Child care in siddha- An overview
Sathiya rajeswaran.P1, Kiruthiga.G2. , Patturayan.R3& Anandan.T4.
Siddha system, being the oldest traditional ways of maintaining a healthy life style is still prevalent and emphasizes the importance of physical, emotional, psychological, social well being. Siddha system describes about cycles of birth, death and the need to maintain one’s harmony within which has been later described as motcham or Eternal Bliss.
Healthy seeds yield healthy Generation. Pediatrics being one of the fine focus of Siddhars, they saw the perspective of a healthy seed for an entire life within the child hence meticulously brought out steps to nurture it right from the beginning.
An ancient epic brings out how the children were seen as demy-gods rather than off-springs. There were ceremonies that marked for
1. Birth (Information of Birth and registering in Community)
2. Introduction of Seinei/Urai marunthu by Maternal uncle to Develop Immunity (Sei Nei- consisting of juice of 54 herbs mixed with ricinolic oil administered in drops right from first day of birth. This is referred to as senai vaithal. Urai mathirai- prepared from herbs that are rich in polyphenolic compounds and tannins.)
3. Naming (Authenticating Gene Carriers with surname )
4. Ear-Boring (First Injury to develop Innate Immunity)
5. First solid feeding – Rice Introduction (To Introduce Macro and Micro nutrients)
6. Induction of Knowledge (To develop Cognitive parameters)
Which were celebrated in order to develop Natural immunity, social maturity, emotional bonding, and Social security
Siddha system has classified pediatric illnesses as
1. Agakaarana noigal-due to the deeds of parents-develops congenitally
2. Purakaarana noigal-due to change in environment after birth-is acquired
Detailed description has been given on
Thodam: Thodam speaks about diseases caused due to Improper handling which means infections caused due to external factors such as Zoophilic, Vectors, and Human interventions. Treatment guidelines ranges from tying of Wrist bands made of herbs (Roots of Glycyrrhiza glabra, Acorus calamus) , Fumigations by herbs and resins(Benzoin)and Internal Medications. Ethno practices such as tying ropes from Mosques, Temples and using certain signatures (As in Reiki), chanting Mantras, Tying certain roots as necklaces are the practices documented 3- 4 decades ago. Even though all these claims are roofed under unscientific and unsafe practices still people try these along with proper medication as most of these practices are twined with religious aspects and scientific claims occupy a back seat in accordance with a child’s health. Almost all the thodam have dysentery and Diarrhoea as a common symptoms thodam may be equated to dysentery and Diarrhoea (of viral origin) with dehydrating symptoms
Mantham: Mantham is a group of Gastro intestinal disturbances in which Enzymatic insufficiencies like lactose intolerance (Paal Mantham) and upto Gluten enteropathy is discussed. Mantham is a group of Digestive disorders which leads improper assimilation and Absorption .This in turn leads to Loss of Micro and Macro nutrients. Immunity and normal physiology is questioned.
Around 53 types of Mantham have been explained almost all are comparable with Gastro-intestinal disturbances that can lead to Nervous debility like Janni, valippu (Epilepsy) in children if untreated or inadequately treated leading retardation of mental and physical growth. This hypothesis of relationship between Mantham and Neurological diseases is evident from even recent theories of Gutty leak syndrome and Autism. Symptoms of Mantham vary from indigestion, regurgitation, constipation to diarrhea, vomiting, anorexia, dehydration, febrile conditions and convulsions. Mantham is usually treated with pungent decoctions and drugs which will lead to a proper digestion and reduce the dominating Iyam (Kapham) and deranged Vatham.
Kanam: Kanam represents a group of respiratory illnesses which are classified into 16 types. Mantham precipitates Kanam. As described earlier Loss of Micro and Macro nutrients Leads to Kanam. Mostly occurs from 3 to 7 years of age. Symptoms ranges from soreness of tongue, cough, discoloration of tongue, fever, change in the structure of rib cage (Suggestive of PC /Rickettia rosary), Diarrhoea etc. Lipid based medicines (Ghee) are prescribed in Kanam as they are nutritive and therapeutically encounter microbes. Lipid based drugs also crosses blood brain barriers which will also diminish the neurological symptoms.
Kaamalai (Jaundice), Paandu (Anemia),Acharam(Glossitis/Apthousulcers),Kirumi(Worm Infestation), Valippu (Epilepsy), Karappan (Eczema) are some of the diseases which are given special importance in Siddha. Balavagadam Speaks of infectious diseases in general but not in depth.
