What Is The Rod Of Asclepius?
Rod Of Asclepius: Asclepius is the god of Healing. He is the son of Apollo (god of healing, truth, and prophecy) and the nymph Coronis. While pregnant with Asclepius, Coronis secretly took a second, mortal lover. When Apollo found out, he sent Artemis to kill her. While Coronis burned on the funeral pyre, Apollo felt pity and rescued the unborn child from the corpse. Asclepius was taught about medicine and healing by the wise centaur Cheiron and became so skilled in it that he succeeded in bringing one of his patients back from the dead. Zeus, king of the gods, felt that the immortality of the Gods was threatened and struck down the healer with a thunderbolt. At Apollo’s request, Asclepius was placed among the stars as Ophiuchus, the serpent-bearer.
In the Iliad, Homer mentions Asceplius only as a skillful physician and the father of two Greek doctors at Troy, Machaon, and Podalirius; in later times, however, he was honoured as a hero and eventually worshiped as a god. The cult began in Thessaly but spread to many parts of Greece. Because it was supposed that Asclepius effected cures of the sick in dreams, the practice of sleeping in his temples in Epidaurus in South Greece became common. In 293 B.C. his cult spread to Rome.
Asclepius was frequently represented standing and dressed in a long cloak with bare breast; his usual attribute was a staff with a serpent coiled around it. This staff is the only true symbol of medicine.
Why is the caduceus the medical symbol?
What does the rod of Asclepius represent?
What is the meaning of the snake in the medical symbol?
Rod Of Asclepius Tattoo
Most Prescriptions today are prefixed by the symbol Rx. This symbol is an abbreviation of an old Latin verb ‘Recipe’ and this word literally means ‘take’ ancient prescriptions thus began with a command to take the ingredients of a medication or concoction in a specified manner. The symbol of the International Committee of the Red Cross is a red cross on a white background, this symbol was adopted at the Geneva convention in 1864, this was done mainly to protect medical vehicles and buildings from any military attack during a conflict but this symbol is often mistakenly used to sometimes indicate first aid stations and medical supplies . This symbol was adopted in honor of Henry Dunant, the Swiss humanitarian and businessman who inspired the formation of the international committee of the Red Cross. Since Henry Dunant was a Swiss citizen, an inverse of the Swiss flag which is a white cross on a red background was used as the official emblem. But knowledge and awareness of the history of the symbols associated with our noble profession is lacking or nominal. There is also a great deal of confusion about the legitimacy of certain symbols and their origin. The purpose of this study is to assess the knowledge of medical symbols among doctors and medical students.
Caduceus Vs Rod Of Asclepius
As I stand on the verge of turning 30, in many ways, there is still a 3-year-old child in my head obsessed with one question: “Why?” That question is why I studied psychology in college, why I love the challenges and mysteries of an ever-evolving marketing career, and why I have an undying love and fascination for history – our past is the answer to so many present day queries of “Why?”
Recently we posted a picture of a ‘Dental Caduceus’ created by our talented embroidery team, and an enlightened Facebook Fan informed us that it wasn’t a Caduceus, but rather a Rod of Asclepius. The discovery caught me by surprise, as the ADA uses the term Caduceus. A little research revealed a widespread and common confusion between the two symbols, leading some websites to claim that they were interchangeable despite having two very different historical meanings – naturally, I wanted to know why, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that there is more to the story than ‘serpent plus staff equals medicine’.
Both symbols have their roots in Greek Mythology, but despite being treated as interchangeable, only one of them is historically accurate as a representation of medicine. The Caduceus, two snakes wound around a staff and often bearing wings, belonged to Hermes, the Greek messenger of the Gods. How he got it is a subject of debate – some sources claim that Apollo gave it to him as a sign of friendship, while others claim it came from a man who made it his mission in life to stop snakes from reproducing by hitting them with a stick (I’m not kidding).
Hermes (or Mercury as the Romans called him) was gifted with a wide variety of associations, from commerce and negotiation, to thievery and death (oops), to alchemy and printing. Its false application to medicine is believed to have originated from a combination of early medical texts bearing the ‘printer’s caduceus’ and the quest of alchemists everywhere (in addition to turning everything into gold) to find a ‘panacea’ – a cure for all diseases and the secret to immortality.
The mistake was further cemented in North America in 1902, when the US Army medical corps adopted the Caduceus at the insistence of a single officer. A widely viewed symbol, it could be called the first domino in the rapid succession of symbolic confusion throughout the United States.
The Rod Of Asclepius
It’s also been theorized that the symbol itself stems from a popular method of treating the infection of the parasitic guinea worm, also known as Dracunculus medinensis (“the fiery serpent” or “the dragon of Medina”). The worm, still a widespread problem in some parts of the world, infects a patient by means of contaminated drinking water and then spends a year beneath the skin as it matures and works its way down to the lower extremities – where it creates a wound and a burning sensation, depositing eggs into the water when the foot or leg is submerged to reduce discomfort.
To rid a patient of this parasite, doctors would cut a slit on the patient’s skin just in front of the worm’s path and then curl it around a stick (and yes, just typing this makes me squeamish). Slowly winding a few millimeters a day until the worm was removed, the process took weeks or even months, and is still a popular method of dealing with guinea worm infections. The illness was so universally common in the past that many doctors would advertise their skill by placing a sign of a worm on a stick on their clinics. Over time, and with the help of the Asclepian priests, the worm became a snake, representing fertility and rebirth due to its ability to shed its skin.
