Asclepius (or Aesculapius), His Medical Logo and Some of the Related Mythological Names





Dr. Erhan Berber, in one of his Turkish postings, dated 6/15/2005, had asked whether anyone knows the meaning of the logo of the "medical profession" in which one or two snakes are entwined around a staff.  In his posting, he said he would appreciate if anyone would share with him knowledge about this symbol.  My response is a fairly delayed one, but putting a picture together as you will find in this paper takes time.  He had also forwarded an interesting writing of Mr. Laxmi Vilas Ghimire, fifth year medical student, Institute of Medicine, Maharajgunk Campus, Kathmandu, Nepal regarding the ancient Greek "god of medicine" named Asclepius. In this writing I wanted to add another dimension to the known mythological and real knowledge about the mythological identity of the name Asclepius (Latin version is Aesculapius) the ancient healer, that is, the so-called ancient "Greek" doctor. What I write is quite different from what is known. It is an insight that it is unique. It opens a window onto the medical understandings of ancient Turanian world.

As we will see in this paper, Aesculapius (Asclepius) is an ancient mythological personification rather than a real person.  The mythological stories describe Aesculapius in a riddle form as is the case with all mythologies. The mythological stories are as follows: 

"Aesculapius is known as the Greek god of medicine and had a complicated start to life. He was the son of Apollo and the nymph Coronis. Although Apollo loved Coronis and impregnated her, Coronis fell in love with someone else and wanted to marry him. To avoid Apollo's humiliation, Artemis, the sister of Apollo, killed Coronis. But her unborn child was delivered from her dead body and named Aesculapius. Apollo entrusted the child's education to the centaur, Chiron, who taught Aesculapius the art of healing."

"Later Aesculapius became skilled in surgery and in the use of medicinal plants, which could even restore the dead to life. But Aesculapius's ending was not much nicer than his mother's. Infuriated with what Aesculapius was doing, Hades, ruler of the dead, complained to Zeus. Zeus felt that immortality of the gods was threatened and killed Aesculapius with a thunderbolt. Aesculapius had three daughters Meditrina, Hygeia, and Panacea, who became the symbols of medicine, hygiene, and healing."

First we should try to know the real identity of the parents of AESCULAPIUS (or ASCLEPIUS).  From the given mythological information  his father is APOLLO and his mother is CORNIS.  Apollo's sister was ARTEMIS. Both Apollo and Artemis were the children of LEDO and ZEUS. All of these mythological names, although known as "Greek", are actually from Turkish language of the ancient Turanian world which was a world language for a long time. 

Mythologically, the name ZEUS, in one of its meanings personifies the "WORD" from Turkish "SÖZ" meaning "Word, speech, language" and Turkish "SES" meaning "voice". [1]  If we remember JOHN 1-1, saying that: "In the beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god" [2], we will see that ZEUS, as an altered form of Turkish "SÖZ", fits this definition nicely.  Similarly, LEDO is also an anagram for the Turkish expression "DIL O" meaning "it is language".  Thus in this mythological meanings, both "SÖZ" (ZEUZ) and "DIL O" (LEDO) personify the language of man.  Hence APOLLO andARTEMIS are children, that is, two "NAMES" of the Language. Evidently, the "Language" was the "Turkish" language that identifies these concepts. 

Mythologically, APOLLO is also a personification and an anagram. In one meaning, it personifies "sun god", that is, the sun. In this representation, the name APOLLO, in the form "AP-L-OLO" is an anagram of the Turkic expression  "APA AL OGLU" meaning "red son of Father" referring to the "red son" the Sun of the Sky-Father-God. In ancient Turkish "APA means "father" and "AL" means "red" and "OLO" (olu, oglu) means "son". 

In another meaning, the name APOLLO personifies a being which is the maker of honey.  APOLLO, in the form of "PALLO-O" is a restructured form of Turkish "PALLO O" (BALLU O) meaning "he/she/it is with honey"; additionally, in the form of "PAL-OLO" is a form of the Turkish expression "PAL OLO" (BAL OLU) meaning "it becomes honey"; and furthermore in the form "POL-OLA" is a form of the Turkish expression "PAL OLA" (BAL OLA) meaning "honey-man, honey maker" referring by metaphor to the "honeybee" (Tr. ARI)  and also to the "honey producer" (Tr. ARICI, ARI OLA). Thus in this context,  the name APOLLO is a mystified name personifying "honeybee", but made up from Turkish components rather than the usually known "Greek" mythological source. 

Similarly the mythological name CORONIS, mother of Asclepius, is also a personification of a concept related to the "honeybee".  Since Apollo is a personification of "honeybee" in Turkish, his sister ARTEMIS, in one meaning must also be related to bee.  First of all, the name ARTEMIS is a Turkish word originally belonged to the Turkic speaking Tur/Turk Lydians of Anatolia.  ARTEMIS stands for "chastity" of woman expressed by the Turkish words "AR" meaning "chastity" and "TEMIS" (TEMIZ)" meaning "clean, pure" which refers to the "virtuousness" of unmarried girls and also married woman.  This was an honorable and virtuous (Turkish "ERDEMLIK") quality of woman.  This we see even from the name "ARTEMIS" since Turkish "ERDEM" is already embedded in it.  When the name is rearranged as "ARTEMSI" and read as Turkish, it is the Turkish word "ERDEMCI" meaning "he/she who is virtuous".  The ancient Lydian goddess ARTEMIS was such a personality. Thus ARTEMIS is not Greek as portrayed, but rather totally Turkish in origin. 

Secondly, when we rearrange the name ARTEMIS as "AR-TE-ISM", it is an anagram of the Turkish expression "AR'DI ISMI"meaning "its name is chastity" which again verifies the true meaning of the goddess ARTEMIS in Turkish. However, when ARTEMIS is rearranged as "ARITE-SM" and read as Turkish, then it becomes the Turkish expression "ARI'DI ISMI" with two meanings: 1)  "Its name is purity" or "its name is chastity"; and 2) "its name is BEE". Bees are known to make pure honey.

Thus the goddess ARTEMIS not only personifies "chastity" or "pureness", but also personifies the first born "queenbee" who kills all other sister queenbees.  Evidently CORONIS was one of the unlucky sister queenbees who got killed by Artemis the Queenbee.  Mythology tells us that CORONIS was a "princess of Thessaly". Although killed by the first born queenbee, all other sister queenbees are also of  "royal blood" and therefore are "princesses". Thessaly was and still is a flat meadowy land (Tr. "OVA") with lots of wild flowers to attract bees in so-called ancient Greece.  The native people of Thessaly were the ancient Turanian Pelasgians who antedated the wanderer Greeks by thousands of years.

