Doctors' symbol
A staff or rod, with a snake curled around it. It is the staff or rod of Aesculapius (also called Asklepios), the ancient mythical god of medicine. His Greek name was Asklepios and his Roman name Aesculapius. In reality, Asklepios may have been a real person who was renowned for his gentle, humane remedies and his humane treatment of the mentally ill. His followers established temples called asclepions, temples of Asklepios, temples of healing. The greatest asklepion was in a grove of trees south of Corinth, Greece where the sick had to spend a night while the proper remedies were revealed during a dream to the priests of the temple and the cured had to make a suitable sacrifice (usually a rooster) to the god. According to mythology, Asculapius had a number of children including Hygieia, the goddess of health (from whose name comes the word "hygiene") and Panaceia, the goddess of healing (from whose name comes the word "panacea" for a universal remedy). Today, the staff of Aesculapius is a commonly used symbol of medicine. It is the symbol of the American Medical Association (AMA) and many other medical societies.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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