Pharmaceutical Logos

The bowl of Hygieia



In Greek as well as Roman mythology, Hygieia (also Hygiea or Hygeia) was one of the Aeclepiadae; the sons and daughters of the god of medicine, Asclepius, and the goddess of healing, Epione. She was the goddess/personification of health cleanliness and hygiene.

Hygieia as well as her four sisters each performed a facet of Apoll’s art: Hygieia (“Hygiene” the goddess/personification of health, cleanliness, and sanitation); Panacea (the goddess of Universal remedy); Iaso (the goddess of recuperation from illness); Aceso (the goddess of the healing process); and Aglia (the goddess of beauty, splendor, glory, magnificence, and adornment).

Hygieia also played an important part in her father’s cult. While her father was more directly associated with healing, she was associated with healing, she was associated with the prevention of sickness and the continuation of good health. Her name is the source of the word “hygiene”.

Hygieia was imported by the Romans as the goddess Valetudo, the goddess of personal health, but in time she started to be increasingly identified with the ancient Italian goddess of social welfare, Salus.

The bowl

Cup means drug. Snake means health. By combining them we get a healthy drugs.

  • Snake: Products deriving from the bodies of snakes were known to have medicinal properties in ancient times, and in ancient Greece, at least some were aware that snake venom that might be fatal if it entered the bloodstream could often be imbibed. Snake venom appears to have been ‘prescribed’ in some cases as a form of therapy.
  • Cup: Cup represents the ‘bowl’ that originally appear in Hygeia depiction. Some people said it represents medicinal potions.


It is symbol meaning “prescription”. It is sometimes transliterated as “Rx” or just “Rx”. This symbol originated in medieval manuscripts as an abbreviation of the Latin verb recipe, the imperative form of recipere, “to take” or “take thus”.

The bowl of Hygieia is a common symbol on signs outside of pharmacies in Europe. A mortar and pestle is a more common symbol in the United States.


Typical pharmacy logos featuring the bowl of Hygieia from different countries,


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