In this context, CORONIS, when rearranged as "ORI-CONS" can be seen as Turkish "ARI CANIZ" meaning "we are bee beings" (we are bee life).  This again verifies that CORONIS was also a personification of the "honeybee" and was composed in Turkish.

In view of the "bee" personifying parents of  AESCULAPIUS, he himself must also be related to "bee" and also to "honey". We will show this to be so from the restructured analysis of the name ASCLEPIUS (or AESCULAPIUS) below.  

Thus the Turkish language has been used in composing all of these mythological names.  In the ancient Turanian world, "honey' was used in many kinds of "medicine" making and medicinal applications. From the given mythological information, it is said that:

"His parents were the god Apollo and Coronis, a princess of Thessaly who died while Asclepius was still a child. Apollo entrusted the child's education to Chiron, a centaur (half man - half horse) and son of Chronus. Most of the centaurs were savage but Chiron was wise, civilised and kindly and famous for his knowledge of archery, medicine, music and prophesy."

This also defines, very encryptically, the ancient Turanian Tur/Turk peoples who were extremely skilfull at archery - both on and off the horse. The ancient Turanians, spending much of their time on horseback, would have appeared to an onlooker as half-man and half-horse - which is the definition of the mythological being Centaur.  The ancient Turanians were very good in "music" and prophesy as they were the sun and moon worshippers and stargazers - which they used for prophesizing. The ancient Turanians were also famed for knowing the medicinal plants in nature and their use in healing sick people.  The Turanian Shamans, such as from the Altai Mountain areas, are famed for their healing skills and chanting - and they took that culture to wherever they went. 

"Two of the sons of Asclepius appeared in Homer's Illiad as physicians in the Greek army. Their supposed descendents formed the Asclepiadae, a large order of priest physicians who controlled the sacred secrets of healing, which were passed from father to son and practiced in temples of health called Asclepieia. The dreams of patients were interpreted by the Asclepiadae to find the method of treatment." 

In the name ASCLEPIUS or AESCULAPIUS, the letter 'P' has a double identity. In the Greek alphabet, many of the letters have more than one identity.  This "feature" of the Greek alphabet letters has been effectively used in anagrammatizing the much older Turkish language into Greek.  The letter "R" is one such letter.  The letter "R" in the Greek alphabet is represented with a "P" symbol of the so-called "Latin" alphabet which is actually the Etruscan alphabet. [3]  This fluid situation gives the letters P and R a hidden interchangeability. Thus, depending on the word and its meaning, a P or an R can be interchanged to further facilitate the disguising of the original Turkish source material that was used to come up with "Greek" words.  For example, the Latin word "APIS" or "APES" meaning "a bee" is one such word. When we replace the letter "P" with "R" we get the Turkish word "ARI-S" meaning "bee".  Similarly the English word APIARY, meaning place where beehives are kept, is another such word. When we replace the "P" with "R" and rearrange the word as "ARI-YAR", it is the Turkish expression "ARI YER" or "ARI YERI" meaning "place where there are bees" - which of course is the "APIARY". 

Similarly, when the letter "P" in the name  ASCLEPIUS is replaced with letter "R", the name becomes ASCLERIUS. Now with this new insight, let us examine these names. First the name ASCLERIUS: 

1. The name ASCLERIUS, when rearranged letter-by-letter as  "ARI-CUSSLE", is the restructured and disguised form of the Turkish expression "ARI GÖZLÜ" meaning "bee-eyed".  This of course defines not only the "honeybee" but also any other being that may  be "bee-eyed" such as the "bumblebee" and other bee-like beings. In Turkish, the expression "ARI GÖZLÜ" is also used to describe someone with keen eyesight. 

2.  The name ASCLERIUS, when rearranged letter-by-letter as "ARI-ECUSSL", is the restructured and disguised form of the Turkish expression "ARI AGUZLU" meaning "bee-mouthed" or "singing like a bee".  This of course again defines not only the "honeybee" but also any other being that may  be "bee-mouthed" such as the "bumblebee" and other bee-like beings.  It can also refer to someone who mumbles (sings) like a bee. Bees sing (or buzz) from birth onwards. 

We find the same Turkish expression in the name "AESCULARIUS"(AESCULAPIUS), that is, the names' Latin version with an "R" in place of "P". The name AESCULARIUS, when rearranged letter-by-letter as  "ARI-CUSSLE-AU", is the restructured and disguised form of the Turkish expression "ARI GÖZLÜ O" meaning "it is bee-eyed".  Similarly, the name AESCULARIUS, when rearranged letter-by-letter as "ARI-ECUSSLE-U", is the restructured and disguised form of the Turkish expression "ARI AGUZLU O" meaning "it is bee-mouthed".

Thus the mythical name ASCLEPIUS or AESCULAPIUS, son of Apollo and Coronis, is in fact also a personification of the "bee", however, the descriptions disclosing this fact are in Turkish rather than in Greek contrary to the known "information".

Now let us turn back to the normal spellings of these names. The name AESCULAPIUS, when rearranged letter-by-letter as"ACU-PAL-SISEU" 
is found to be the Turkish expression "ACI BAL ÇIÇEGI" meaning "Bitter honey flower".  This again relates the name AESCULAPIUS to "honey" and a "honey plant".  Now let us understand this "ACI BAL ÇIÇEGI" concept. 




Interestingly, there is a plant which is called "MILKWEED" in English. The Encyclopedia Britannica gives its scientific name is known as "ASCLEPIA" and gives the following information: [4]

"Milkweed or Silkweed, the name given to plants of the genus Asclepia, of the milkweed family (ASCLEPIADACEAE)comprising about 100 species.  Many species have a milky juice, and have silky downy seeds. Well known species of the eastern U.S. and Canada are common milkweed "Asclepia syriaca", often a troublesome weed; the swamp milkweed, Asclepia incarnata; and Asclepia exaltata, a tall perennial.

Asclepias species contain variable amounts of resinoids and other substances of a toxic nature, which sometimes prove fatal to livestock. "Asclepia galioides and "Asclepia verticillata are especially dangereous in this regard. Earlier the drugasclepias, derived from the resinous juice of Asclepia tuberosa, served as diaphoretic, diaretic and expectorant.

The seed floss of Asclepia syriaca is very buoyant and has been used in life belts and vests.  Noteworthy species of the western U. S. are the showy milkweed, A. speciosa, and the narrow-leaved milkweed, A. mexicana.  Some species are cultivated for ornament such as A. curassavica, but many are weeds, effectively controlled only by chemical spraing." 

Another kin of "Milkweed" is called "Milkwort", the common name for plants of the genus Polygala (familyPolygalaceae).

