Siddha Vaidya is considered the oldest documented medicine system of the world. It evolved and flourished in south India and the knowledge of siddha medicine was completely traditional or family matter. Siddhars are a group of people considered to be possessors of the knowledge and they passed the knowledge down to their generations.
Herbs and minerals found in the nature are used in the production of Siddha medicine. The medicines are simple, yet effective. All types of diseases have medicine in Siddha.
The materials used in the production of Siddha medicines include leaves, bark, root and other parts of plants and trees, metals like silver, gold, iron and mercury. It is to be noted the metals are not used as such, but prepared through vigorous purification processes that lasts over several days. After purification, the metal is called bhasma (ash), which the body can use. Not all Siddha vaidyas are knowledgeable about the preparation of metal bhasmas.
Partly due to the lack of opportunity to study this medicine and partly due to the suppression of practice of this medicine hid this medicine from the eyes of people for a long time.
Now there are a few Siddha Medical Institutes in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and is accepted as a system of medicine in India. A physician is called a siddha vaidya. Previously it used to refer to only the members of traditional siddha vaidya families of Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu in South India, next to Kerala is still the place of Siddha Medicine.
The ultimate aim of Siddha medicine is moksha or salvation from the cycle of the pangs of births and deaths by strengthening the body. The goal is similar to that of yoga. Siddha medicine tries to reach this stage by giving immortality to body.
The concepts of Siddha medicine are similar to that of Ayurveda. Both the system of medicines embraces Yoga for physical and mental health.