Helix pomatia (Helx-p.) = Roman Snail/= Weinbergschnecke/= Escargot

 

[Todd Rowe]

Quelle: Remedia.at: Helix pomatia. Ausgangssubstanz: das lebend zerquetschte Tier.

Helix tosta was chosen as a remedy to examine the healing qualities of the mollusc family that have never been well explored. Snails are well known for their healing properties and serve as rich

archetypes in the mythic imagination.

 

Themes: heaviness (like a load or as from lead/experienced on the head and on the back) or armor/slow

Feeling weighed down emotionally

The following general themes were noted through the proving:

    * Anger at being treated badly (quite strong and seen in many of the provers. described it as feeling “angry at being used and abused”. As “red hot” anger. This anger could be channelled into

rage and violence). [not feeling appreciated and anger at injustice and abuse in the world (men)]. Response to the anger was a desire to be isolated and left alone. Sudden

    * Animals

    * Babies/Pregnancy

    * Buildings

    * Courage/Confidence

    * Moistness/Slime

    * Money

    * Sexuality increased

    * Slowness

    * Weighed down/back pack

    * Youth

 

    * Abusive         * Cursing                * Rage            * Violence

    * Defiant

    * Indignation    * Irritability

    * Malicious      * Reproaches others

    * Rude   * Sudden anger

 

Buildings: many dreams of buildings and purchasing or selling buildings. Windows in the buildings were a particular theme.

Courageous/Confidence: described increased confidence and even courageousness during the proving.

The self confidence and self assuredness at its strongest became egotism, arrogance and haughtiness. Anger and confrontation was often coupled with this.

Moistness/Slime: desired cold damp weather. This is in keeping with the preferential habitat of the Roman Snail. In addition, the provers experienced mucous and slime on their skin.

Stool feels slimy.

Money: Wealth and purchasing of expensive things was a prominent theme. Persistent thoughts about money. This is in keeping with the high relative cost of escargot.

Sexuality: fairly strong throughout the proving. Many provers had sexual dreams. There was also a theme of rape and sexual violation, with an accompanying aggressive violent refusal to let this occur. Themes of dishonesty, secrecy and ulterior motives often accompanied the sexuality.

Romantic longing was also noted.

Slowness: Two provers described hearing a song in their head during the proving. One described the song “Slow Down You Move Too Fast” and the other “Slow Down Sister”. Slow flowy drifting feeling

Weighed Down/Back Pack

Youth

Several provers described feeling and appearing younger during the proving. Wrinkles disappeared as well.

 

Mollusc.. Themes and Land Snail themes, were correlated with this proving

Animal. Themes

Animal imagery was very strong in this proving.

Several provers described an internal split.

Miasm

Two separate miasms arose during the proving: sycotic and tubercular. The sycotic miasmatic characteristics predominated. However it is difficult to make a miasmatic determination based on a single proving. One prover described the tubercular energy as: Chilliness/Suddenness (to the general complaints). This was seen in both physical and emotional symptoms.

Toasted Remedies

Right Sidedness

Desires/</> for wet cold weather

 

I have two voices in my head; one that is impatient and the one that is amazed and mellow

I feel this is a tubercular remedy; destructive, impatience, reckless, grass is greener over there but I can’t get there; the feeling is that I have to make this huge last ditch effort in order to live anymore;

like if I don’t get to the gym and put myself first I am done.

Physical areas most targeted by this remedy included:

Vertigo: was sudden and fleeting. It was accompanied by nausea and most often occurred on waking.

Head: symptoms were characterized by severe migraine headaches which were noted by two provers. Pains were most often pressing like a cap or helmet.

Sinus headaches that were frontal were also noted. A sensation of an iron band around the forehead was noted.

Eye: discharge that was thick and white was noted by three provers. There was also eye gum. Pains tended to be burning and pressing. Twitching of the eyelids, < r. was noted.

Ringing of the ears was seen in two provers  one had it accompany vertigo. Itching of the ears and a stopped sensation were also seen.

Nose: Nasal obstruction was seen in 4 provers. < in the morning + sneezing and clear discharge that was < in the morning. Nasal dryness was noted.