From this encyclopedic description, it is clear that this plant was an important medicinal plant in the ancient world. Hence it became the subject of mythology.  The very fact that it contained a white milky juice having toxic elements that caused hallucinations and medicinal chemicals beneficial for healing patients made it an especially important plant.  It is no wonder that the mythologic name ASCLEPIUS or AESCULAPIUS, "the god of medicine" and the common "Asclepia" family of "milkweed" have something in common. 

Another such plant is the SOMA/HAOMA plant. Random House Dictionary, [5] describes it as follows: 

"1. A leafless, ASCLEPIADACEOUS wine, Sarcostemma acidum, of eastern India, yielding a sour, milky juice. 2.Zaroastrianism, a. a sacramental drink prepared with the juice of the haoma plant, milk and water. b. a god personifying this sacred drink. [< Avestan; c.SOMA]" 

It is interesting to note that the Haoma (Soma) plant is also known by the name ASCLEPIADACEOUS.
From the point of view of the ancientness of the Turkish language, these names are very eye opening.  
The name ASCLEPIADACEOUS, when rearranged letter-by-letter as "ADO-ACI-PAL-CESSEU", is found to be the restructured form of the Turkish expression "ADI ACI BAL ÇIÇEYU" meaning "its name is bitter-honey-flower" which is pure Turkish describing the Haoma plant.  

Similarly even the name  SARCOSTEMMA when rearanged letter-by-letter as "SARCOS-ETMMA" where C=K, and read phonetically as in Turkish, is the restructured and disguised form of the Turkish expression "SARKOS ETME" (SARHOS ETME) meaning "making drunk".  This is exactly what the juice of this plant makes people who drink it.  Additionally the nameACIDUM is a distorted form of the Turkish phrase "ACI-IDUM" (ACI IDIM) meaning "I am bitter".  Even the term "ACID"is from Turkish word "ACIDI" meaning "it is bitter" which explains all the so-called "acidic" tastes.  Thus it is clearly seen that even the so-called "scientific" names for the Haoma plant, presented as being from Indo-European languages,  are not truthfully Latin or Greek in origin.  They are all made up from restructured and disguised Turkish expressions. 

Evidently, the SOMA drink prepared with the juice of haoma plant was used by ancient priests which caused them to be drunk and to hallucinate, most likely, making them to think that they were seeing God and talking with God. This situation must have been used cunningly by the ancient priests to exploit the common people who were conned to think that the priests were "godly" and were actually talking to God.  It is no wonder that they were always rising to the top levels of the society both economically and socially. 




Above descriptions indicate that when their toxic nectar from the flowers of such plants is mixed with real honey made by the bees, it becomes a kind of toxic honey which intoxicates those who ate considerable amounts of it. Such a honey is known as "DELI-BAL" in Turkish meaning "Crazy-Honey" implying that when eaten in large quantities, it gives the victim hallucinations. In this topic I want to refer to a well written paper by Jonathon Ott, given in his URL site [6], under the title of:

"The Delphic Bee: Bees and toxic honeys as pointers to psychoactive and other medicinal plants".

An excerpt from this paper tells us about Greek soldiers returning from a military expedition and eating plenty of "DELI BAL" in eastern Anatolia and getting sick with it. 

"Xenophon's 4th century BC Anabasis (IV,VII,20) described psychoactive honey poisoning during the 'Retreat of the Ten Thousand' in the ill-starred expedition of Cyprus. Countless soldiers in the greek army encamped near Trebizonde in Asia Minor, ate liberally of honey found there, "lost their senses and vomited" and "resembled drunken persons." Pliny (XXI,XLV) described madness-inducing honey from this area as meli mœnomenon ('mad honey') and also mentioned (XXI,XLVI)a medicinal honey from Crete, miraculum mellis or 'wondrous honey' (Halliday 1922; Ransome 1937). The 6th-8th century BC Homeric Hymn to Hermes referred to melissae or bee oracles from Delphi's Mount Parnassos, who could prophesy only after ingesting meli chloron or 'green honey', perhaps a reference to Pliny's 'mad honey'.  ...." 

Since it brings a new insight, here it is important to examine even the stracture of the name "MIRACULUM MELLIS"meaning "wondrous  honey" reported above.  When the name is rearranged letter-by-letter as "MUCISELU-ARI-MLLM",and read phonetically as in Turkish, it is found that it is the restructured and disguised form of the Turkish expression of"MUCIZELU ARI BALIM" meaning "I am miraculous pure honey". This correspondence cannot be due to coincidence.  The reason for this correspondence is the fact that in the ancient Greek, Latin world the Turkish expression was plagiarized, altered and disguised so that it instantly became part of the artificially manufactured so-called "Indo-European" languages. In this anagram, Turkish word MUCIZELU means "miraculous", ARI mean "pure" and also "bee", and BALIM means "I am honey". This indicates that the natives of ancient Crete were Turkish speaking Turanian Tur/Turk peoples.

Jonathon Ott also indicates that such "toxic honey" was also used by the "divinatory priestesses" of the Apollo temple:

"Tradition holds the famous Delphic Oracle was revealed by a swarm of bees, and the Pythia or divinatory priestesses in Delphi's temple of Apollo were affectionately called 'Delphic Bees', while virgin priestesses of Greek Goddesses like Rhea and Demeter were called melissai, 'bees'; the hierophants essenes,'king bees'. Great musicians and poets like Pindar were inspired by the Muses, who bestowed the sacred enthusiasm of the logos, sending bees to anoint the poets' lips with honey (Ransome 1937). Some hold the vatic revelations of the Pythia were stimulated by inhaling visionary vapours of henbane, Hycscyamus niger L., issuing from a fumarole over which the Delphic Bees were suspended, and into which the plant had been cast (Ratsch 1987). The primordial Eurasian entheogenic plant soma/haoma, known in the Vedas as amrta, the potion of immortality, was called ambrosia by the Greeks, and with nektar, the other sustenance of the Immortals, was associated with bees and honey (Roscher 1883). This curious lore may represent a sort of mythological fossil, concealing a hitherto overlooked mechanism of drug discovery. I suggest that immemorial pursuit of wild honey, the only concentrated sweet which occurs naturally, could have led inexorably to the discovery of psychoactive and other toxic honeys, while subsequent observation of bees' foraging habits could easily have led preliterate shamans/pharmacognosists to single out toxic plant species, even against a background of extreme biodiversity, as in Amazonia."




With this background information, let us now turn to the name of this plant.