While many organizations have wrongly adopted the caduceus, most medical professionals have remained true to the Rod of Asclepius. In 1992, Walter Friendlander surveyed 242 logos of American organizations relating to health or medicine dating from the late 1970s to early 1980s. He found that 62% of healthcare professionals used the Rod of Asclepius, while 76% of commercial healthcare organizations used the Caduceus. The exception was hospitals, where only 37% used a Rod of Asclepius and 63% for the Caduceus. Friedlander theorized that healthcare professionals are more likely to have a real understanding of the two symbols, whereas commercial organizations are more likely to be concerned with the visual impact a symbol will have. I, for one, am grateful that we have such knowledgeable and insightful customers, and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to explore the history of this common misconception.
Rod Of Asclepius
The Rod of Asclepius (or Staff of Asclepius) is an ancient Greek symbol that has become an internationally recognized symbol of medicine. It depicts a serpent entwined around a staff that is traditionally a knotty tree limb. The symbol is associated with the Greek demigod, Asclepius who was renowned for his unsurpassed medical prowess and healing powers. According to myths, he got his medical knowledge through the whispering of snakes that have the ability to periodically shedding their skin and emerging bigger, healthier and shinier than before.
The Rod of Asclepius is a befitting representation of the physician’s art of healing because of its combination of the staff, which is symbolic of authority and the snake, which denotes rebirth, fertility, revitalization, and rejuvenation. Moreover, snake venom has been found to be fatally poisonous and, at the same time, have medicinal properties. Therefore, the serpent is also seen as symbolic of the dual nature of a physician’s work that involved sickness & health, life & death. It even signifies the dual powers of medicine – the dosage and the situation determine if it will heal or harm. The symbol was displayed at the Temples of Asclepius that became popular healing centers of the Greco-Roman world. Later on, it came to be adopted by doctors all over the world.
Some scholars assert that the Rod of Asclepius actually represents a parasitic worm coiled around a stick. In the ancient times, people used to be commonly infected by parasitic worms like the guinea worm. The physicians treated them by piercing the skin and extracting the worms underneath by wrapping them on a rod or stick. The physicians are believed to have advertised this service by putting up the sign of a worm on a stick.
Whatever the origin of the Rod of Asclepius may have been, it remains a dominant global symbol of healthcare, healing, and medicine.
Rod Of Asclepius Smite
The caduceus or the staff of Hermes, depicted as a stick entwined by two snakes and surmounted wings is the symbol of modern medicine in India and elsewhere. Most major hospitals, medical colleges, clinics, professional bodies, prescriptions and medical journals spport this symbol either as an emblem or as part of their logo. The car windshields of many doctors feature this symbol prominently as a badge of prestige and honor. But unfortunately, the very emblem we flaunt as an insignia of our profession is a false symbol and has nothing or very little to do with the noble art of healing. The true and authentic symbol of Medicine is not the Caduceus but the Rod of Asclepius . The Rod of Asclepius is a single serpent entwined rod wielded by the Greek God of healing and Medicine, Asclepius . In Greek mythology Asclepius is the son of Apollo- the god of light, the Sun, truth and also a god of healing. Asclepius’s daughters are Hygieia, the goddess of hygiene and cleanliness and Panacea the goddesses of remedies. The Hippocratic Oath which all physicians have taken for centuries is dedicated to the same four deities, namely Apollo, Asclepius, Hygieia and Panacea. In contrast Hermes, also a Greek God and his counterpart in Roman mythology, Mercury are patron Gods of commerce, trade, merchants and a protector of tricksters and thieves. More importantly Hermes is a God of transitions and boundaries, and moves freely between the worlds of the mortal and divine and guides departed souls to the underworld. In 1902 a Captain in the US Army medical corps mistook the caduceus for the Rod of Asclepius and proposed the adoption of the caduceus as the corps official symbol. Several years later, a librarian in the Surgeon General’s office noticed the erroneous assumption and alerted his superiors, but since the symbol had been by then in use for several years it was allowed to remain. Unfortunately, others allied to medical services in the U.S. and soon the world adopted the same symbol . The staff of Hermes embodies cunning machinations and death, hardly the connotations an emblem of healing should evoke.
Rod Of Asclepius Logo
You’re probably familiar with the symbol of many medical associations: a rod with a serpent wrapped around it. But do you know the history of this symbol, called the Rod of Asclepius? Emerging out of Greek mythology, this is a symbol known and trusted the world over.
Asclepius is a figure in Greek mythology. He was the son of the god, Apollo, and the nymph, Coronis. While she was pregnant, Coronis took a second, mortal lover. Jealous of this relationship, Apollo killed Coronis, and as she lay on her funeral pyre, he took pity on the unborn child and rescued him. The baby was named Asclepius, and he was taught about medicine by Cheiron, a learned centaur. Asclepius learned so much that he was eventually able to bring one of his patients back from the dead.
Zeus, the king of the gods, started worrying that the immortality of the gods was about to be challenged by mortals, so he killed Asclepius with a thunderbolt. Apollo requested that his son be placed in the sky as a star called Ophiuchus, the serpent-bearer. In other versions of the myth, Asclepius doesn’t actually die, but instead becomes a living god, founding healing centers around ancient Greece. This eventually led to a cult of Asclepius, and its adherents worked to heal people.