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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Food for Hypertension

Food for Hypertension
The Most important way to have blood pressure under control is to turn to Vegetarianism. Vegetarians in general, have lower blood pressure levels and a lower incidence of hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases. This is mainly due to the fact a typical vegetarian's diet contains more potassium, complex carbohydrates, polyunsaturated fat, fiber, vitamin C and vitamin A. High fiber food ingredients like fenugreek has beneficial effect on lowering cholesterol. In Siddha this is considered anti-Pitham. Generally fruits and vegetables contain potassium. Garlic (One or two cloves) and onion (In food without deep frying and boiling- simple baking) are other two substances that reduce thickening of blood vessels due to fat deposit. Lemongrass tea is refreshing and is a mild diuretic. Lycopene in Tomatoes, Vitamin –C in Indian gooseberry and turmeric are all good as lipid regulators and anti- aging. Once artery is as thihck as their age.
Siddha advocates rock salt (Indhuppu- Syndhia lavana) instead of high sodium table salt. But that also should be used in moderation. Celery seed as spice is good as cumin seed.
Among oils sesame oil is preferred.
Looking for herbal supplement – Commiphora mukul and Arjuna tree bark extract are the top choice. Passiflora fruit drink helps. Bacopa (Jalbhrami) (Gamma Amino Butyric Acid) and
Passiflora leaf extract helps calming of mind.
The best of drug less management is Meditation and Pranayama (Breath exercise)
Overweight persons must definitely go for brisk walk and shed few kilos.
Say no to Pizzas, Sweets and deep fried oil rich food and pickles.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Food ingredients that are helpful in Diabetes

Food ingredients that are helpful in Diabetes
Turmeric Powder, Indian Gooseberry, Fenugreek and Curry leaves are some ingredients which are helpful not only in lowering ‘Blood sugar’ level and also act as anti-oxidants and prevent complications of Diabetes. Fenugreek being rich in fiber also helps relieve constipation, a common problem of the diabetic patient. The substance present in curry leaves- Rutin prevents damage to small blood vessels which are the major cause of concern in diabetes. Turmeric and Fenugreek also helps in maintaining a good lipid profile. Vegetables like Bitter gourd and Bimbi and Greens like Moringa leaves and Hibiscus sabdarifa –Gonkura are also helpful to a limited extent. Herbal tea with leaves of Bilwa can help in preventing frequent infection in diabetics and improve immunity

Monday, December 8, 2008

Report on the Training Programme on
‘Specialized Treatment Procedures of Indian Systems of Medicine’
June 2008 to Sept 2008

Organized by the Department of Indian Medicine & Hoemeopathy,
Govt. of Tamil Nadu.

Coordinated by
Centre for Traditional Medicine & Research, Chennai-88

Tamilnadu has a pioneer status in mainstreaming Indian Systems of Medicine in Primary, Secondary and Tertiary levels of Public health delivery. In fact all district headquarters hospitals, Taluk and Non- taluk Government hospitals and about 408 Primary Health Centres have ISM wings, mostly Siddha wings, while some Ayurvedic and Unani centres are also present. For long provisions have only been made for out- patient consultation along with dispensing medicines in Taluk and PHCs and in-patient facilities along with out- Patient clinics in District Hospitals.

Govt. of India on the proposal from State department of Indian Medicine has provided a Centrally sponsored Scheme for Specialty clinics with the objective of providing Thokanam, Varmam therapies of Siddha and Panchakarma therapy of Ayurveda and Regimental therapy of Unani in GHs and subsequently extend the same to upgraded PHCs. Provisions have also been made for providing Physical infrastructure and Equipment for external therapies and medicines. Since the physicians have so far not having an opportunity to provide these therapies in Govt Hospitals, felt a need for imparting reorientation training not just on the treatment modalities and also a uniform approach throughout the state run hospitals with facilities for sourcing required plants and other materials.

Department of Indian Medicine & Homoeopathy, of Govt. of Tamil Nadu decided to organize the training programme. The Special commissioner of Indian Medicine sought for a detailed project proposal from NGOs with experience in organizing training programme in the month of April. Centre for Traditional Medicine & Research, a not- for Profit society working in the above area submitted a detailed project proposal for conducting the training with details of venue for the residential training along with course content and Experts details. After careful consideration of the proposal the Special commissioner on 20th May 2008, convened a meeting of the trainers along with departmental experts in all three systems viz, Siddha, Ayurveda and Unani and in the meeting the course content were approved and the date and modalities of training approved. It was decided to conduct training for 5 days for each batch with 50 trainees per batch. An exclusive training manual was prepared for the purpose and provided to all trainees.

