Sudha R et al / IJRAP 4(1), Jan – Feb 2013

Review Article
www.ijrap.net

CHUNNAM: A COMMENDED DOSAGE FORM IN SIDDHA MEDICINE
Ayyasamy S1, Sudha R2*
1Asst. Lecturer, Dept. of PG Gunapaadam, Govt. Siddha Medical College, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
2Asst. Lecturer, Dept. of Aruvai Maruthuvam, Govt. Siddha Medical College, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Received on: 06/10/12 Revised on: 20/11/12 Accepted on: 17/12/12

*Corresponding author
E-mail: sudha.sudakshin@gmail.com
DOI: 10.7897/2277-4343.04110
Published by Moksha Publishing House. Website www.mokshaph.com
All rights reserved.

ABSTRACT
Siddha system of medicine is one of the ancient living systems of healing in southern India. A vast cornucopia of different dosage forms of inorganic
formulations are indicated in classical texts of this system. Chunnam is one such, highly acclaimed dosage form of alkaline group of drugs indicated
for chronic degenerative diseases. Highly commended medicine in Siddha classics, muppu chunnam also falls under this category which is used in
kayakalpam treatment. A detailed review is made in this article regarding the special features of chunnam preparations, its comprehensive uses in
drug making and therapeutic effects which makes this dosage form as an indispensible one in Siddha medicine. This paper aims to highlight an
important thrust area of Siddha medicine which enables to unearth many possible medicines for life style disease of this millennium.
Keywords: Siddha medicine, Traditional medicine, Chunnam, Dosage Form, pH balance, Inorganic drugs.

INTRODUCTION work has been conducted so far in this class of medicines.
The Siddha system of Medicine is one of the oldest Recognizing its importance an effort is made in this
healing systems that emanated as an off-shoot of the article to detail all the important information regarding the
spiritual-ingress of seers called Siddhars. In this system of chunnam preparation which will rekindle the interest of
medicine drug preparation methods, currently termed present scientific community to explore right from its
pharmaceuticals were a distinct forte. This can be gleaned therapeutic efficacy in many degenerative diseases to
from various Siddha classical literature wherein selection preparation methodology, pharmaco dynamics and
of drugs, meticulous descriptions on drug processing, pharmaco kinetics aspects. Many simple chunnam
administration methods and indications for various human formulations were prepared in our lab and many
ailments are explained. These cover intricacies on various traditional physicians were consulted to get the basic
inorganic pharmaceutical preparations that encompass information on its preparation and therapeutics. The
usage of metals, non-metals, minerals, animal products essential information thus gathered is detailed.
and salts with or without plant drugs. These inorganic Chunnam as per Classics
groups of drugs are usually appreciated for their smaller The word ‘chunnam’ is indicative of an alkaline product,
dosage, long shelf-life, and easy palatability, most similar to lime. In Tamil language, caustic lime is also
importantly for their sustainable quicker results in wide termed as chunnam. The word denotes white color (chun),
range of degenerative and refractory diseases. Present lime (chunnam), fine particle and calcined paste.2
day Siddha physicians also use many inorganic chunnam This dosage form chunnam is considered a medicament
preparations in ailing human conditions like rheumatoid higher in order than Parpam and Chenduram (Calcified
arthritis, cancer and HIV. oxide, sulphide form of preparations). Many Siddha
“Medicine” (Marundhu) in Siddha medicine is classified classics like Bogar 7000, Konganavar vatha kaviyam
into thirty two internal medicines (Aga marundu) and 3000, Bogar saptha kandam, Korakkar Chandra Regai,
thirty two external medicines (Pura marundu).1 In modern Muttharam, Ravi Megalai deal elaborately on this class of
expression these classifications would correspond to medicine. Many of these chunnam preparations are herbo-
“dosage forms”. Many simple dosage forms like pills metallic origin and they are indicated not only for
(kuligai), powders (churanam), decoctions (kudineer) and eradicating diseases and in casualties but also for
medicated oils (thailam) are very popular among rejuvenation. This group of drugs is considered very
physicians. However there are a few higher order dosage essential since they enter into many alchemical
forms like kattu, kazhangu, chunnam, karpam and guru preparations. As per classics these preparations are
kuligai that are highly acclaimed in literature but seldom considered vital since they work on naadis (energy
used by modern day physicians. These preparations channels) and are also helpful in the practice of yoga and
involve tedious methodologies employing different pranayama. Many of these chunnams are added to other
apparatus, different kinds of heating devices and heating simple medicaments like parpam (calcined incineratd
schedules. Because of lack of efficient gurus to impart forms of metals and minerals), ilagam (electuary) and
correct knowledge and sometimes because of high cost thailam preparations (oil medicaments) to increase their
involved these invaluable drugs have become rare. potency. Chunnam is used to prepare still higher order
Amongst these higher order medicines, Chunnam is one medicines like solidified mercurial preparation called
which is highly cherished in the classics. No scientific paadana kattu. Proper identification of source drug and a