The so-called scientific "Latin" name of this plant is ASCLEPIADACEAE. [7]  When this name is rearranged letter-by-letter as "ADE-ACI-PAL-SECAE", it is found to be the restructured and disguised-as-Latin form of the Turkish expression "ADI ACI BAL ÇICEGI" meaning "its name is bitter-honey flower". This is exactly what this plant is.  Its flowers have a very strong "honey" fragrance. Evidently honey made from such plants had a lot of medicinal and intoxicational use in the ancient world (search for "DELI BAL" in internet).  In this anagram altering the Turkish expression into the Latin nameASCLEPIADACEAE, Turkish ADI means "its name", "ACI" means "bitter", "BAL" means "honey" and "ÇIÇEGI" ("ÇIÇEK", also in some Turkish dialects as "SISAK" or "SIÇAK") means "flower".  Finding this descriptive Turkish expression in this so-called "Latin" name once again verifies that the Latin language is made up from Turkish.

A picture of this plant is given below from URL.:


Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed) 
Asclepias syriaca 
(Common Milkweed) 




The name "ASCLEPIA SYRIACA", when rearranged letter-by-letter as "YARA-ACI-PAL-SISEC", is the restructured form of Turkish expression "YARA ACI BAL ÇIÇEK"  meaning "bitter-honey flower for wounds". In this anagram of a Turkish expression, the Turkish word "YARA" means "wound".  This implies that, medicine made from this plant was used as a healing medication on wounds also. 

It is most interesting to note that this very ancient medicinally known plant has given its name to the so-called mythological "god of medicine" known as "AESCULAPIUS" in Latin and "ASCLEPIUS" in Greek. 

Below is the logo of the Royal Society of Medicine showing the flowers of the "milkweed", "Asclepia syriaca" crowning the emblem.  It is equally interesting to note that the Royal Society of Medicine should choose the flowers of this plant as part of their logo. It seems as if they know something from the ancient world that they are not sharing with the rest of of the world!


staff of Asclepius 





Above we noted that another kin of the Milkweed plant is the so-called "Milkwort", the common name for plants of the genus Polygala (family Polygalaceae). [8]

When the name POLYGALA is rearranged letter-by-letter as "PAL-GYLA-O", it is find to be the restructured and disguised form of the Turksh expression "BAL GULU O" ("Bal Gülü O", Bal Çiçegi O") meaning "it is the honey rose" or "it is the honey flower". A picture of the flower of Polygala lutea is given below which is very much a "rose" like flower. Additionally, in Eastern Anatolian, an Azerbaijan dialect of Turkish, the term "gül" (rose) is also used for the flower part of the plant. 


Common Milkwort 
Common Milkwort

(Polygala vulgaris)

The above picture shows the blue flowering Common Milkwort plant. It is from URL:



Polygala lutea



Picture of Polygala lutea from URL


Similarly the name Polygalaceae is given as the family name of Polygala (Milkwort) plants. The name POLYGALACEAE,when rearranged letter-by-letter as "ACE-PAL-GYLE-OA", where Y=U, it is found to be a restructured form of the Turkish expression "ACI BAL GULU O" (deli-bal gülü o) meaning "it is bitter-honey flower".  This Turkish expression describes all these plants and evidently has been the secret source for the "Latinized" family name POLYGALACEAE.  In view of these revelations, the truthfulness of the so-called "scientific names in Latin" has become very questionable!



The Symbols of Medicine:

Now because of these insights that I discussed above we can now identify the logo used to represent the medical profession.  There seems to be two forms of it in use: 

 One is a so-called Aesculapian symbol, shown at left, (from URL has a snake rolled around the staff of "Aesculapius" the ancient "god of  medicine".  The symbol has been mythologically embellished to give all kinds of meanings.  In actuality, this symbol is very much the stylized "needle and the thread" that medicine men use in stitching an open wound.  The "snake" represents the "string", while the "Aesculapian staff"represents the surgeon's stitching "needle". After all, the thread does "snake" its way through a stitch.  A thread that is wound around a needle would give exactly this symbol. To think that ancient medicine men did not know the use of needle and thread in putting together the cut wounds would be pure fallacy.  Ancient Masarian (falsely called "Egyptian") medicine men had many sophisticated tools that were used in his profession. Thus the needle and thread, as used in the medical field, cannot be regarded as a modern invention. 

staff of Hermes The second symbol is one with wings at the top and two snakes entwined around a staff as shown here.  In one of the personifications of the name Aesculapius that I described above, he represented the "honey bee", therefore this symbol of the medicine man is a stylized representation of the "HONEY BEE" (Tr. "ARI").  The snakes (doctor's thread) entwined around a staff (needle) are fashioned stylishly to represent the body of the "bee". Of course the "wings" in this symbol are the wings of the bee and the "needle" is the needle (stinger) of the bee. But it also represents the "needle and thread" of the surgeon in a stylish manner.  

The honey bee, visiting many flowers through the fields,  produces a product (normal honey and crazy-honey) that was not only an expensive food, but also had medicinal uses.  Hence  "bee" was a most admirable symbol of searching, learning, acquiring knowledge and productivity for medicine man who used the plants as a source of medicine.  That is why it is mythologically said that Aesculapius was educated by Chiron (Greek Cheiron), the wise, civilised, kind Centaur (from Turkish "AT-ER CAN" meaning "man-horse being"), who was famous for his knowledge of archery, medicine, music and prophesy.  Of course, there is a metaphor used in this mythological saying. In one hand it refers to the "honey bee" and in the other it refers to the native medicine men, that is, the "shamans" (Tr. KAM) of the ancient Turanian world. They were wise, kind and civilized medicine men - in addition to being very skillful in archery both on and off the horse. The bee is also an "archer".  When a bee is ready to sting, it arches its body, like a bow, and out comes its barbed stinger - like an arrow from a bow of the ancient Turanians.  But the bee is also a "musician" too. >From birth on, the bee "sings", i.e., buzzes as it searches for nectar in flowers. The bee is also very wise and knowledgeable in finding and choosing flowers.  The honey bee is also civilized because they are tamed. 





Now let us turn back to the name ASCLEPIUS or AESCULAPIUS as the mythological "god of medicine". AESCULAPIUS is defined as having the meanings of "doctor, medicine and healing". [9] With this in mind, let us examine the name.


1) The name AESCULAPIUS when rearranged letter-by-letter as "SALIC-UAPESU" where C=K, and the first U=Y, when read phonetically as in Turkish, is the Turkish phrase "SALIK YAPICU" (SAGLIK YAPICI) meaning "he who makes health well (right)" which describes a a medical man, that is, a doctor. 

If this expression is taken  in the form of "SA-UAPESILUC", it would be the Turkish expression "SAG YAPICULUK" (SAG YAPICILIK) meaning "making healthy" (making whole, alive, well, and sound in body) which describes the "profession of the medicine man", that is, the things that a doctor does in order to get his patient well and in good health. 