Centre for Traditional Medicine & Research coordinated the training programme on behalf of the Government of Tamilnadu and 814 physicians working as Assistant Medical Officers, Medical Officers, District Siddha medical officers, Asst. Lecturers and Lecturers have already completed the training. The first batch of the training commenced on 9th June and the last batch concluded on 26th Sept, 2008. Dr.T.Thirunarayanan, Secretary, CTMR explained the objective and structure of the training on the inaugural day. Dr. Abdul Kadher, Principal of the Govt., Siddha Medical college, Chennai inaugurated the training programme. Shri. G.A. Rajkumar, I.A.S Principal secretary, Dept of Indian Medicine & Homeopathy gave the valedictory address, which was a great motivation for the physicians to implement the special procedures of ISM in the Government Hospital and Primary health centres. The areas covered during the five day training include, Varma, Thokanam, Specialized treatment procedures of Siddha, Panchakarma, Yoga, Unani Regimental therapy.

Based on the feedback from trainees, sessions on ‘Panchakarma’ was limited to two and one Session on ‘Yoga’ and one on ‘Medicinal plants used in special therapies’ was introduced as these would be useful to practice with locally available resources. Vaidya.S.Usman Ali- Director, Centre for Traditional Medicine & Research, Chennai, Mr.Vinodh a yoga expert and corporate Yoga trainer and Dr.B. Malarvizhi were the resource persons for the new sessions.

More volunteers of Patients were treated so that a live demonstration was made possible in Varmam and Thokanam. All trainees were taught to demonstrate simple Respiratory practice –Pranayama and Asanas.

Equipment handling of Steam bath, Steam generator and other Special therapy equipment was also demonstrated. Many trainees felt the Cupping instruments used in Unani regimental therapy and Leeches may be made available in Teaching institutes and District Hospitals.

A model action plan and budget for creating and maintaining a herbal garden in GPHCs/GH with plants of every day use in special therapies was presented to the trainees. The trainees were suggested to seek funds from Hospital Improvement funds under NRHM schemes or State Medicinal Plants Board based on the model budget.

Many participants assured that they will be able to commence at least few of the therapies in their centres immediately.

Training in select hospitals- Panchakarma for a further 7 days for doctors currently running CSS specialty clinics within or outside the state was requested by many participants. This particularly is to get hands on experience as this training has given them an overview and theoretical basis and demonstration but limited opportunity for hands-on experience due to the short duration in which various therapies were covered.

Most participants felt that the training was very useful in content and the way experts presented themselves.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

CTMR-Training programme on Utilization of Medicinal plants for tribal folk women at Anakkatti
Arsha Vidya Gurukulum

