Health and Medicine

Health Care

Which symbol is used to represent medicine?

The staff of Aesculapius has represented medicine since 800 B.C.E. It is a single serpent wound around a staff. The caduceus, the twin-serpent magic wand of the god Hermes or Mercury, came into use after 1800 and is commonly used today. The serpent has traditionally been a symbol of healing, and it is an old belief that eating part of a serpent would bring the power of healing to the ingester. Early Greeks saw in the serpent regenerative powers expressed by the serpent’s periodic sloughing of its skin, and venerated the serpent. Later, the Greek god of medicine, Asklepius, called Aesculapius by the Romans, performed his functions in the form of a serpent. Sometimes this god is represented in art as an old man with a staff, around which is coiled a serpent.


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