Siddha system of medicine has a unique method of approach to diagnose the ailments which was quoted by Sage Thiruvalluvar as
Noinaadi noimudhalnaadi adhu thanikum
Vainaadi vaaipa seiyal
Noi naadi means to seek out to find the existing disease and Noi mudhal naadi means to elicit the etiology of the existing disease. Diagnosing a disease is the vital part of patient care and a Siddha physician should approach a condition on the basis of Siddha diagnostic parameters, only then he or she will be able to choose the appropriate line of treatment.
Siddha system of medicine revolves around the following basic principles for diagnosis, prognosis and medicine dispensing namely Ninety-six principles otherwise called Tattuvam, which include physical, physiological, psychological and intellectual aspects of every human being. Among the ninety-six principles, the five elements (Aim boodham) are the fundamental units for the human body as well as the Cosmos. The equilibrium of the three vital life factors are responsible for the state of health. The three vital life factors (Uyir Thathu) are formed by the appropriate combination of elements during intra uterine life. Vali is formed by the combination of the elements of air and space. Azhal is formed by the fire element and Iyyam by the combination of earth and water elements. There are seven physical constituents Udal Kattukkal (similar to tissues) in our body, and the physiological and pathological features of these tissues have been detailed in Siddha literature and they are applied in practice.
Noi Naadal department is a scientific branch in the Siddha system of Medicine which has been developed in order to establish the ancient diagnostic methods in par with the current diagnostic tools for early diagnosis and treatment of 4448 diseases enumerated by the Great Siddhars.
The uniqueness of the Noi Naadal department lies in ascertaining the diagnosis and prognosis of the disease by using Sage Yugi’s symptomology, Mukutra verupadugal (Three humour vitiation theory), alterations in pancha bhoothams, Envagai thervu (Eight-fold examinations), Manikkadai nool (Wrist circummetric sign), Pancha patchi sasthiram (Five bird theory) and Astral influence (Medical astrology). Among the diagnostic tools, Naadi examination can be used for screening and diagnosing the dreadful conditions like Cancer, life threatening infections, disease with insidious onset etc. These diagnostic techniques when validated and standardized can be practised for the benefit of public.
Various diseases from Sage Yugi’s treatise named “Yugi Vaithiya Chinthamani” has been symptomatically correlated with the modern diseases for scientific validation namely Pakkavatham as Stroke, Mantharakaasam as Bronchial asthma, Kaakkai vali as Grand mal epilepsy, Peenisam as Rhinosinusitis, Karappanpitham as eosinophilia, Uthiravatha suronitham as Rheumatoid arthritis etc. based on the symptoms quoted in literature.
Scientific documentation of various diseases based on the Mukkutra verupadugal (Three humour vitiataion / Siddha Pathogenesis) for Vettai megam/HIV, Eri Gunmam/ Acid peptic disease, Ratta soorai vayu / PCOS, Kalajaga padai / Psoriasis, Peenisam (Sinusitis) etc has been carried out.
In Siddha system, diagnostic method is about identifying the disease and their causes. The diagnosis made by observing and the methods of diagnosis are divided into three as follows: 1. Examination through the physicians’ sense organs (Poriiyal Arital) 2. Examining the patients’ sensory functions (Pulan Arital) 3. Examination by interrogation. Generally, in Siddha system of Medicine they are classified into eight types of Examination methods which are said to be tools or armamentarium of the Siddha physicians. Eight-fold examination is commonly known as “Enn vagai thervugal” i.e., Naadi (Siddha pulse examination), Sparism (examination through palpation), Naa (tongue examination), Niram (examination of body complexion), Mozhi (examination of speech), Vizhi (eye examination), Malam (stool examination), and Neer (urine examination). This is one of the oldest diagnostic modality used for assessing an individuals current state of health. Among these, Naadi is the most important one. It is nothing but the channels which transports the Pranam /life force throughout the body. Naadi acts as pathfinder of all ailments in the body. Various diagnostic trials has been documented to validate different types of Naadi in various diseases namely Vippuruthi (Cancer), Neerizhivu (Diabetes mellitus) etc. for early diagnosis and treatment.
Neer parisothanai (Examination of Urine) elucidated by Sage therayar has been considered noteworthy in diagnosing the ailments next to Naadi examination. Siruneer paritchai can be carried out of by two ways – Neerkuri and Neikkuri. Neerkuri is commonly dealt with physical characteristics of urine and is headed under five domains such as Niram (Colour), Nurai (Froth), Manam (Odour), Nirai (Specific gravity) and Enjal (Deposits). Neikkuri (Oil on Urine Sign) is conducted by instilling a drop of gingelly oil over urine surface which is collected early in the morning. Ascertaining the diagnosis and prognosis is through the pattern or nature of spreading of that instilled oil drop. Various disease namely Vettai Pirameyam/ HIV, Illaipunoi / TB, Iruthurogam/ Cardiac disease , Athi nuraineer / Frothy urine, a condition in Albuminuria etc has been scientifically validated by diagnostic trials.
Tongue examination in eight-fold examination is the candle light to diagnosis by observing the Colour, Surface, Coating, Ulcers Size, Sputum, Palate, Shape, Moisture, Movements, Deviation, Taste sensation etc. Studies has been conducted for scientific validation for disease like Eri Gunmam/Acid peptic disease, Bronchial Asthma, Haemorrhoids etc.
In Siddha system, apart from the eight investigatory tools of diagnosis described above, the measurement of wrist circumference, Manikkatai nool is an interesting method of diagnosing the diseases (preponderance) by measuring the wrist circumference with the help of a thread. In this method, the wrist circumference of an individual is measured by means of an inelastic thread and expressed in terms of that particular individual’s finger breadth and the same is compared with the list of diseases and health chart mentioned in classical literature of Siddha. This methodology was propounded by sage Agathiar in his literary classic ‘Soodamani Kayiru soothiram’
Pancha patchi sasthiram (Five bird sign ) is a literature which was used in the ancient times by Vaithiyars and Sages to identify the disease of patients based on the consulting time. To validate this scientifically various clinical trial has been conducted to rule out the disease retrospectively using the diagnosis and consulting time namely Madhumegam / Diabetes mellitus, Maladu (Primary infertility) etc.
The mandate of the Noi Naadal department is “Not to discover anything new, but to rediscover and validate what is already said in the Siddha system of medicine – perhaps in Western Terminologies and Parameters”. Efficient scientific validation of Siddha diagnostic tools and prognostic tools in the current scientific world will be able to prove the system all over the world in a scientific manner for the benefit of public.