Geriatrics is the branch of medicine that focus on health promotion and the prevention and the treatment of diseases and disability in the later life. The term comes from the Greek ‘geron’ meaning old man and ‘iatros’ meaning healer and was proposed in 1909 by Dr. Ignatz Leo nascher. It is cognate with ‘jara’ in Sanskrit which also mean old.
Siddha the oldest system of Indian medicine has gone deep into the problem of the elderly people and it proposes mainly the ‘Kayakalpa’ treatment. ‘Kayakalpa’ the term derived from to Tamil words ‘Kaya’ which means the body and ‘Kalpa’ means the stone. Keeping the body as strong as a stone is the main aim of Kayakalpa. by this treatment the body get free from the graying of hair, ageing, diseases etc. In siddha there are 108 Kayakalpa drugs are mentioned. Most of these drugs are antioxidant and immuno- modulatory in there medicinal action. in addition to this there are so any prepared medicines meant for Kayakalpa processes, some of them are Poornachandrodayam, ayabringaraja karpam, Ayajammbheera karpam, Karisalai karpam, triphala kapam etc.
Life style modification is an integral part of geriatric treatment. It includes proper food habits, sleep and relaxation, exercise, personal cleanliness, tension free and clear mind, entertainment etc. ‘Yoga’ and ‘Pranayama’ have got there own significance in dealing with this challenge. Researches have proved to beyond doubt that these are efficacious in neuro-muscular, musclo-skeletal, respiratory, and psychosomatic and other health problems in elderly people.
Rheumatism which produces immobility an pain in the joints first and serious problems later is one of the common ailments that affect the elderly people. Here in Siddha’Thokkanam’, physical manipulation of the body with or without oil, is the most effective remedy. There are some external medicines, Vshamushti thylam, Sivappu kukkil thylam, Vatha kesari thylam etc. These oils are used for massage therapy. There are some internal medicines also Arumugha chedooram, Ayaveera chendooram, rasagandhi mezhugu etc. these medicines are administered with diet and habit restrictions. Above all, the following analgesics are also highly effective in palliative geriatric care, Amukkura choornam, Amrithathi mathirai, Gorochana mathirai, Kumkumapoo mathirai,Vasantha kusumakaram etc.
Some other ailments and beneficial medicine used in geriatric teeatment are sahown below.
Urinary tract problems
(Prostratitois etc) neermulli kudineer
Hyper tension and cardio vascular diseases
maha eladi mathierai
maha vasantha kusumakaram
marutham pattai choornam
In depth research studies have to be taken up in Siddha literature to find out the hidden gems of Kayakalpa. Experiences of Siddha medical practitioners are yet to be collected are correlated for the sake of geriatric population. Special geriatric care centers were in Siddha system is applied should be established. It will enhance the clinical research works in this field. One these centers can address core geriatric problems. Above all we have to think big we have to love and respect all the systems of medicine. Each system has got its own greatness. All these systems should come together and new vision should come out of it, and it should serve the whole mankind.