Growth and development -Siddha concept:
Growth and development is an important aspect in pediatrics. It says about the motor and cognitive maturity of a child in accordance with its chronologicalage.Pillaitamil describes about the Growth and development of a children from a social spectacle .It extends upto fifth decade of Human race. It also describes the development of both the genders by the way of their culture and social setup.
Kappu, Chenkeerai, Thalam, Sappani, Mutham, Varugai, Ambuli, Chitril, Siruparai and Siru thaer are the paruvangal mentioned for a male child.
Kappu, Chenkeerai, Thalam, Sappani, Mutham, Varugai, Ambuli, Ammanai, Neeradal, and Oosal are the paruvangal mentioned for a female child.
Each and every paruvam is mentioned by the motor activity of a child in response with its chronological age. Kappu and Chenkeerai describe about care of the child and cognitive development at this stage is very little.
Thaalam is a word Meaning tongue. In this age the child makes a lot of sound with tongue and protrudes the tongue on command. Sappani is clapping of Hands by a child on command .Mutham describes about dispersal of flying kiss by a child on command. Varugai says about Movement of a child towards a person on command.chitril says about construction of Sand house by a child. Siruparai explains about usage of small musical drums by a male child and Siru thaer describes about Pulling of a small cart by children.
Ammanai, neeradal and Oosal are a game of a female child.Allthe above said paruvangal explains about Motor/Cognitive Development of A child in accordance with its chronological age.
Reproductive and Child health care in Siddha
Mother and child care even though is primitive still holds a lot of importance as it Focuses on a healthy nation. Rural population is still vulnerable in mother and child care.
Unhygienic environments, Poor Ante natal follow-ups, Malnutrition including Iron deficiency, improper child care and lack of frequent health supervisions take them under vulnerable population. The national projects if addressed properly will reduce the burden faced by the Rural as well as semi urban population which occupies the major population in India.
Ante natal care
The death rate of Indians during Natal period is still a worrying number in under developed states. Siddhars have mentioned proper life style measure to pregnant women
and ante natal care drugs in each and every month. If these drugs are regularly taken along with the herbal based Iron supplements and Folic acid and proper life style if adopted knifeless painless delivery will be possible.
Post natal care
Post natal care deals with effective Lochia removal, Bringing back uterus to its normal shape and size, toning the physiological functions of the delivered mother and enhancing breast milk secretion. Health foods and drug prescriptions like Sowbhagyachunti holds a lot of Medical benefit in post natal area
Character of Breast milk is highlighted in Gunapaadam –Jeeva vaguppu (Siddha materia medica-Animal kingdom). They have also discussed about substitutions for breast milk. Donkey’s milk is recommended by Siddhars which is further substantiated in scientific studies. Siddhars have also mentioned a fund of Galactogogues which enhances milk secretion.
Weaning foods are recommended from Fourth month and lot of prescriptions have been mentioned in Bala vagadam.Folk lore knowledge in Pediatrics add up usage of Kokkattan in the sixth to seven months to satisfy the dentition itch of the children.
Pharmaceutics in Siddha pediatrics:
1. Herbal drugs occupy a larger space (90%).Very less usage of Mineral drugs.
2. Most of The medicines are administered in Breast milk up to 1 yr.
3. Honey is completely avoided up to 1 yr.
4. Medicines for Dysentery and Diarrhoea are safe and will not precipitate Gastritis.
5. Anti emetics are safe and they do not precipitate extra pyramidal symptoms.
Common Pediatric prescriptions for child health care
1. Urai mathirai Immune booster
2. Korochani mathirai Effective in Combating fever
3. Bala sanjeevi mathirai Effective in Combating URTI/LRTI
4. Bhavana kadukkai Effective in Anaemia
5. Vasambu karukku Effective in Dysentry,Diarrhoea
6. Sangu Parpam tablet Tonsilitis, Gastritis,Resp.Infections
7. Vallarai tablet Calms ADHD and Sharpens Memory
8. Anmaiodu parpam Dysentry,Diarrhoea and in Lactose intolerance
9. Asta chooranam Increases appetite
10. Thetran kottai lehyam Tonic for children
11. Vallarai nei Kanam
12. Chundai vatral chooranam Effective Anthelminthic