clinical conditions which needs surgical treatment like tumours , unwanted growths etc are removed or excised using surgical instrument of Siddha medicine like kathi, chathiram etc. This method of Excision of the affected part is called Aruvai.
- Kombu kattal or Bone setting : The conditions like bone fracture, dislocation of joints are treated by immobilisation using Kombu(marasattam or splint), and bandages after proper reduction through traditional methods. The length and width of the splint vary according to the necessity. This is done to retain the normal anatomical position of the affected parts. Immobilisation for a specific period leads to reunion of bones.
- Urinjal or Sucking method : The conditions like deep seated pus, blood clot or foreign material in the body is removed by using special instruments for sucking and drainage. This technique is called Urinjal.
- Kuruthi vangal or Blood letting method : This is a process of blood letting in the conditions where there is accumulation of toxic blood. In this type of treatment a minor incision is made on the blood vessel and the excess blood is let out.
- Peechu or Enema : In the conditions like surgeries, deliveries etc, evacuation of stools has to be done as a pre-operative step. For this laxative solutions are passed through anal canal and hence lead to purgation. This technique is called Peechu or enema.
These 32 types of External treatment are well explained by the Siddhar’s thousands of years ago without the back support of Modern Science and Technology. The techniques employed by Siddhars were modified as time passed and today we have got the latest methods of surgery and other treatment aspects. But as a matter of fact these treatments are still practiced by Traditional Siddha Vaidyars or Practioners. It is still to realise that what led to the expansion of Modern Medicine – The Science or Technology?