The Caduceus and Its Origins

In this article we will look at the origin of caduceus (magical staff) and the influence of the early Greeks on both the allopathic and naturopathic medicine.

The caduceus is an ancient symbol of medicine which has an unclear and mysterious significance. It is believed to represent both healing and disease. Its origin is traced back to the Egyptian god of knowledge called Troth which was transferred by the Greeks to Hermes. From Hermes the caduceus spread to Aesculapius who was a god of healing. It also made an appearance in the Israeli literature.  (Wood, 2005, pg ix)

The symbol of caduceus represents the core of the human condition which includes the leaves and the serpent. The natural power represented by the leaves is the natural flow of life and the serpent means the questioning of the natural flow. In order to become complete, these two opposite factors are needed to be balanced. In the area of healing, a patient must look for external factors to allow his internal factors to do their job. This is considered as magic, and is an over-view of the system of both allopathic and naturopathic medicine. (Wood, 2005, pg x).


Wood, M. (2005). Vitalism: The History of Herbalism, Homeopathy and Flower Essences. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.

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