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What Snakes Have To Do With Medical Symbols, Check How It Originated

In the medical industry, the motif of serpents wrapped around a staff is common, appearing on pharmaceutical packaging and in hospitals. Snake bites are often bad news, so the animal may seem out of place as the medical profession's symbol, but the ancient emblem has a fascinating backstory.

Medicine and the medical profession have traditionally been associated with the staff with the snake. It comes from the legend of Asclepius, a deity of healing who was worshipped by the ancient Greeks and whose cult included the usage of snakes.

The sign is available in two variations. The stick is actually a staff that was carried by the Olympian god Hermes, and the winged version is known as a caduceus. Hermes was a messenger between the gods and humanity ,thus the wings, and a guide to the underworld in Greek mythology, which explains the staff.

Hermes was also the patron of travelers, which fits with his association with medicine because doctors used to have to travel long distances on foot to see their patients.

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Asclepius Greeks Hermes Olympian

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