A elaborate training programme for tribal folk women of Anaikkatti, was organized by AIM FOR SEVA , Arsha Vidhya Gurukulam , Coimbatore, on Various aspects of Medicinal Plants with the financial help of National Medicinal Plant Board, from 15.11.08 to 19.11.08.Centre For Traditional Medicine imparted the training using various training modules.23 tribal Women were selected from various tribal villages in and around Anaikkatti like Siruvaani, Gudalur, mekkallur, Vadakkalur,Aravukadu, Annaikatti, Chinnajambukandi.Women, who envisaged keen interest in learning,who have passed 8th Standard and were capable of reading and writting were selected. They were given food and accommodation at students hostel, Arsha Vidya Gurukulam. On the 1st day Poojya Sri Dayananda Saraswathy swamiji inaugurated the training and released the training module and first copy was received by Mrs.Senthil Natarajan, local Panchayat President. Swamiji stressed the need for reviving the local health traditions and also suggested cultivation and sustainable utilisation will bring in financial prosperity as well. Swamiji expalained about the nature's gift towards the mankind, Man's greediness towards nature, over exploitation of natural resources, our work towards conservation, importance of Medicinal plants and its usage in our daily life.Centre for Traditional Medicine and Research (CTMR) secretary Dr. Thirunarayanan explained about the objectives of CTMR and aim of training. The inaugural session was attended by various others including visit foreign nationals. Two NGO leaders, one from Varnasi and other from coimbatore took part in the training as observers.
Following were the topics covered in the training.
1. Importance of medicinal plants. Flora of Anaikatti.
2. Identification of medicinal plants in the field.
3. Preparation of land, Medicinal plants propagation and cultivation with focus on any five select species. – ( Thulasi, Adathodai, Nilavembu, Sirukurinjan, Brahmi, Karpuravalli, Nelli, Asoka).
4. Hands on nursery experience.
5. Drying, processing, grading and storing.
6. Preparation of simple home remedies and their use in common ailments.
7. Medicinal plants in mother & child health.
8. Anjarai Petti marundhugal (Medicinal properties of kitchen spices & condiments).
9. Herbs based food & nutrition.
10. Sustainable collection & trading of medicinal plants.
11. Preventive and therapeutic aspects of Simple yoga.
The traing had lecture demonstrations, field visits, Video presentations, Practical sessions on Nursery methods, Drug preperation and Yoga. The training Manual was well recieved by others who happened to be present in the inagural session.
The day starts for the trainee with the introduction of Yogasanas and Simple Pranayamas like Nadi shuddhi by Swamini. She aptly explained about the stressful life and it's health hazards and preventive methods with food and lifestyle changes like yoga and breathing exercises. Dr. Usman Ali explained about various simple herbs, its identification and it's simple uses.Trainees were taken to the Herbal garden maintained by AIM FOR SEVA. Various methods of nursery developmental practices were explained and hands on training were given for very important medicinal plants like Rose Mary, Alpinia, Adathoda, Arrow root, Sirukurijan-Gymnema sylvestre as these plants were commercially viable plants. An elementary introduction to various simple diseases like cough, cold, headache,ear ache, arthritis and various simple home remedies were discussed by Dr. Thirunarayanan.Around 70 plants which are locally available were introduced to the trainees. plant parts which are used as medicine, names, simple medical preparation, dosage, vehicle to be taken are patiently explained by him.Commercial cultivation techniques were explained to important plants like Adathoda, Tulsi, Gymnema and Brahmi which can be traded easily. Herbs used in various Gynaecological diseases, healthy Anti natal and post natal practices, healthy food practices, kitchen herbal medicine preparations, hygienic practices were elaborated by Dr.R.Sudha, Siddha expert and an active volunteer of CTMR.

Simple herbal preparations like paste, hair oil, herbal powders, decoctions syrups were prepared by the trainees and the same were distributed among themselves for their use.They were given adequate information regarding sustainable collection procedures to avoid the further damages for the natural flora of this region.

Trainees were motivated to cultivate kitchen herbal garden in and around their house. They were encouraged to prepare and try home remedies with simple herbs for their common ailments.If problems continues they were duly advised to seek professional help.They were advised to speak about these herbals and their utilities with their counterparts, in sangam or with women self groups. If needed CTMR assured it's services in future training programmes.

A post-training apprisal was carried out for the trainees and Poojya Swamiji had an exclusive interactive session with the tribal trainees. The trainees felt elated by the way they were treated as equals during their entire stay and training and felt empowered and assured to convince the male members of the family to grow some of the commercially viable medicinal plants in the piece of land owned by them, which are now fallow.

The valedictory address was delivered by Mr.Nathan Jagan, CEO of AIM FOR SEWA and Shri.D.S.Raman, distributed the certificates.

The Entire training was coordinated in an excellent manner by Shri. Ramanji, Principal Investigator of the Project.