1

If by chance kept in distinct. copper sulphate (thurusu). salt chunnam is prepared in pancha chunna gugai and peter (vediuppu ). fresh following are made into chunnam preparations. Sudha R et al / IJRAP 4(1). Among water shell (nathai). gigantea (erukkam paal). Jan – Feb 2013 systemic sequential preparation methodology is and made into fine paste and are well dried. · Mercurials and other toxic substances: mercury Product Grades (rasam).6. If the · Salts (kaara saaram): fuller’s earth (pooneeru). Kaaram represents its alkalinity and its caustic followed in these preparations. generally up till a point when the the end product. Turmeric contains anthocyanins (vediuppu chunnam) and chunnam of egg shell (anda odu curcumin. gems or any nature. lusterless. thalagam ( As2S3). Kadunkkaara chunnam converted it to a fine homogenous substance by is highly alkaline. well stoppard glass bottles. Chunnams should be Chunnams are odorless. Chunnam also tastes like lime and will produce Complex Method irritation when it comes into contact with mucous A very systematic. color is possible as in mercurial chunnam preparation Chunnams are prepared by two different methods. Tin (vel vangam). 2 . kadum chunna (chembu). A few age old (chippi). called chunna thiravagam to prepare all kinds of muttai odu (egg shell)4 chunnams of salts. this variety is classified into 4th quality. Very rarely golden yellowish another and in the end. kalluppu (salt If the chunnam is prepared with fuller’s earth. making into bio-available form. jayaneer. calomel (pooram). pH 8.4 to red at disorders and in acid peptic diseases. latex of Calotropis vaidyas are still preparing some of these preparations.8 If white color is not triturating. pancha butha gugai are few other crucibles (karuvangam). which are used extensively in urinary. this triturating with particular plant juices for potentiation crucible is heated in a hand bellows blower. Then these drugs are Crucibles (Moosai) Used in Chunnam processed with selected compatible drugs (mithru It is very interesting to note that heat resistant crucibles sarakku) for proper end point.6 (Figure 1) (saaranai) the result would show up in changed color of After sufficient heating. Commonly these medicines are used extensively check if it turns turmeric from yellow to red perhaps as an by physicians. egg shell (anda-oodu). specially made crucibles called moosai procedural mistakes happen in grinding (araippu) or in like Pancha chunna gugai and sealed. (moosai/ gugai) are specially made prior to chunnam Raw Materials in Chunnam Preparations preparation. After drying. with obtained fuller’s earth chunnam (savukkara chunnam) is different heat treatments. sangu (conch shell). particularly used for chunnam preparation. examples are chunnam of salt peter indicator of the pH value. sulphur (gandagam). genital indicator. asbestos chunnam (thurusu guru chunnam). sal ammoniac chunnam. smokeless on heating. The final its opposite quality to decompose its structure which is product is obtained after sufficient grinding. elaborate. The chunnam of many metal