Doctors' symbol: A staff or rod with a snake curled around it. This is the Rod of Aesculapius (also called Asklepios), the ancient mythical god of medicine. Asklepios may have been a real person who was renowned for his gentle remedies and humane treatment of the mentally ill. 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.
A similar symbol, the caduceus, was the staff of the Greek god Hermes. The caduceus is usually depicted with two snakes and a pair of wings and is often used mistakenly as a symbol of medicine.