Medicinal Plants awareness Programme

Medicinal Plants
awareness Programme & Exhibition

Amirta Vidyashramam,

14th and
15th Nov 2008

Amirta Vidyashramam,
Nesapakkam Chennai had an inter school science exhibition for CBSE
schools at their campus on 14th and 15th Nov
2008 with the theme ‘Our Earth’. Centre for Traditional
Medicine and Research (CTMR) was requested to conduct a medicinal
plants exhibition and an awareness programme. A permanent Medicinal
Plant demo garden with 35 species of Safe Medicinal plants for common
ailments to be used as a Self- help Kit was organized by CTMR. All
the Plants were properly labeled with information to serve as
educative materials for time to come. Prof. S.K. Seshadri of the
Metallurgy Dept of Indian Institute of Technology Chennai was the
chief guest. Prof. Subramanian, Former Principal of Vivekananda
College and Prof. Balasubramanian Dept. of Chemistry offered
felicitation in the Inaugural session. Dr. T.Thirunarayanan,
Secretary of CTMR delivered a lecture on stressing how the earth and
our human body are made of the same five primordial elements and
how plant medicine is important, they being safe,
cost-effective and from renewable resources. The health benefits of
the thirty five plants in the school garden, key to identify them,
methods of propagation, use and how to use were explained to them
with a visual presentation. Dr. I. Saira Banu, Senior Research
Fellow( Siddha) of CTMR clarified the doubts of the individual
students along with Dr.T.Thirunarayanan. Over 400 students took part
in the session.

On 15th Nov
2008 afternoon, Dr. R.Padmapriya, Research associate- Traditional
Nutrition and Dr. Joseph Maria Adikalam, Entomologist took part in
the interactive session with the Senior students of the School. This
lively programme made an real impact on the children to maintain
healthy food habit as recommended by Siddha medicine. Children posed
very challenging questions like ‘Why are the healthy
foods recommended by current day nutritionist are not tasty’
‘If current fast foods are called Junk then what is the
healthy, tasty alternative snack food available for children at
affordable cost in every neighborhood stores ?’. Dr. Padmapriya
gave options of Traditional Snacks food with good nutritional value
and taste that could be prepared at home. The School requested for an
exclusive session for parents and teachers to be organized by CTMR.

CTMR thanks the
excellent coordination by Mrs. Viswanathan, Principal and Mrs.Neelam
Jaiswal – Biology teacher of the Amirta Vidyashramam.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Siddha Physician
Centre for Traditional Medicine & Research
4A, IV Cross Street, Mahalakshmi Nagar

Knowledge of medicine is of fundamental importance to man’s well being and his survival and so it must have originated with man and developed as civilization. Every race or even every ethnic group has its own system of medicine for maintaining health or treatment for diseases. Researchers have documented as many as five thousand ‘Folklore medical practices’ prevailing in different part of the world. But still only very few systems are being practiced even today. Traditional Indian systems like Ayurveda and Siddha in spite of their antiquity have not only survived but also are highly patronized by mankind even today. The history of Indian traditional medical systems dates back to pre-historic ages and is identified with Indus valley civilization. Siddha medical practice has a lot of similarities to this civilization in the use of certain medicines that are exclusive to it and it is identified with Dravidian culture.

Siddha system of medical practice is associated with the Dravidian landscape more particularly Tamil speaking land of India and other eastern countries. The term ‘Siddha’ is derived from ‘Siddhi’ which means “attainment of perfection” or “one who is accomplished". The origin of this system is associated with the desire of Eighteen Saints who relentlessly took efforts to attain salvation. They realized that a good physical body free from disease is required to attain the Eternal bliss. They evolved a system primarily for healthy living and also for elimination of disease. More significant is that the healthy living indicates not only physical health but also psychological, social and spiritual wellbeing. Siddhars, being followers of the Saiva Siddhanta cult and some of them later adopted some of Buddhist principles, slowly discouraged use of alcohol based drugs and surgical procedures.

Great Siddhar Thirumoolar defines medicine as follows:

“One that cures physical ailment is medicine
One that cures psychological ailment is medicine
One that prevents ailment is medicine
One that bestows immortality is medicine.”
- Thirumandiram

It can be thus summarized that the Siddha System is primarily holistic and is largely focused on promotive and preventive health. The period of Siddha saints like Agasthiar, and Thirumoolar is as early as the 3rd century B.C.


