Siddha medicine is a system of traditional medicine originating in ancient Tamilakam (Tamil Nadu) in South India. Traditionally, it is taught that the siddhars laid the foundation for this system of medication. Siddhars were spiritual adepts who possessed the ashta siddhis, or the eight supernatural powers. Agastyar is considered the first siddha and the guru of all siddhars; the siddha system is believed to have been handed over to him by Murugan, son of Shiva and Parvati.
The Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy of the Government of India coordinates and promotes research in the fields of Ayurveda and Siddha medicine. The Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM), a statutory body established in 1971 under AYUSH, monitors higher education in areas of Indian medicine, including Siddha medicine. To fight bio prospecting and unethical patents, India set up the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library in 2001 as a repository of 223,000 formulations of various systems of medicine common in India, such as Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha medicine and homeopathy.
It is assumed that when the normal equilibrium of the three humors — Vaadham, Pittham and Kapam — is disturbed, disease is caused. The factors assumed to affect this equilibrium are environment, climatic conditions, diet, physical activities, and stress. Under normal conditions, the ratio between Vaadham, Pittham, and Kapam are 4:2:1, respectively. According to the Siddha medicine system, diet and lifestyle play a major role in health and in curing diseases. This concept of the Siddha medicine is termed as pathiyam and apathiyam, which is essentially a list of "do's and don'ts".