and non metal drugs are Mercuric per chloride (veeram). egg albumin (venkaru) and lime · Metals: gold (thangam). As a rule the putam method with cow dung cakes as specified in the confirmation of end-point of chunnam preparation is to formula. cinnabar (lingam). chalcopyrite quality. nathai odu (fresh water shell). prepared during the hot summer months like April and without free metals. which changes from yellow at pH 7.alum ( seenam) . borax (vengaram).5 and very light in weight. The metals. borneo camphor ( pacchai karpooram). Special crucible called pancha chunna gugai Many metallic and non metallic mineral drugs of the is prepared with chunnams of crab shell (nandu). thus changing form from one to added to get the white color. graded according to the solvents used in the preparation. caustic and is blister forming. One is which is called as pancha sootha vagara guru. lead gugai. metals and various gems. copper water (sunna neer). Anju chunna gugai. The end point or the purity of Simple Method chunnam is considered very vital and generally this is In this method either lime stone or calcium group of raw ascertained by adding a pinch of turmeric (Curcuma materials are subjected to calcinations or incineration in longa) with few drops of water. conch shell (sangu). magnet (kaantham). it is classified as third (kalnar). Generally physicians prepare a special kind of solvent nandu oodu (crab shell). General principle advocated is to process crucible becomes red hot and itself gives-up its structure. microfine in particle size. If (navacharum) chunnam is prepared by the use of copper sulphate · Mineral origin (Uparasam): mica (abrakam). the type of crucibles used and type of heating appliances arsenic oxide(gouri) used in the process of particular preparation. crab fossil (nandukkal). This paste is considered vital while preparing chunnam3. simple and another one is complex. curcuminoids which act as natural pH chunnam). wafer like May. · Zoological products: kizhijal. minerals. iron (logam). If chunnam is prepared with caustic solvents like (nimilai). termed as killing or maaranam. the raw materials of particular drug with sathru sarakku of the contents are allowed to cool and collected. silver (velli).7 Preparation Method Physical Properties The above naturally obtained ingredients are processed Both types of chunnams are in powder form and generally sequentially by elaborate processes like grinding. quenching in different plant juices.(prissonite) found in lumps on deep sea rocks). arsenic sulphide (manoseelai). pearl oyster shell these very few are available in markets. melting. stepwise procedure is membrane. soft white to ivory color or colorless. incinerated with bellows blower is graded as best quality. zinc (naagam). According to its alkalinity it is graded into kara toxic material is detoxified as per recipe and then chunnam or kadunkaara chunnam. triturating with plant juices or some distillates called Storage pugai neer or thiravagam or with any solvent (jeyneer) Chunnams should be kept in dry. the drug is graded as second quality.