2) AESCULAPIUS, when rearranged letter-by-letter as "ACI-EULASSUP" where  U=YU and SS=Sh, and read phonetically as in Turkish, is the Turkish phrase "ACI EYULASHUP" (ACI IYILEShIP)  meaning "pain has stopped", "pain has healed".  Thus in this context, the name  AESCULAPIUS personifies "healing" of ailment through medical care.  Hence it is the "healing" aspect of the name.   


3) AESCULAPIUS, when rearranged letter-by-letter as "ILAC-UAPESSU", is the restructured form of the Turkish expression "ILAC YAPISHU" (ILAC YAPICU)  meaning "he who makes medicine" (medicine maker). Doctors make medicine and give medicine for their patients.  In this context, Aesculapius also personifies the "medicine maker" that is, the "pharmacist" (apothecary, druggist, chemist). This aspect of the personification is also given in the dictionary definition of the name.

Thus with these three Turkish expressions we have uncovered the three meanings that are attributed to the name AESCULAPIUS.  We have the same meanings in the name ASCLEPIUS but in a slightly different format in Turkish:

1)  ASCLEPIUS, rearranged as "SALEC-UPIS" is Turkish "SAGLIK YAPISI" (Saglik yapici) meaning "health maker" defining the "medicine man".

2)  ASCLEPIUS, rearranged as "ACI-EULSSP" is Turkish "ACI EYILEShIP" meaning "pain has become well" (healed)

3)  ASCLEPIUS, rearranged as "ILAC-UPESS" is Turkish "ILAÇ YAPISh" meaning "preparing drugs".

All of these Turkish source phrases have been combined into the name AESCULAPIUS (or ASCLEPIUS). It must be noted that these Turkish expressions do not refer to a real 'doctor' famed by such a name, but rather make general description or definition of a medicine man, healing and medicine maker . Hence "AESCULAPIUS" is a mythological personification of many concepts related to the "field of medicine" as practiced in the ancient Turanian world.  The Turkic names for these different concepts were composed into one name as seen from the various deciphering of the name.  As the "god of medicine" the name AESCULAPIUS is a personification of these three concepts composed in Turkish, that is, medicine man, healing and medicine - which are the indicated mythical attributions all embedded in one name.  

The question that comes to mind is: how come the Turkish language is involved with this so-called Greek and Latin name of AESCULAPIUS (or ASCLEPIUS)? The answer is that the concept represented by this name originally did not belong to the ancient Greeks or the Latins.  It belonged to the much older native Turanian peoples who were in all parts of Europe far before the Aryan (Arayan, gezginci) peoples arrived in Europe.  Turkish was the language of these ancient Turanians and the ancient Greeks, Latin and Semites all usurped that Turkish language and made languages for themselves by way of restructuring and disguising Turkish words and expressions.  


About the name "APOTHACARY"


Because of its relevance to the subject being discussed here, we should also inspect the name Apothecary.  The name"APOTHACARY" is the old name for a pharmacy and/or pharmacist.  It means: "1. a druggist, apharmacist; 2. a pharmacy or drug store". [10] 

When the term APOTHECARY is rearranged letter-by-letter as "ARH-PETAC-OY" where H=I, it is the restructured and disguised form of the Turkish expression "ARI PETEK OY" meaning "the house of bee- honeycomb" referring to an"APIARY" (ARI-YERI) where one finds bees and the bee-products. This reiterates the importance of "honey" in medicine as used in the ancient Turanian culture.  This indicates that ancient pharmacies were places where one could get a variety of "honey' based drugs and/or ointmets.  That is why the Turkish name "ACI BAL ÇICEGI", anagrammatized as a "Latin" appearing word "ASCLEPIADACEAE", gave its name to "AESCULAPIUS" and "ASCLEPIUS" the mythological doctor of the ancient world inspired from the "HONEYBEE". Ancient Turanian peoples called Pelasgians of the Thessaly area were expert "bee keepers" of the BALKANS.  In fact the term "BALKAN" is as old as the pyramids of the ancient Masar (deceptively called "Egypt").  The name BALKAN has the Turkish word "BAL" meaning "honey" embedded in it indicating that the area was inhabited by the "honey" producing and Turkish speaking Turanians. 

At this point perhaps we should also bring into the picture the Greek word for pharmacy and pharmacist. The greek word for "pharmacy" is given as "PHARMAKEUEIN" meaning "to administer medicine". [11] [note the concentration of four vowels side by side which is a clear indication that this word is not natural and that it has been anagrammatized from another source]. 

The term PHARMAKEUEIN, when rearranged letter-by-letter as "KEMUE-IAPAN-HR", where U=Y and H=I, is found to be the restructured and disguised form of the Turkish expression "KIMYA YAPAN YER" meaning "place where drugs are made" which is a "pharmacy", and additionally "KIMYA YAPAN ER" meaning "man who makes drugs" (man who prepares drugs) which describes the "pharmacist".  In fact even the English word "PARMACIST" is made up from the Turkish expression"KIMYA YAPARCIDI" meaning "he is one who prepares the drugs" which describes the profession of a "pharmacist", but in Turkish.


We should also note the Latin word "AESCULAPIUM" meaning "temple of Aesculapius". [12]  This word when rearranged as"ACI-PALSE-UUM" is a restructured form of the Turkish expression "ACI BALCI ÖYÜM" meaning "I am the house of bitter-honey maker".  This very much describes honey-bee apiary, or simply a "honey-bee hive" where "Toxic Honey"  (Tr. Deli Bal" or "Aci Bal") was produced. It also implies that in the ancient world there was honey bee farms that produced not only the "normal honey" but also the "toxic honey" for medicinal purposes. 



About the mythological daughters of "AESCULAPIUS"

The three daughters of AESCULAPIUS,  Meditrina, Hygeia, and Panacea, are also personifications of three principal concepts related to the health of man, and they are defined and composed in Turkish. 
They may be referred to as the "Three Principles of Health of the Ancient Turanian World".


The Greek name MEDITRINA, when rearranged letter-by-letter  as "DERT-IINMA", is Turkish expression "DERT YANMA"meaning "telling health problems to others" or "discussing health problems with others".  This not only reduces the stress but also increases the chance of getting medical help.  This must have been the source of the modern art or pseudo-science of psychiatry.  Ancient Turanians must have known the importance of "DERT YANMA" for the mental health of people.  They did not have highly-paid  "psychiatrists" but they had the family members and the village community to discuss their problems with as they closely knew each other.  By telling their problems to their kins and/or friends, they would get rid of their built up stress. 

