What does Rx mean?

Why Rx?

Over hundreds of years it has been a tradition for a doctor to begin each prescription with the symbol “Rx”. Where did this come from?  Well, it is usually thought to have been derived from the Latin word, recipe, (the imperitive form of recipere) which in Latin means “to take”.

An alternative explanation for the original significance and origin of “Rx”, is that it may be derived from the astrological sign for Jupiter which apparently was inserted on prescriptions so that god’s blessing would be placed on the drug to assist the patient to recover!

There are other theories about the origin of “Rx”. It is noted to be similar to the symbol for the “Eye of Horus” as well as the ancient symbol for Jupiter. Both of these gods were often invoked for protection in medical situations.

“Rx” is actually “R” (for recipe) followed by a slanting “t” (for thou) translating to “Something for you to take!!” The slanting “t” actually looks like an “x”, therefore it is known as “Rx” – the symbol for a prescription.

“I will  prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone.” Translated excerpt from the Hippocratic Oath. Hippocrates. (Greek Physician,  born circa 460BC )