Face: characterized by acne. Skin was oily.

Three provers noted chancre sores of the mouth. Itching and pains in the gums were noted.

Dryness of the throat with choking and constricting sensations were noted. Drinking not > the dryness. A scratchy throat was described in 3 provers < in the morning/swallowing. Significant swelling

and induration was seen of the uvula and tonsils in one provers which was relatively painless.

Generally appetite increased during the proving. This caused weight gain and a craving for carbohydrates and sweets. Chronic gall bladder pains were cured in one prover and there was an affinity

for burning night time pains in the liver. Nausea was quite strong without much vomiting. Heartburn and eructations were also seen.

A general tendency towards constipation of the rectum was seen. Two provers had bloody stools. Slimy, mucousy stools also noted.

Sexual desire was quite high. Profuse menses with painful menstrual cramps was noted.

Hoarseness was seen in two provers.

Difficult respiration was also seen in two provers.

Cough tended to be dry, short and at night. No hemoptysis was seen, although this was noted as a symptom of the remedy. Oppression of the chest was quite strong.

Breathing was described by several provers as difficult. The cough typically was dry and deep.  + heaviness in chest. Anginalike symptoms were noted.

Two provers noted injuries to the back from lifting. This was most often dorsal and associated with heaviness and tension.

Cramps of the calves of the extremities were seen in two provers. Nail problems were strong. Several provers lost toe nails and cracking of the nails was common.

Sleep was restless and difficult. There was particularly waking from 2 - 4 h. Falling asleep was particularly a problem.

The skin was moist and smooth. One prover described her skin as if ‘covered in slime’.

DD.: Helix pomatia can be compared to other Molluscae. (Calc. Sep. Urolophus halleri. Spong.) Calc-f. Caus. Spong. Tub. Med.

 

Repertory:

Mind: Abrupt

Abusive, Insulting  when opposed/ailments from abuse

Anger  Tendency to (violent/takes everything in bad part/sudden)

Anxiety (of conscience/on waking)

Appearance  focused on

Audacity

Benevolence

Careful

Cautious

Censorious

Cheerfulness, tendency to

Company aversed to

Comprehension, Easy

Concentration difficult (on waking)

Confidence increased

Courageous

Cursing

Delusion  being abused/is not appreciated/“As if wearing a back pack“/breasts feel smaller/eyes feel darker and smaller/hair feels longer/is covered in dust/is younger

Defiant

Destructiveness

Discontented

Dreams  Amorous/animals/buildings/courageous/homeopathic medicines/money/remembered/travels/vivid/“As if in a dream“

Dwells on past disagreeable occurrences

Egotism

Estranged from society

Orientation increased

Euphoria

Excitement

Fearless

Forsaken

Grief

Haughty

Hurry

Impatience (with stool)

Impulsive

Indifference, Apathy to eating

Indignation

Industrious

Injustice unsupportable

Intuitive

Irritable

Lascivious/lustful

Laughing immoderately

Laughing in sleep

Malicious/mischievous

Mistakes  im time/in words

Mood  changeable, variable

Rage

Reproaches Others

Restless

Rude

Sad (over past/finished events)

Secretive

Selfish

Sensitive to  clothing/colors/noise/odors

Sentimental

Sleep, during  laughing/tossing about/shrieking

Suspicious

Sympathy/unsympathetic

Thoughts  Money/of the past/rapid/quick/sexual

Tranquility

Unfeeling, hard hearted

Violent

Weeping

Vertigo: in general

Night

Moving the head backwards

Nausea with

On waking/< on rising from bed

Sudden

Head: „As if constricted in an armor“/“As if constricted from (iron) band or hoop“

Eruptions in margin of hair

„As if hat“

Heaviness [in forehead (in frontal sinuses)/from headache]

Itching on scalp

Pain [in forehead/in temple/< wrapping head/< pressure/migraine/sudden/cutting/darting/stabbing/pressing („As from a cap“)/pulsating/throbbing /“Like electric current“]

Skull „As if a cap“

Wens

Eyes: Discharge (thick/white)

Discolorated: red

Gum

Pain  burning/pressing

Photophobia

Twitching lids (r.)