Siddha system considers the human body as a conglomeration of three humors (Vatham, Pitham & Kapham) - the functional component and seven basic tissues the physical constituents (Lymph, Blood, Muscle, Adipose tissue, Bone, Marrow or the one that lies within the bone- Nerve or the reproductive tissue). Both these are formed by the five primordial elements of Earth, Water, Fire, Air & Space. The five elements combine in different proportion to constitute them. The food is considered to be the basic building material of human body which gets processed into humors, body tissues and waste products. The understanding of the quality of a food material or drug or even the outcome of any physical or psychological activity is based on its impact on the five elements. The equilibrium of humors is considered as health and its disturbance or imbalance leads to disease or sickness. In physiological condition, Vatham, Pitham and Kapham exists in the ratio of . The role of environment in health is greatly stressed as human body is considered as a microcosm made of the same elements that constitute the macrocosm. The equilibrium gets deranged due to many reasons namely environment, climatic condition, diet, physical activity and stress. Similarly each humor may be dominant in different individuals even at birth depending upon the element present, emphasized as Thegapanbu. The physical and psychological features vary accordingly. The disease and treatment modalities also vary on the basis of individual body constitution. The classification of diseases is mainly based on the three humors of Vatham, Pitham and Kapham. It is also classified according to clinical symptoms, causative features, organs affected, infections, accidents and congenital causes.

Another great contribution of Siddha medicine to human kind is Pathyam and Apathyam (Regimental Therapy) which lists many do’s and don’ts during a diseased condition or during seasonal changes. The general criticism of the traditional medical systems for this concept of Pathyam is now proven as unfounded, as the importance of diet and lifestyle is clearly explained not only in metabolic diseases like Diabetes but also in the most common cause of mortality like Carcinoma and Ischemic heart disease. The various dietary habits and lifestyle to be adopted during different seasons of the year and daily regimen to be followed for healthy living are recommended. This preventive aspects form the key advantage of this traditional medical system.


The primary aim of Siddha medicine has always been to evolve drugs that could arrest the decay of the body, as preserving the body without disease and ageing is essential for realizing the Truth- ‘Atman’ residing within the body. This could not be achieved by drugs which themselves are subject to decay such as drugs of vegetable origin. Thus the preparation of medicines using ingredients of metal and mineral origin, which do not lose their potency with the lapse of time, is justified. One more reason why early Siddha texts have extensive formulations with mineral ingredients is that the south Indian rivers were not perennial and herbs were not available all through the year. The expertise of Siddhars in Alchemy led them to the finding of therapeutic properties of these metals and minerals. This system has a strong base in pharmaceutics. The wide range of dosage forms, with long shelf life vouchsafe for its strong pharmaceutics base.

Though most of the plants used in Ayurveda are also in Siddha medicine about 150 plants are exclusively used in Siddha medicine, which could be confirmed from comparative study of classical texts of the two systems.

The system has developed a rich and unique treasure of drug knowledge in which use of metals and minerals is very much advocated. From earliest times in Siddha text, there is mention of mercury, sulphur, copper, arsenic and gold those were used as therapeutic agents. Alchemical ideas dominate Siddha medicine. Siddhars have very profound knowledge of Iatrochemistry.

The vast therapeutics of Siddha medicines consisting of metals and minerals is a cut above Ayurveda, as in the earlier Ayurveda texts there is fragmentary evidence of metals and minerals. It is possible that in the course of time this system and the one prevalent in the north supplemented and enriched each other. These medicines can be administered in small doses and that too after treating primarily with plant medicine. They are available in all seasons and can be preserved for many generations. Some of the methods used by the Siddhars still survive under a veil of secrecy. Certain mercury and arsenic compounds are manufactured only by certain families and the methods are a closely guarded secret. In this present scenario these types of medicines can be administered in very little doses (microgram levels) and in chronic degenerative ailments and life threatening conditions with great caution.

Every classical Siddha literature explains about the detailed drug classification, according to their Suvai (taste), Gunam (Physico chemical quality) Veeryam (potency) Pirsuvai (taste after digestion) and Thanithuvam (Unique property). Intricate details of various drugs like water soluble in-organic substances, minerals, metals& alloys, natural stones, their ores, availability, synthetic preparation, purification process, medicine preparation etc. are enumerated in Siddha classics.

In addition to drugs of plant or mineral origin, drugs obtained from animal sources and marine products are also used extensively in this system. The use of animal products suggests Siddhars extensive knowledge of animal proteins and fats in therapeutics.
One of the surprising advancement of this system is the understanding of bio-availability, drug-food compatibility, drug-drug interaction which is of recent origin in Bio-medicine। Detoxification of drugs and enhancing drug potency using Muppu are the other unique features that are in practice even today. Drugs like Chunnam (metallic preparations which become alkaline), Mezhugu (waxy preparations) and Kattu (preparation that are impervious to water and flames) are prepared by vaidyas once in a life time that have a very long shelf life. In facts generations continue to use kattu prepared by their ancestors .