copper The remarkable features in the preparation of chunnams sulphate. specific butter or milk. and in some types of malignant and non which makes the chunnam distinctive should be malignant tumors. mercury (rasa chunnam). Among various chunnam preparations a very few frequency of heating are some of the chief factors to be preparations are considered very indispensable as controlled. Many of these The sequential processes are responsible for numerous chunnam preparations play a vital role in the process of changes which translate the toxic materials to medicines. higher order medicines called Kattu (solidified metals). These factors should be standardized for medicine and in medicine preparation. because raw drugs used for crucibles are aging processes and also in alchemical transformations. 10 incineration which are not used in many of the other Among the many uniqueness of Siddha medicine. Many studies also from very dry natured plants like virali (Dodonea confirm the importance of pH balance as the first and viscosa). sulphur (gandagam). mineral assimilation is also and efficacy should be ascertained with modern suffered. processes. and chunnam of fuller’s earth (pooneeru chunnam) (gowri). A detailed comparative with various adjuvants. pH of few chunnams which are (thanga chunnam). purification sootha kattu.8. quality of heat. heating period. zinc has pH of 10. Jan – Feb 2013 Shelf Life correct processing according to the tradition plays a most When properly stored. iron (aya chunnam). So our biological refractory human ailments. chunnams. always calcium contained drugs.11 It is worth It is imperative from the Siddha classics that acid- mentioning that very small quantity of copper sulphate alkaline balance is crucial in human health. Sudha R et al / IJRAP 4(1). quantity. mica (abrakam). of the final drug should be studied in detail. nature. they retain their potency up to 500 important part in validating their effectiveness. Very few drugs like gold. cinnabar (lingam). silver. thurusu guru. their quality. The specific compound or its structural form urinary calculi.12 disease. mercuric per prepared in our lab shows strong alkaline quality. nature of the intermediates. studied and ascertained by modern parameters. Very exciting aspect chunnam). During the course. kuppai meni (Acalypha indica) and erukku most important line of protection against sickness and (Calotropis gigantea). DISCUSSION Present day food habits and stressful life style makes It is obvious that chunnam group of preparation plays human body to become low pH thus forming mild very important role in the management of many chronic acidosis which is cyto-toxic. copper (thamira chunnam). The production of heat Apart from this. preparations and use of hand bellow blower for velli guru. Muppu chunnam is a vital role in facilitating to increase the alkalinity of basic and cardinal component in these preparations of anti chunnams. Many dung cakes in putam bagam method which is normally chunnam preparations of sal ammoniac (kambi navachara done for other parpam preparations. The and life style modifications with drug therapy are crucibles used in the chunnam preparation may be playing indicated in this line of treatment. This should be sulphate (thurusu chunnam).Anupanam address the role of the raw materials used during the It is advised to take the chunnam medicine with ghee.2. For chloride ( veera chunnam). Since most of the chunnams environment also becomes more anaerobic alluring are prepared with toxic raw drugs. tin (vanga chunnam). safety infections. preparation. muppu chunnam is also used as an during incineration with hand bellow blower should also adjuvant for many medicaments for chronic degenerative be studied seriously by comparing incineration with cow diseases and is a purifier of metals and minerals. magnetic ore example chunnam of borax (vengara chunnam) has pH of (kantham). chunnam dosage form is medicaments in chronic degenerative human ailments much preferred by the classics. nature and particle size disease condition as 3 days or 7days or 21 days. arsenic oxide sulphide 8. Chemical nature of the chunnam depends upon many One of the best examples is solidified mercury called factors. are termed as Guru chunnam preparations. copper about chunnam is its long shelf life. years. (nagam) are prepared with muppu chunnam. Dosage is indicated according to the compound form at the end point. Materials mixed. Chunnam of salt peter. borneo camphor (karpoora chunnam). Of this. dosage forms like parpam. The significance of these kayakalpam or rejuvenation therapy is its epitome. Food should be studied critically in the modern parameters. pH control system imparts every biochemical processes particularly the enzymatic actions in the body. muppu guru respectively. arsenic (thalaga chunnam). 9 Characterization on structural and elemental basis to Adjuvant . The decrease in intracellular pH has been parameters. gold As explained in the text. disorders of liver and spleen diseases. Chunnam of borax which is called as ascertained by various present days’ analytical vengara chunnam are highly preferred in metabolic techniques. production of lactic acid which favors further growth of 3 . which is study of parpam and chunnam are to be studied and their called as vediuppu chunnam. 13 In fast growing cancer cells preparations of this class of medicines is based on real glycolysis proceeds to very high rate. is used extensively by quality and efficacy should be ascertained in modern present day physicians in urinary disorders especially on parameters. fuller’s earth chunnam preparations are are the distinctive special crucibles used during considered as guru chunnam and termed as thanga guru. creating excessive experiences of great Siddhas. Biomedicine chunnam (thurusu guru) is added to extract juices or latex has also accepted this phenomenon. In the current scenario. type of fuel. shown to reduce DNA repair activity which facilitates The vast knowledge of repository of these therapeutic spontaneous mutations. Uses of Chunnams Many metal and mineral raw drugs are prepared both as Generally chunnams are acclaimed as best possible parpam and chunnams.