Here I want to point out that the English word PSYCHIATRY, when rearranged letter-by-letter as "PASH-ICYTYR"where Y=U, is the restructured and disguised Turkish expression "BASH IÇUTUR" (Bas içidir) meaning "it is the inside of the head" which is the subject of this field of medicine.  Thus the source for this word is not Greek or Latin but rather an usurped Turkish expression. 

b)    HYGEIA

The goddess HYGEIA (Hygieia) is said to be the personification of "health".  It is supposedly from "Greek" term "HYGIEIA" meaning "health".  Its adjective form is given as "HYGEIAN" which is also known as "hygiene". When the name "HYGEIAN" is rearranged letter-by-letter as  "EYI-HGAN" where the bogus letter H is an I, it is the restructured and disguised form of the Turkish expression "EYI YIKAN" (iyi yikan, iyi yikanma, kendini temiz tutma) meaning "wash yourself well", in other words, "keep yourself clean". Similarly the name HYGIEIA, rearranged as "EYI-HIGA" is the Turkish phrase "EYI YIKA" meaning "wash well" which is one of the main principles of being clean and hygienic in the medical world. Of course this is also one of the most important aspect of good health and good medicine in having good health.  Thus this so-called Greek health goddess HYGEIA is actually a personification of an ancient Turkic advice "IYI YIKAN" or "EYI YIKA" that has come to this day.  The world renowned "Turkish baths" (Türk hamamlari) are verification of this ancient Turanian health rule. 


We have a definition of PANACEA from Url:


  A universal remedy, a cure-all.

The word "panacea" comes from the name of Panaceia, the daughter of Asklepios, the Greek god of medicine (whose staff with entwined snake is the symbol of medicine). Asklepios (known to the Romans as Aesculapius) had a number of children including not only Panaceia but also Hygieia, the goddess of health (from whose name we have the word "hygiene").Panaceia also followed her father into medicine and became the patroness of clinical medicine.

The ancients sought (but never found) a universal remedy, a panacea. (In Greek, "pan", all + "akos", remedy = remedy-all.)".

The definition of the word PANACEA is also given as: "a plant, supposed to heal all diseases; panacea, heal-all". [13] 

I do not believe the correctness of the etymology as given above in Greek.  Both the Greek and the Latin words are anagrams of a Turkish expression. Hence the main source of the word is missing or hidden away so that it is not visible.  Since it is relevant to the subject in hand, I also want to note that the English term "CURE" is the restructured Turkish word "ÇARE" meaning "cure".  So "cure" is also a word that has been restructured from a Turkish word.

In the culture of the ancients, the PANACEA was not a pain killer such as any medication that is used to subdue a physical pain. The name PANACEA is a personification of a concept just like the other two sister names were personifications of concepts related with the health of people. Actually it embodies two important Turkish concepts:

1)    When the word PANACEA is rearranged letter-by-letter as "ANA-PACE", it is the Turkish expression "ANA BACI"meaning "mother and sister" who cares most compassionately to a "son and brother".  The implication of this is that "when I am sick, be close to me, be patient with me, be understanding of my troubles like my mother and my sister would do. I am already in trouble physically, at least do not hurt me mentally".  This reminds me of the Turkish saying: "AGLARSA ANAM AGLAR GERISI YALAN AGLAR" meaning "no one cries (cares) like my mother cries (cares)". This brings in the concept of "NURSE" in medical profession into the picture, that is, in Turkish "HEMSHIRE" meaning "sister and nurse",  "EBE" (ABA) meaning "young girl, sister, mother and nurse",  "ABLA" meaning "elder sister and nurse" and "ANA" meaning "mother".  These are the angels of the hospitals who capture the heart and mind of the patients with their kindness, understanding and compassion. Of course being kind and caring to a patient is a most important and most likely a universal cure to patients. This we see in a second meaning of the word PANACEA I give below.

2)  When the name PANACEA is rearranged letter-by-letter as "ACE-PANA", it is the restructured form of Turkish expression "ACI BANA" meaning "show pity for me" or "be compassionate to me". This is exactly what I tried to explain above in 1).  

Thus, I would say, PANACEA is the personification of human "COMPASSION", that is, Turkish "ACI BANA, ANA BACI"and those human beings who most favorably demonstrate this at home as "mother and sister" (ana-baci) and in the hospitals as  "nurses" (hemsire, ebe).   Their compassion reduces the pain a health problem causes for anyone. Listening to someone's ails with patience, understanding and compassion is a kind of "cure-all" remedy.  


The Encyclopedia Britannica [14] informs us that some of the medication made from the roots of milkweed are used as diaphoretic, diaretic and expectorant. Now let us understand the structure of these medical terms which are so important from the Turkish point of view. 

1)  DIAPHORETIC  (an agent that promotes perspiration):  when the name is rearranged letter by letter as "TER-IAPHCIDO", it is found to be the restructured and disguised form of the Turkish expression "TER YAPICIDU" meaning "it makes perspiration" which is exactly the meaning of the word so-called  DIAPHORETIC.  Evidently source for the word is not Greek nor Latin.  Its source is Turkish language. 

2)  DIARETIC  (exciting discharge of urine; substance with this property, [from Latin "diureticus", from Greek "diouretikos" from "diourein" to urinate] [15] and [16] "an agent  that promotes urination":

First the supposedly "Greek" word DIOURETIKOS, when rearranged letter-by-letter as    "SIDIK-URETO-O", is the restructured and disguised form of the Turkish expression "SIDIK ÜRETÜ O" meaning "it generates urine", "it promotes urine".  This is exactly the meaning attributed to this medicine.

Secondly the "Latin" word DIURETICUS, when rearranged letter-by-letter as "SIDIK-URETO", is the restructured and disguised form of the Turkish expression "SIDIK ÜRETÜ" meaning "it generates urine", "it promotes urine".  This is exactly the meaning attributed to this medicine. In these restructuring, Turkish word "SIDIK means "urine" and "ÜRETÜ" means "it generates" and "O" means "it". 

3)  EXPECTORANT (an agent that promotes the discharge or expulsion of mucus from the respiratory tract). [17]

The word EXPECTORANT, when rearranged letter-by-letter as "TOCEREK-ATPSN", is the restructured and disguised form of the Turkish expression "TÜKÜRÜK ATIPSAN" meaning "you have discharged spit" Turkish word "TÜKÜRÜK" means "spit, mucus" and "ATIPSAN" means "you have discharged", "you have thrown out". This is seen even better with the English word EXPECTORATION.  When this word is rearranged as "TOCEREK-ATIPSON", it is the form of the Turkish expression"TÜKÜRÜK ATIPSAN". Hence, the source for all of these words is Turkish. 