The diagnosis of diseases involve identifying it causes। Identification of causative factors is through the examination of pulse, urine, eyes, study of voice, skin features including complexion, and sense of touch, tongue and the status of the digestive system by stool examination. The system has worked out unique procedure of urine examination which includes study of its color, smell, density, quantity and oil drop spreading pattern. Theraiyar was one of the latter authors of Siddha medicine who wrote on urine examination and stages of health. He explains the colour and consistency of the urine in different doshas and disease. He also talks of the spreading of a single drop of oil on the surface of urine from which imbalance of specific dosha can be inferred. In this system a very great importance is given for Nadi thervu or Pulse reading. It is holistic in approach and the diagnosis involves the study of the person as a whole as well as his disease.

The Siddha System of Medicine emphasizes that medical treatment is oriented not merely to disease but has to take into account the patient, environment, the meteorological consideration, age, sex, race, habits, mental frame, habitat, diet, appetite, physical condition, physiological constitution etc.. Different treatment procedures are adopted primarily to bring back the deranged humor to normalcy which includes inducing purgation (Baedhi) in deranged Vatham, Emesis (Sathi) in deranged Pitham, Nasal application (Nasyam) and ophthalmic application (Kalikam) in Kapham. Blood letting, Leech application, Bone setting, Varmam (treatment given using specific body points and disease occurring due to trauma of these body points) and Physical manipulative therapies are some other treatment modalities/ procedures. Ophthalmology and Pediatrics are the other two evolved branches of Siddha medicine.

Medical astrology is a very important component for understanding the prognosis।

Longevity and ageing with elegance is an important specialty of Siddha system. The exponents of this system consider that achievement of this state is possible by medicines and meditation. This discipline addresses the methods and drugs for longevity and for the fountain of youth with complete freedom from illness. It is similar to rasayana of Ayurveda and gerontology of modern medicine. Kalpa means ‘able, competent'. One of the key recommendations is to avoid over indulgence in any activity including procreation.
In this science of longevity about 108 entities comprising of herbs and herbo-mineral medicines are recommended both for healthy living for normal individuals and for restoration of health in sick persons। Many of the herbs thus listed have proven to be anti-aging and powerful anti-oxidants. Some of the Kaya kalpa drugs are used even today in complications of many illnesses. Breath control (pranayanam) and diet are two important parts of this discipline. Vazhalai Kazhatral- removal of mucous secretion from throat with Eclipta alba juice and Malam Kazhatral cleaning of the bowels with Aloe juice are some of the important procedures during this treatment. Many herbal drugs like Milagu-Piper nigrum, Seendhil- Tinospora cordifolia are used during this administration. The use of Indian gooseberry –Emblica officinalis is yet another classical example. Current science confirms the health benefits of many kayakalpha drugs as Anti-Ageing.

Both the Government of India and State Government as a policy promote Siddha medicine and are taking efforts to mainstream this system in public health delivery. Efforts have been taken to create centers of excellence, train the first health delivery contacts - village health nurses in rural areas and provide safe and effective Siddha medicines to the end- users through them, upgrade facilities in Government Hospitals and Upgraded Primary health Centres in the State of Tamilnadu by providing physical infrastructure and training the physicians. Information, Communication and Education materials for promotion of this system have been developed and distributed. Regulations and facilitations for quality education, research, practice and drug manufacture under good conditions have been made to make this system acceptable to all.
The greatness of the system lies in its ready availability, acceptability at affordable cost, particularly in primary health care. The research on maternal anemia and safe delivery have made this system more women and child friendly and is expected to improve key health parameters including reduction of maternal and infant mortality and morbidity.
Siddha medicines are used successfully in various immune related disorders, chronic degenerative disorders, metabolic disorders and chronic geriatric and hormonal dysfunctional diseases. Effective treatment is being given in chronic cases of liver, skin diseases especially “Psoriasis”, rheumatic problems, anemia, prostate enlargement, ano-rectal diseases and peptic ulcer. The Siddha system also has Medicines which contains mercury, silver, arsenic, lead and sulphur that have been found to be effective in treating certain infectious diseases including venereal diseases. These medicines are recommended to be used only in conditions where plant drugs are ineffective and depending on the acute nature of the clinical condition of the patient. Practitioners have claimed that Siddha medicines are effective in reducing the highly debilitating problems that manifest themselves among patients of HIV/AIDS. More research into the efficacy of these medicines is presently in progress. Effective treatments are available to take care of the menopausal syndromes, especially problems related to hormonal imbalance. External therapies like Varmam, Thokanam – Physical manipulative therapy, Fasting, Sauna, Heat therapy are some sophisticated treatment procedures useful in neuro-skeletal muscular disorders.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Disease Modifying Agents From Natural Products