1983. Sowrirajan M editor. 1983. Chennai: Thamarai Noolagam. Robert K. indispensible in preparing many intricate kattu 2002.Chennai: Tamil Nadu Siddha Medical Board. Granner. 2 nd ed. Ayur. 2nd Figure: Incineration with hand blower ed. 1978. Sethuraghunathan B editor. Ramachandran SP editor. Yugi munivar pidivatham 1000. Chattaimuni nigandu. 8. these preparations are considered vital since they are Harper’s Biochemistry. 1998. 1996. These factors should be studied in scientific 1. Their role in anti-aging is noteworthy many mineral raw drugs undergo chunnam preparations and should be studied critically. Conflict of interest: None Declared 4 .14 Many chronic degenerative chunnam which is vital in rejuvenation therapy and is diseases are also manifested in acidosis conditions like used with all other medicaments to potentiate them. As the name suggested these formulations are highly alkaline in nature Cite this article as: and they are indicated for many degenerative conditions. 2. Siddha Maruthuvanga Churukkam. Sambasivam Pillai TV. 4(1):1-4 The corner stone of this group of medicine is muppu Source of support: Nil. Chunnam: A commended dosage form in Siddha medicine. May be and opportunities. degenerative arthritis and Present day Siddha physicians and scientific community osteoporosis. Chennai: Tamil Nadu Siddha Medical Board. J. 1982. 3. Thiruvalluvar nayanar pancha rathnam- 500. 2013. Chennai: Rathna Nayakar and Sons press. Res. Ramachandran SP editor. Cellular pH regulators: potentially promising molecular Chunnam formulations are classified as a special group of targets for cancer chemotherapy.doi.Chennai: Thamarai Noolagam. Pharm. Siddha maruthuvanga churukkam. Chennai: Aadimoolam press. Total healing of these illnesses happens only should prepare many of these unexplored formulations when and if the blood is restored to normal. Chennai: Dept of Indian Medicine and Homeopathy publication. http://dx. slightly and investigate them in scientific parameters to unearth alkaline pH.org/10. Cancer treatment reviews. rheumatoid arthritis. Guna paadam thathu-jeeva vaguppu.5. 9. May be. Munusamy mudaliar editor. 5. Thamarai Noolagam. Uthamarayan KS editor. AIDS and other immune restore the pH balance in the body. Daryl K. It is noteworthy that related diseases. Uthamarayan KS editor. Madurai: Madurai Kamaraj University. Chennai: The Research Institute of Siddhar’s science. Ramachandran SP editor. 12. 1968. Hiroshi ishiguchi.2003. Rodwell. Hiroto Izumi. Their lies our challenges and are indicated for chronic diseases conditions. Yugi munivar pidivatham 1000. 2004. Chennai. Victor W. 11. 13.1016/S0305-7372(03)00106-3 14. Deenadayala mudaliar editor. Sarabendrar Siddha Maruthuva Sudar. 25 th ed. 4. Sudha R et al / IJRAP 4(1). Hidetaka CONCLUSION Uramoto. Murray. 1927. 6. Jan – Feb 2013 certain types of cancer cells. that is why chunnam preparations many promising drugs for present day refractory diseases are preferred in many chronic degenerative diseases to like cancer. 1952. Many of 29(6):541-549. preparations of metals and minerals. Thanjavur: Saraswathy Mahal Library. Dhanwanthri nigantu. MC Graw Hill Lange publications. Medical dictionary. Madurai: Madurai Kamaraj University. medicaments in Siddha system of medicine. Vol.Yugi muni vatha vaidya vilakkam. editors. Takayuki Torigoe. 1982. Int. 10. 7. cardiovascular diseases. Ayyasamy S. Sudha R. parameters. these drugs are helpful in correcting pH balance and also in simultaneously normalizing trace elements uptake in REFERENCES the body. Sethuraghunathan B editor. 1879. Thiyagarajan R. Thirumular karukkidai vaidyam 600.