Vision: Blurred/flickering

Ears: Eruptions, pimples behind ears

Itching (morning)

Noises in general (l. to r./at night/stooping/ringing/+ vertigo)

Pain [at night/inside/in meatus/on touch/extending jaw/boring/pressing/pulsating/throbbing]

„As if stopped“ morning

Nose: Coryza

Desquamation

Discharge  morning/clear/green

Dry

Itching

Obstructed (r./morning)

Pain in tip

Sinuses, Complaints of

Sneezing (morning)

Tingling

Face: Discolorated  red [spot (cheeks)]

Eruptions  acne/on chin/pustule

Greasy

Heat

Pain  Pressing

Mouth: Apthae

Biting cheek talking or chewing

Coated palate

Cold breath

Dry (night/and thirstless)

„As if hair“ on tongue

Itching on palate

Palate covered with a false membrane

Pain in  gums/in palate/burning

Taste: offensive

Teeth: Crumbling

Enamel deficient

Looseness of

Throat: Apthae

Choking, constricting

Discolorated (dark) red

Dry (at night/not > drinking)

Emotions felt in

Inflamed

Irritated

„As if lump, plug“

Pain (waking/on swallowing/burning)

Scraping

Swollen (tonsils/uvula)

External Neck: swollen cervical glands

Stomach: Appetite  diminished/easy satiety/increased (morning)/insatiable/ravenous, canine, excessive

Distensed („As if it would burst“/after eating)

Eructations (after eating)

Fullness

Heartburn (night)

Nausea (morning/night/< odors)/Vomiting

Noises  gurgling

Pain [from emotions/burning (at night)]

Retching

Thirst/thirstless

Abdomen: Cold

Hard

Inflamed gallbladder

Pain  in gallbladder/liver/burning/cramping (at night/during menses)

Tension in hypochondria (l.)

Rectum: Constipation

Diarrhea (during headache)

Hemorrhoid

Stool: like balls/bloody/frequent/long, narrow/mucous, slimy/hard pieces

Urine: Odorless/scanty/watery

Female organs: Irritation

Leucorrhea brown

Menses  clotted/late profuse

Pain  cramping during menses

Sexual desire increased

Male organs: Pain  stitching in penis/scrotum

Sexual desire increased

Larynx and Trachea: „As if larynx obstructed“

Oppression

Speech and Voice: hoarse

Respiration: Difficult (at night/ascending)

Snoring

Cough: Night/dry/preventing sleep/short/from throat or larynx

Expectoration: Morning (after waking)

Chest: „As if foreign body inside“

Heavy/oppression

Pain  lying on r. side/burning/sore, bruised in mammae before menses/stitching (at night/in heart)

Back: Cold

Cracking in cervical region

Heaviness (weight in dorsal region)

Injuries of the spine from lifting

Pain [morning/cervical/aching/cutting]

Stiffness (in spine)

Tension

Extremities: cold [at night]

Cramping in calf

Discoloration  Spots on nails of fingers/sprained knee

Heat  Hand/foot (morning/hot # cold)

Itching  in forearm/in palms (morning)/ankle

Nails complaints of: Brittle finger/toenails/falling of/grow rapid

Numb forearms [at night]

Pain  in hand „As from splinter“/in shoulder (aching)/in calf/in toe/cutting/stitching in knees

Restless forearms [at night

Tension in thigh/in calf

Weak upper arm

Sleep: deep

Falling asleep difficult

Position  r. (impossible)

Restless

Sleepy in afternoon/sleepless (from congestion to head/from pain)

Unrefreshed

Waking [at midnight  24 h./after midnight  3 h./4 h./difficult/frequent]

Yawning

Fever: Heat in general

Chill: Coldness in general

Morning/at night

Perspiration: Cold

At night

Skin: Cold/dry

Ecchymoses

Moisture

„As if covered with slime“

Generalities: Night

Cold <

Food and drinks: Desires: Alcoholic drinks/farinaceous food/fish/meat/sweets (and salt/before menses)

Heat, Flushes of (in daytime)/Sensation of heat (on waking)/lack of vital heat/< becoming heated

Heaviness („As from lead“/“Like a Load“)

Lassitude, Tendency to  morning/afternoon

r. sided

Sudden

Weariness, Tendency to

> cold weather/> wet weather

 

Allerlei: Als die Schnecke geschaffen wurde...