• Immune effector cells like T and B lymphocytes and macrophages play critical roles in the pathogenesis of Auto-immune disorders

• Autoimmune diseases are a group of illnesses with multiple organ involvement like Rheumatoid Arthritis

• Disease Modifying Agents are the drugs believed to alter the course of the disease particularly in Auto immune Disorders.

• The goal of DMARD therapy is to reach remission or obtain optimal control of inflammatory joint diseases


Antimalarials Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine), Sulfasalazine,
• TNF inhibitors (Etanercept, infliximab and Adalimumab),
• Interleukin-1 receptor antagonists, leflunomide Methotrexate,
• Gold compounds, and
• Cytotoxic agents (Azathioprine, Cyclophosphamide, and cyclosporine).


• Etanercept and infliximab are TNF inhibitors. These drugs bind to and block the activity of TNF-alpha, which is a cytokine that causes inflammation and joint destruction in patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis
• Though they promise safety and efficacy compared to the earlier DMA’s, therapy cost is prohibitive






• Curcumin, a flavonoid from Curcuma longa (turmeric) is a known inhibitor of TNF-alpha. An in vitro study found TNF-alpha increased intestinal permeability and curcumin inhibited the NFkappaB- induced-TNF-alpha-stimulated increase in intestinal permeability


• Boswellia serrata is a botanical with significant anti-inflammatory activity. In vitro, this botanical inhibits the 5-lipoxygenase product LTB4, which has been implicated in Crohn's Disease
• This is also confirmed in Randomized Double blind clinical studies carried out in comparison with known drug, Mesalamine


• Interleukins are the cytokines that act specifically as mediators between leucocytes
• IL-1 often acts synergistically with Tumor Necrosis Factor during the pro-inflammatory process. IL-6 also plays a role in inflammation, mainly as an inducer of acute phase proteins synthesis by hepatocytes.


• Ursolic acid, rich in Tulsi -Ocimum sanctum is a major inhibitor of IL-6 responsible for Pro-inflammatory activity
• Ursolic acid suppressed NF-kappaB activation induced by various carcinogens including tumor necrosis factor (TNF)


• If one looks at the botanicals, we understand that most of them are Rasayanee drugs.
• This is just not coincidence
• More we understand the mechanism of pharmacological action better is our understanding of disease and choice of treatment

Saturday, September 6, 2008

  • Centre for Traditional Medicine & Research
    4A, 4th Cross Street
    Mahalakshmi nagar
    Chennai -600 088
    Ph: 43559593/43559573


    Centre for Traditional Medicine & Research, a registered society under the TN societies registration Act is a ‘Not for profit organization’ operational since 2001. CTMR is working in the area of awareness, advocacy and promotion of research in traditional medicine including cultivation and conservation of Medicinal plants. The NGO has prior experience in carrying out demand supply assessment, and is closely associated with preparation of strategy and action plan for development of propagation material of medicinal plants by seed centers in Forest Department.

    CTMR has written the Strategy paper, action plan and road map for the development of the medicinal Plant sector in Tamilnadu for next five year plan 2008-2013 for State Medicinal Plants Board

    The following experts in the area of traditional medicine and medicinal plant constitute the governing body of CTMR.

    Vaidya.S.Usman Ali, currently the Director, Centre for Traditional Medicine and Research. Chennai, has over 40 years of experience in ISM, Which include positions like
  • Chief Botanist, TAMPCOL, instrumental in establishing medicinal plant farm in Anna nagar and Kolli hills.
  • Asst Director of CCRAS.
  • Instrumental for establishment for the first ever medicinal plant garden –Jawaharlal Nehru medicinal plant Garden, Pune and publications of various ‘Ethnobotanical studies of various tribal and native populations’ including , natives of Andaman, Karjat, Bhimashanker of Maharastra Kanis of Agasthiyar hills, Irulas of chengalpattu, and natives of point calimore (Kodiakarai)
  • As officer on Spl Duty to VC. Gujarat Ayurvedic university. Jamnagar and researched natives of Gir forest of Junagadh.

