Medical symbol
A staff or rod with a snake curled around it is the staff (the rod) of Aesculapius (also called Asklepios), the ancient mythical god of medicine. His Greek name was Asklepios and his Roman name was Aesculapius. In reality, Asklepios may have once lived and been 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 por 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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