In this study, I have shown that: the ancient Greek name "ASCLEPIUS" and its Latin form "AESCULAPIUS", known as the name of the ancient Greek "god of medicine", are personifications of multiple concepts related to the field of medicine as known and performed in the ancient world.

ASCLEPIUS (or AESCULAPIUS) represents multiple concepts that were originally composed in Turkish and these multiple meanings have been combined into one non-Turkish word.


1.  The mythical name AESCULAPIUS personifies:

1.1  The "doctor" (i.e., the medicine man).  In this case, the name is restructured from Turkish expression "SALIK YAPICU"meaning "he who makes health well (right)" which describes a medical man, that is, a doctor.

1.2  The "healing" of pain. In this case, the name is restructured from Turkish expression "ACI EYULASUP" meaning "pain has stopped", "pain has healed".  

1.3  The "pharmacist" (apothecary, druggist, chemist). In this case, the name is restructured from Turkish expression "ILAC YAPICU" meaning "he who makes medicine" (medicine maker).

2.  Additionally the mythical name ASCLEPIUS or AESCULAPIUS personifies the "honey bee" and also the family of plants known by the name ASCLEPIADACEAE (Milkweed "Asclepia") that provide a toxic milky juice.  These names are linguistically related to the name ASCLEPIADACEAE which is a restructured form of the Turkish expression "ADI ACI BAL ÇIÇEGI" meaning "its name is bitter-honey flower". Both "honey" (Tr. "BAL") and "toxic honey" (Tr. "DELI BAL" or "ACI BAL") and the toxic juice from the Milkweed family of plants have been used in the medical field since ancient times. They are still being used extensively in medicine.


3.  The three mythological daugters of Asclepius:

3.1  The goddess MEDITRINA, from Turkish "DERT YANMA" personifies the ancient principle of "telling health problems to others" and is probably a forerunner of the modern art or pseudo-science of psychiatry.

3.2  The goddess HYGEIA (Hygieia), from Turkish  "EYI YIKAN" (iyi yikan, iyi yika) personifies the ancient principle of "well washing and cleanliness" also known as  "hygiene".

3.3  The goddess PANACEA, from Turkish "BANA ACI" meaning "be compassinate" like "my mother and sister" (Turkish "ANA BACI"), is the personification of human "COMPASSION" needed to be shown towards sick people.  Compassion probably was the third ancient principle used in the treatment of sick people. This is best done at home by the "mother and sister" (ana-baci) and in the hospitals by the  "nurses" (hemsire, ebe, aba).  Listening to someone's ails with patience, understanding and compassion is a kind of "cure-all" remedy. 

4.  The medical logo of  a "snake entwined around a staff" is the stylized version of the "needle and thread" used by the medical profession in closing open wounds.

5.  The second medical symbol in which two snakes are entwined around a staff with wings is a personification of not only the "needle and thread" of the medical profession, but also a personification of the "honey bee" who has been not only an inspiration to human progress and development by its social orderliness, but also most helpful to the ancient medical field by providing all kinds of honey that was used as medicine and food.

These findings indicate how wide the use of honey, toxic honey and the medications obtained form the milkweed family of plants were in the ancient Turanian world.

6.  Finding the Turkish language at the source of the name AESCULAPIUS and other names mythologically related to it are verifications that these concepts did not originally belong to Greeks or the Latins.  Instead, they all belonged to the ancient Turkish speaking Turanian world. The ancient Greeks and Latins usurped these Turkish descriptive expressions,  anagrammatized and encrypted them in order to come up with languages that are now known as Greek and Latin.  The source etymologies attributed to Greek and Latin are not truthful because the source of these names is in the Turkish language. 

7. Finding Turkish as the source for medical terms such as DIAPHORETIC from Turkish "TER YAPICIDU" and DIARETIC (Greek DIOURETIKOS, Latin DIURETICUS) from Turkish "SIDIK ÜRETÜ O" is a clear indication that many Greek, Latin and Indo-European looking words used in the medical field are not Indo-European at all.  They are all restructured Turkish expressions defining the concept the name is coined for.  This shows that a linguistic plagiarism and cultural dishonesty have been going on in the so-called Indo-European languages.


8.  Similarly, finding the Turkish language as the source for "Latin sounding" scientific names, such as ASCLEPIADACEAEfrom Turkish "ADI ACI BAL ÇIÇEGI" and POLYGALACEAE from Turkish "ACI BAL GÜLÜ", puts the credibility and authenticity of these names as coming from "Latin" into serious disrepute and not believable anymore.

9.  The fact that we find these Turkish expressions in these ancient Greek and Latin words indicates that the Turkish language was the native tongue of the native Turanian peoples of ancient Asia, North Africa and Europe.  It also indicates that these native Turanians were very advanced not only linguistically but also in the field of medicine. The ancient Greeks, Latins and Semites learned and took over all of the Turanian knowledge base that is being falsely attributed to them.

10.  The use of vaguely defined mythological stories that are mostly in riddle form has been a way of covering up  the fact that they have been usurped from the native Turanians and the original stories did not belong to the European Aryans (Arayans). Etymological dictionaries also are a form of mythology as they go as far back as "Greek' and "Latin" as a "source" yet they ignore the fact that there was a fully mature and flourishing Turanian civilization that antedated the Latins, Greeks and Semites by thousands of years. The etymological dictionaries are clearly ignoring the fact that the Indo-European languages were manufactured from Turkish.

11.   With these new insights, not only is the authenticity of both Greek and Latin languages is put into serious doubt, but also, the scientific names of plants and medical terms are shown to be deceptive with misleading or incorrect etymologies.


[1]        Polat Kaya: 
[2]        New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, 1984, JOHN 1-1.
[3]        Divry's English-Greek and Greek-English Dictionary, 1988, p. 10.
[4]        The Encyclopedia Britannica (EB), 1963, Vol. 15, p. 489.
[5]        Random House Dictionary, 1966, p. 644.
[6]        Jonathon Ott, "The Delphic Bee: Bees and toxic honeys as pointers to psychoactive and other     
            medicinal plants",
[7]        The Encyclopedia Britannica, 1963, Vol. 15, p. 489.
[8]        The Encyclopedia Britannica, 1963, Vol. 15, p. 489.
[9]        Random House Dictionary, 1966,  p. 24.
[10]      Random House Dictionary, 1966, p. 71. 
[11]      Webster's Dictionary, 1947, p. 744.
[12]       Cassell's Latin-English Dictionary, 1987, p. 11.
[13]       Cassell's Latin-English Dictionary, 1987, p. 158.  
[14]        EB, 1963, Vol. 15, p. 489.
[15]       Webstre's Dictionary, 1991, p. 369.
[16]       Webster's Dictionary, paperback issue, 1991, p. 125.
[17]       Webstre's Dictionary, 1991, p. 436.