Vor langer Zeit, als die Welt noch jung war und die Tiere gerade alle erschaffen waren, betrachtete die Sonne ihr Schöpfungswerk und fand, das noch ein kleines Eckchen in der Welt frei wäre

für ein weiteres Tier. Klein müsste es sein, weich und langsam, damit es niemandem im Wege sein würde. Also erschuf die Sonne, bevor sie sich schlafen legte ein letztes Tier.

Es sah etwas seltsam aus, denn es hatte nur einen Fuß, winzige Zähne, die auf seiner Zunge saßen und Augen, die auf Fühlern von seinem Kopf wegragten.

Als diese kleine, hilflose Kreatur nun lautlos in die Nacht hinaus glitt, beobachtete dies die Mondin vom Himmel her. Das kleine, nackte Wesen tat ihr leid, denn es war schutzlos den scharfen

Zähnen der Katze und dem schweren tritt des Bären ausgeliefert. Auch hatte es nichts, wo es sich vor Regenwetter oder den Stichen der Sonne verstecken konnte. So nahm die Mondin ein Stück

von ihrer eigenen, runden, perlmutig glänzenden Gestalt und formte daraus ein kleines Haus für die Schnecke, das sie schützen sollte. Und als das Haus zur Erde fiel, wirbelte es immer rund und

rund und war am Ende ganz spiralig gewunden, als es bei dem kleinen Wesen ankam.

So wurde die Schnecke, wie wir sie heute kennen, geschaffen, beneidet von den anderen Tieren, denn sie trägt ihr Haus immer mit sich auf dem Rücken um darin Schutz zu suchen.

Also, wenn Ihr des Nachts eine Schnecke seht, die ihre Fühler dem Himmel entgegen reckt, dann bedankt sie sich gerade bei der Mondin für ihr wunderschönes Geschenk. (Madeleine Scott)

 

Helix pomatia is a large (largest in Europe), edible, air breathing land snail.

Slime or mucus has different functions for a snail and can be thin or thick. It is an organic hydrogel (= ein Wasser enthaltendes, aber wasserunlösliches Polymer) which can absorb a great quantity

of water, almost 250% water. of its own weight. On the body there are glands which run from the mouth to the backend. Slime helps prevent water loss, is used in locomotion by enabling it to

crawl over rough surfaces or slick ones (glass). It is also used as a deterrent against enemies, although the slime itself doesn’t contain any bitter tasting chemicals.

Helix native to the limestone areas of Central and Southeastern Europe. It has spread out to other areas gradually over time, mainly by human hands. In some areas (mainly France),

over-collecting has greatly reduced the numbers and in some countries of Europe, the species has been put on the endangered list. It is illegal to collect the species in England.

Helix pomatia is found in copses, thickets, parks, gardens and vineyards. The snail prefers a chalky substrate in warm low lying country. Snails need damp, not wet, environments.

Although snails need moisture, wet or waterlogged soil must be drained to make it suitable for them. Similarly, rainwater must run off promptly. Snails breathe air and may drown in overly wet

surroundings. In the hours of darkness, air humidity over 80% will promote good snail activity and growth. Snails like hiding places (during the warm daytime/in winter).

Helix pomatia has thousands of teeth. On the front of the body is the head, where two pairs of tentacles are located. The upper pair bears the eyes, the lower pair is used for smelling and feeling.

The mouth has a tongue called radula. In the top of the mouth is a hard ridge and food is being mashed between the radula and this ridge. The front teeth of the radula wear very fast but the

radula grows from the back end.

Near the opening of the mouth salivary glands release digestive enzymes. The salivary gland secretions moisten the digested food and envelop it, thereby making easier it for the food to go

into the esophagus. The esophagus ends in the stomach. The intestines release large quantities of a brown digestive juice in the stomach. The intestinal gland fills up most of the space in the

visceral sac. The intestinal gland consists of smaller and bigger follicles. A steady back and forth movement of the digestive juices between stomach and intestines enhances the process of

absorption of the food. The movement of the digestive juices is caused by the muscles of the intestinal gland and ciliae. The digested food flows over the liver cells which absorb the food.

