Siddha medicinal classification of mental illness




             As one of the antique countries of the world, India has donated several things to the world society. Ayurvedha, Siddha and Unani systems of medicines are notable contribution of India in the field of medicines. Particularly the Siddha medicine is one of the indigenous medicine systems of south India. Eventoday, it is in practice in several places of south India the medicines are prepared from the herbs animals and minerals available in the surroundings. Siddha medicines classified mental illness as 18 kinds ‘ Kirikai  vaithyam’ of Saint Agasthiar, a premier of Siddhas is an important manuscript.


              1. To find the classification of mental illness in the Siddha medicinal literatures.

                2. To define the 18 varieties of mental illness.

 Kinds of mental illness:

 (1) Anal kirisam:  

              It is otherwise known as azal kirisum. Due to increasing phlegmatic the body heat may increase. The eyes may change to reddish .The eyelid may close frequently.  They may grind their teeth. They may eat food from the wastages of houses. They may aggressive. They may go out of home. When they met human beings, they may salute.

(2) Pitha kirism

            Due to turning the phlegmatic, from liquid form to solid form, their reasoning devoided. They may loss their consciousness. They may tear their dresses and in naked. They smear faeces on their body. They may roll in mud with out any aim.

 (3) Echil kirisam

            They may eat faeces and ashes. They may knock their head on floor. Always, they may like to in wet. They may splash water on their head.

 (4)Vatha kirisam

             This is another type of mental illness. They may always shut their eyes. They may be in mute. They may lie on the floor and rise up again. They may grind their teeth. Their body may be cold.

 (5)    Sletpanakirisam

            They shall roll their eyes. Their eyes turned into whitish. They may cry with tears. They may yawn frequently. They may bang on floor and mutter .They may make signs with fingers and limbs.

(6)    Nathavinthu kirisam

            They may run on the street. Their sexual feelings may be increases. They may get fear to see humans and water. They may spit on the face of others. They may knock at others.

(7)    Bootha kirisam

                 They may always rave. They may dance in poor taste. They may bite others. They may roll on the ashes. They may fling the wastes on their head. Their may froths in their mouth.

 (8)    Jala kirisam

                   They may run while they saw the water. Their foot may be very hot. They would not like to stay in home. They may run out to deep forest.

 (9)    Mohini kirisam

                    Their nadavinthu may increases. Nadavindu means semen. They may run on steets. They may laugh at seeing woman. They shall refuse to eat food. They may abuse at others.

 (10)Kalleri kirisam                         

                They may shut their eyes and grumble. They shall cry. They may throw the stones. They may drench in water. They may bite the children. They may run nudly.

 (11)Kumbidu kirisam                  

                     They may salute while they saw the humans. They may eat uncontrollably. He may obey the orders blindly. They may roar and hit the woman and children.

 12)Munangal kirisam

                      They may clench their fingers. They may talk meaninglessly. They may cry frequently with tears. One of the important symptoms is sleeplessness and restlessness.

(13)Aral kirisam

                      Their eyes may be shut. They may be loss motion. They may sometimes say loudly like ‘come’,’go’ etc. without any purpose.

(14)Maruttu kirisam

                      They shall eyes wink white seeing others. They may call strangers as if known. They shall sing. They shall make fun. They may undress. They may drink water in excess.

 (15)Muda kirisam

                 Their body is numbed in cold. They may be mute and hold the breath. They may looks like a dead body.

(16)Valli kirisam

                 Their body may be shivering uncontrollably as if severe pain. They may yell with veins pounding. They may dance with moving their head.

 (17)Neerkudi kirisam

              They may drink water excessively and vomiting the water immediately. Their eyes may be sunken. They may refuse to eat food. They may dance with nodding head .They may sing and dance.

 (18)Mayana kirisam

                 This kirisam may otherwise call as peipidi kirigai. They may run to tomb aimlessly. They may shout for help. They may slap their own face. They may roll over ashes. They may tear their clothes themselves. They may call devils name loudly.


                  Dr. Jayaramakrisnan classified vaadakirigai, sletpana kirigai, aral kirigai and moodu kirigai as catatonic withdrawals; munangal kirigai, valippu kirigai and peipiddi kirigai as catatonic excitement ; anal kirigai, pithakirigai, echil kirigai, bootha kirigai, jala kirigai, kalleri kirikai and kumpidu kirigai as chronic schizophrenia;  nadavindhu kirigai, mohini kirigai, neerkudi kirigai  and marattu kirigai as manic excitement. From this we can conclude that the ancient Tamil classification of Siddha medicinal system is comparable with the modern psychiatrical classification.


 1.  Heritage of the Tamils Siddha medicine, Edr.S.V.Subramanianand         V.R.Mahadevan, International Institute of Tamil Studies, T.T.T.I., Taramani, Chennai-113.

2.      Kirisha Nithana Nool, Dr.T.Michael, Thulasi Pathipakam, Mel Middalam, K.K.District.

3.      Kirigai Nool-64, Saint Agasthiar.

4.      The article of Dr.Jeyaramakrishnan, ‘Psychiatry in Siddha (Tamil) system of medicine’.  


Source by Dr. S.M.Moorthi