Siddha – Several Potential drugs unutilized

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Several potent Siddha drugs from classical literature unutilized for practice & sale as they are listed out of D&C Act

Thousands of potent Siddha medicines narrated in the old Siddha classical books, the treasure trove of Siddha system, are unable to be manufactured for commercial sale or for practice purpose since these books are not listed under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, thanks to the apathetic attitude of the Union health and Ayush ministries towards the Siddha system of medicine.

According to reliable sources, about 2500 classical texts on Siddha, which describe the preparations of various medicines, remain unlisted under the Act even today and the healthcare system of the country is losing these valuable traditional medicines. These drugs are considered to be effective for curing various diseases, but not a single company can manufacture or market them as they have not been referred in the Drugs Act.

So far only 30 published Siddha books have been included as classical Siddha literature under Clause (a) of Section 3 of the Drug and Cosmetic Act, 1940, said a Siddha scholar, engaged in the translation work of old Siddha classical texts.

Referring to the Siddha classical literature, Dr. Arul Amutham, the Siddha scholar from Thirunelveli in Tamil Nadu said, on 24. 12. 2008, the department of Ayush issued the list of 30 classical texts as notification in the Drugs and Cosmetics (4th Amendment) Rules, 2008. He points out that there are about 2500 classical Siddha texts and palm leaf manuscripts deal with the preparations of thousands of potent classical drugs for various diseases. But these books and the manuscripts have not been translated fully and included under the D&C Act. Unless the Ayush ministry takes any positive step to get them listed under the Act, these Siddha drugs never get license to be marketed or sold.

Quoting certain names of drugs from the ancient books, he said Kaayathirumeni Ennai, Kaya Rajaankam, Kaaya Sarvaankam, Kozhi Kashaayam, Chippinei, etc are some of the potent Siddha drugs that can cure auto-immune rheumatic diseases and neurological diseases including hemiplegia.

Worried over the bad luck of these classical texts, the scholar wanted the Siddha community worldwide to put a demand before the Union Ayush ministry to get them printed at the earliest and listed under the Drugs act. If any manufacturing company wants to produce any of these drugs, it cannot get the licence to market them. He said if the Ayush ministry is really interested in promoting traditional medicines, this is the first step it has to undertake.

For publishing the classical works, the central ministry needs to have an action plan which should concentrate on decoding of manuscripts, translation and digitization of all the Siddha literature and palm leaf manuscripts. It will help the Ayush ministry for promoting and developing the system in national and international level.

Referring to some institutions engaged in the publication of Siddha literature, Dr. Amuthan said Siddha Medicine Literature Publishers at Munchirai in Kanyakumari; Centre for Traditional Medicines and Research, Chennai; Connemera Library, Chennai; and Paramparai Siddha Vadiya Sangam, Madurai are the few private organisations in addition to the Siddha Central Research Institute, Chennai, which have the collection of 2500 Siddha palm leaf manuscripts.

These institutions need adequate financial support for decoding, translation, digitization and publishing of all the old literature and palm leaves. But it depends on the attitude of the Union Ayush ministry in providing all support.

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