Coat of arms symbols
The serpent of Moses on a tau cross denotes healing, the shield divided vertically, is half for surgery and half being green for medicine.
Saints Cosmas and Damian c.225-278
The supporters are the patron saints of the ancient Barber-Surgeons who have been associated with Medicine and Surgery since early Christian times throughout Europe.
They are wearing doctors' robes as shown in an old stained glass window in the Medici Chapel of the church of Santa Croce, Florence.
One of them holds a Physician's drug jar, and the other a Surgeon's knife.
They were twin brothers of Arabian parentage who practised as physicians at Aegaea in Cilicia. It is said they would offer medical aid without charge in order to bring converts to Christianity.
Diocletian condemned them to death but angels intervened to foil attempts to drown, burn at the stake or stone to death the twins who were finally beheaded,a scene memorialised in a Fifteenth Century painting by Fra Angelico.
The motto is the original one of the RSM's pre-cursor society, the Medico-Chirurgical Society - "Non est vivere sed valere vita".
It has been freely translated as "It is important to enjoy good health to live fully" and comes from the Martial's Epigrammata, Lib. vl, Ep. IXX.
The crest "All Heal"
The official description, as recorded in the Council Minutes of November 1927, is 'three sprigs of the herb all-heal proper'.
The entry for all-heal in The Complete Herbal by Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1654) includes the following:
"Government and Virtues
It is under the dominion of Mars, hot biting, choleric: and remedies what evil Mars inflicts the body of a man with, by sympathy, as vipers flesh attracts poison, and the loadstone iron.
It kills the worm, helps the gout, cramp and convulsions, provokes urine, and helps all joint-aches.
It helps all cold griefs of the head, the vertigo, falling sickness, the lethargy, the wind cholick, obstructions of the liver and spleen, stone in the kidneys and bladder.
It provokes the term, expels the dead birth.
It is excellent good for the griefs of the sinews, itch, stone and toothache, the biting of mad dogs and venomous beasts, and purgeth choler very gently."
According to the Royal Horticultural Society, there are three types of all-heal: valeriana officinalis; prunella vulgaris; and stachys palustris.
The RSM's crest was reckoned for many years to be prunella vulgaris, but more recently research has determined that the intention was that stachys palustris should be the variety represented on the Coat of Arms.