Best wishes to all,

Polat Kaya

The reader is cordially invited to visit Polat Kaya Library for other
writings at URL:


Erhan Berber wrote:

Anne adaylarinda hamilelik sirasinda alkol kullanimi ve ergenlik cagindaki genclerin cinsel yolla bulasan hastaliklardan korunmasi ile ilgili iki haber geciyorum.  Yayinlandigi dergiye uye olmadigim icin ilk haberle ilgili makalenin aslina ulasamadim.  Ikinci haberi NPR (ABD'den yayin yapmakta olan National Public Radio) arsivinden dinleyebilirsiniz.

Son olarak da, TIP armasinin aciklamasi ile ilgili, BMJ'nin ogrenci edisyonunda yayinlanmis olan bir makaleyi paylasiyorum.  Tarih, mitoloji ve ve etmoloji ile ilgilenenler yaziyi ilginc bulabilir.  Turkiye'de de, bahsi gecen armanin bir versiyonunun kullaniliyor olmasina karsilik, bu armanin anlaminin (birbirini sokmaya calisan icice gecmis iki yilan), tiptaki mudahelelerin ari olmadiginin etki-yan etkinin, hayat-olum'un arasinda bir celiski, bir savas ve bir denge oldugunun anlatilmasi olarak ogrenmistim.  Aklimi basima toplayip, zaman da bulabilirsem bu yaziya ayni dergide cevap vermek istiyorum.  Konuyla ilgili bilgisi olanlar benimle paylasirlarsa sevinirim.

Sahi, yurdumuzda kullanilmakta olan TIP armamizin gercek tarihini bilen var mi?



Pub Medic:  Impress your mates at the pub
with your startling repertoire of esoteric medical knowledge.

Snakes and staffs

Two different symbols combining snakes and staffs have been used to represent the medical profession. Laxmi Vilas Ghimire looks at the history of these symbols and asks which is better

If you ask which symbol represents medicine and doctors, some people might say a white coat, others might say a stethoscope, but some may say that it is a snake entwining a staff. However, two different symbols that feature snakes and staffs are used to represent medicine. One is the aesculapian symbol, which has a snake rolled around the staff of Aesculapius. The other has two snakes entwined around the caduceus (staff) of Hermes with a pair of wings on the top called, unsurprisingly, the Caduceus of Hermes. But why are these used to represent the medical profession, and which one is a more accurate representative?

Aesculapius and his medical sign

Aesculapius is known as the Greek god of medicine and had a complicated start to life. He was the son of Apollo and the nymph Coronis. Although Apollo loved Coronis and impregnated her, Coronis fell in love with someone else and wanted to marry him. To avoid Apollo's humiliation, Artemis, the sister of Apollo, killed Coronis. But her unborn child was delivered from her dead body and named Aesculapius. Apollo entrusted the child's education to the centaur, Chiron, who taught Aesculapius the art of healing.



Later Aesculapius became skilled in surgery and in the use of medicinal plants, which could even restore the dead to life. But Aesculapius's ending was not much nicer than his mother's. Infuriated with what Aesculapius was doing, Hades, ruler of the dead, complained to Zeus. Zeus felt that immortality of the gods was threatened and killed Aesculapius with a thunderbolt. Aesculapius had three daughters Meditrina, Hygeia, and Panacea, who became the symbols of medicine, hygiene, and healing.

Between 1200 BC and AD 500, Aesculapius was the major focus of Greco-Roman medical tradition.1 He was deified and worshipped, and his traditions of care spread throughout most of the Roman Empire. Aesculapius was also described in Homer's writings as a mortal physician, who performed heroic acts of healing on the battlefield. Hippocrates, the father of medicine proudly claimed descent from Aesculapius.

But what did the snake and the staff have to do with medicine? A popular tale in Greek mythology is that while Aesculapius was examining a man, Glaukes, who Zeus had struck with a thunderbolt, a snake came crawling into the room. Aesculapius killed the snake with his staff. Another snake crawled into the room and placed herbs in the mouth of the dead serpent and restored it to life. Aesculapius then used the same herb to revive Glaukes.

Caduceus of Hermes

According to Greek mythology, Hermes, the messenger of the gods (the Roman equivalent is Mercury), was the son of Maia and Zeus. One tale says that Hermes threw his staff between two fighting snakes and stopped their battle, at which point they entwined themselves around the wand. Confusingly, some medical organisations have adopted this symbol.

Hermes is regarded as the deity of wealth and commerce, areas that are famous for dishonesty, however. Hermes was also a reputed crafty and promiscuous trickster. It was due to this that he was honoured as the patron of thieves. Moreover, his duty was to lead the souls of the dead to the underworld, which perhaps contrasts to the deeds done by healers or helpers. However, one tale about Hermes links him up to Aesculapius. According to Greek myth, when Artemis killed Coronis, Hermes worked as obstetrician to deliver Aesculapius from her womb.

The real one

Although it seems like Aesculapius should be the real symbol of medicine, the Caduceus of Hermes is still sometimes used to represent the profession. A few reasons have been postulated for this. In the 19th century, a medical publishing house used the symbol of caduceus as their insignia because they thought it symbolised their role as a messenger and a businessman. Another stems from the United States; the US Army Medical Corps adopted the caduceus as their collar badge in 1902 and it soon caught on.2

The staff of Aesculapius represents strength and solidity, and also refers to unwavering ethics of doctors. The snake symbolises the power to create life. It also represents the snake's unique ability to shed old skin and become young and healthy again. Doctors in some countries still take the Hippocratic oath: "I swear by Apollo physician and Aesculapius and Hygeia and Panacea and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witness"3This probably shows that the aesculapian staff is the correct symbol of medicine and not the Caduceus of Hermes after all. 

Laxmi Vilas Ghimire, fifth year medical student, Institute of Medicine, Maharajgunk Campus, Kathmandu, Nepal
Email: Vilas_laxmi@...

studentBMJ 2005;13:221-264 June ISSN 0966-6494


  1. Wilcox RA, Whitham EM. The symbol of modern medicine: why one snake is more than two. Ann Intern Med< 2003;138:673-7.
  2. Friedlander WJ. The golden wand of medicine: a history of the caduceus symbol in medicine. New York: Greenwood, 1992.
  3. Von Staden H. "In a pure and holy way": personal and professional conduct in the Hippocratic oath? J Hist Med Allied Sci 1996;51:404-37.