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Bowl of Hygieia

Bowl of Hygieia is one of the symbols of pharmacy. Hygieia was the Greek goddess of health.


Symbolic meaning of The Bowl Of Hygieia

Many statues and monuments depict the Greek goddess Hygieia holding a patera (medicine bowl) with a snake tamely coiling around her and about to eat from the bowl. Some view the bowl of hygieia and her snake as a symbol of living in harmony with mother earth. The snake may symbolise the patient and that they choose whether or not to partake of the medicine to help themself. Hence taking the control over their own well-being by making correct choices. The snake that is depicted about to partake from the bowl is also linked to ancient beliefs that snakes have wisdom and healing. The ancient idea was that the dead went into the ground to dwell in Hades a dreamlike land neither good nor bad. Snakes had contact with the dead and might even have carried the souls of the ancestors returning to help the living. Hence the idea was, that snakes carried great wisdom as they carried the souls of wise ancestors[1]

Usage of Symbol by Pharmaceutical Associations

The bowl, cup, or wine glass of Hygieia with a snake coiled around it has become the symbol of many pharmaceutical associations world wide. The bowl of Hygieia has become the symbol of the American Pharmacists Association depicted as a medicine bowl, the Canadian Pharmacist Association, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia as well as many other pharmaceutical associations around the world. The Australian Pharmaceutical Association uses a version of the cup that is bordered by two snakes, which roughly describe the shape of a caduceus. The International Pharmaceutical Federation managed to devise a logo of Hygieia's bowl composed of the letters FIP [1].

Bowl Of Hygieia Award

The bowl of hygieia was the first recognition program of its kind to be given in America. The award is presented to one individual from each of the 50 states at the conclusion of each states Pharmaceutical Association meeting, as well as to one individual from the districts of Columbia and Puerto Rico as well each of the ten provinces of Canada.Wyeth. The award is more about recognition and good record of service. It is also a vehicle to encourage pharmacists to excel beyond offering standard job duties by offering excellent service to their communities.




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