    Dr.T.Thirunarayanan, Siddha Physician -20 years experience in ISM, teaching, clinical, industry and research with expertise in conservation, cultivation of medicinal plants, working closely with other NGO’s and Govt Departments including Forest Dept, Corporations including TAFCORN,SFRDT.
  • Prepared the ‘Development of ISM’ report for the state under the Tamilnadu Equitable growth initiative programme along with members of the Health sector sub-committee.
  • Has served as expert member in earlier ‘Mother and Child healthcare’ programme and subsequently in designing training module and Kit for RCH programme of Govt. of Tamilnadu and in evaluating, monitoring and review.
  • Has authored two books and translated four traditional works of siddhars in English.
  • Has various research publications including ‘Herbal wealth of Nilgiris tribal and Non tribal’.
  • Documented the local health practices of Traditional healers of Kaniyambadi block and Javadi hills while serving as Physican –ISM in community Health Department of Christian Medical college, Vellore.
  • Dr.T.Thirunarayanan & Dr.S.Usman Ali have been expert members of the Medicinal plant committee of Tamilnadu Siddha Medical Board and co-authored report on establishing large scale Medicinal plant gardens in Tamilnadu.
  • Have actively guided other NGOs in Natu Vaidya conventions and in selection of Natuvaidya awardees.
  • Both of them have actively participated in designing and conduct of Rapid assessment of Traditional Knowledge programs of various NGOs

    Key Projects carried out so far by CTMR.
  • Medicinal Plants Development Area Project at Pulleri in Chengalpattu Dist in Association with Forest Dept and FRLHT -2001-2003
  • Feasibility study and Technology transfer for Select Medicinal Plants of Commercial interest – Tamilnadu Forest Plantation Corporation (TAFCORN) -2002-2004
    Utility Pattern of Traditional Medicine in Industrial township (Kalpakkam) and rural areas around them -2003-2004
  • Anti-fungal property of plant drugs with specific reference to Dandruff causing organism and Efficacy of commercially available Anti-dandruff products -2003-2004
    Establishment of Medicinal Plants Demonstration garden and nursery in 10 acre plot at Annaikatti- AIM for Sewa – Coimbatore 2003-2006
  • Associated with Endangered species gene bank for select Medicinal plants at Annaikatti in association with AIM for SEWA and IFGTB. 2005-2007
  • Techo-economical feasibility study for Cultivation and processing of Medicinal plants in Orrisa and Karnataka and identification of Land for establishing Medicinal Plants Cultivation centre –Industrial Technical Consultancy corporation of Tamil Nadu -2005-2006
  • Implementation of Medicinal Plant Park in PHCs in Tamil Nadu –Tamil Nadu forest department under UNDP scheme -2006-2008
  • Survey for assessment of Demand and supply among Industry, Export houses and Extraction units in Tamil Nadu & Karnataka- NMPB funded project for FRLHT -2006-2007.
  • Intercropping of medicinal plants - Feasibility along with Jatropa plantation for M/s.India cements Limited, India Pottash and Siyarams. -2006-2008
  • Large Scale Nursery and Plantation of Jatropha as alternative income generation and Livelihood for Tribals of Annaikatti- Ongoing
  • Documentations of local health traditions in Darmapuri, Salem., Namakal ,and Krishnagiri Districts under The Department of Ayush scheme -ongoing
  • Training programme on specalised Treatment Procedures in Indian System of Medicne for over 800 Government Siddha doctors under The Department of Ayush scheme -ongoing.
  • Digitalization and translation of siddha medical text books under The Department of Ayush scheme

    Regular activities include
  • Student Research support in various institutes including IIT Chennai, CLRI, Women Christian college, New college, Madras Christian college, DG Vishnava College etc.
  • Many lecture and awareness programme both for students and general public.
    Invited lectures in most university departments in Southern states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka .
  • Organizing Medicinal plant exhibitions in association with institutions/College