The smaller intestine starts at the visceral sac, follows the edge of the kidney and enters the pulmonary cavity. It ends near the pneumostome (breathing pore) in the smaller intestine on the

point of exit from the visceral sac a deep groove. This groove which is coated with cilae takes over all non-absorbed solids and directs it into the small intestine. Here the solids are

compressed and enveloped with a layer of slime after which they leave the body.

Snails of the same species collected from different regions may have different food preferences. Some foods that snails eat are: Alyssum, fruit and leaves of apple, apricot, artichoke (favorite), aster,

barley, beans, bindweed, California boxwood, almost any cabbage variety, chamomile, carnation, carrot, cauliflower, celeriac (root celery), celery, ripe cherries, chive, citrus, clover,

cress, cucumbers (favorite), dandelion, elder, henbane, hibiscus, hollyhock, kale, larkspur, leek, lettuce (makes good snails), lily, magnolia, mountain ash, mulberry, mums, nasturtium, nettle,

 nightshade berries, oats, onion greens, pansy, parsley, peach, ripe pears, peas, petunia, phlox, plum, potatoes (raw or cooked), pumpkins, radish, rape, rose, sorrel, spinach, sweet pea, thistle,

thorn apple, tomatoes (well liked), turnip, wheat, yarrow, zinnia. They will eat sweet lupines, but will reject bitter lupines and other plants with high quinolizidine alkaloids.

Snails also avoid plants that produce other defensive chemicals, defensive stem hairs, etc. Snails usually prefer juicy leaves and vegetables over dry ones.

Respiration and Circulation

The blood system in Helix pomatia is open, with blood spaces and no veins. The pigment is colorless, and is called haemocyanin., which contains copper. The relative weak heart consists

of a single thick walled ventricle and a single thin walled auricle. The blood takes oxygen from the lung and transports it to the auricle, and then to the ventricle. The ventricle releases blood

with oxygen in the arteries, after which the blood goes to the tissues. The so-called lung (pulmonary cavity) lies on the inside of the roof of the visceral-sac. Through the breathing-pore, the

pneumostome, oxygen reaches the snail’s lung. When the pneumostome is open the roof and bottom of the pulmonary cavity are close together. When the bottom goes down the oxygen can flow

into the lung. Then the pneumostome closes and the bottom goes up, pushing the oxygen in the body. It is comparable to the midriff in mammals.

In spring, when the Roman snails have been awake from hibernation for some time, it becomes time for mating. Depending on the weather and other environmental conditions, mating time may

last until the end of June.

Roman snails, and most terrestrial snail species, are hermaphrodites. They have male as well as female organs in one collective genital apparatus. This organ system not only contains sexual organs

in the narrow sense of the word, but also various auxiliary organs that have respective tasks in different periods during mating. What advantage does being a hermaphrodite give to a Roman snail?

Because of its proverbial slowness the snail needs much time to move in a very small area. So the chances to meet a mating partner are too low to divide them even further by two sexes to choose

from. Terrestrial pulmonate snails (Stylommatophora) such as the Roman snail, on the other hand, have double mating chances, because in principle, they can mate with any snail of the right species

they encounter. During copulation, Roman snails do not act as either male or female, but simultaneously as both. Some snails may act as males one season and as females the next.

A Roman snail’s mating process takes place in several phases, which go from an attraction phase over an extensive courtship until finally the copulation itself. The encounter of two Roman snails

ready for mating is not purely incidental. Like many other terrestrial snails, they have a gland located at the gland that produces an olfactory sexual attractant. Those attractants are also used by

other snail species such as banded snails (Cepaea). As a consequence two snails of entirely different species may feel attracted and try mating. Between snails of different species, that attempt

must remain unsuccessful.

The courtship among Roman snails is a very interesting thing to witness. Both snails begin by raising their heads and putting their flat foot soles against each other. They touch each other with

tentacles and lips while they are swaying gently. As a prelude to the actual copulation this courtship process may last as long as twenty hours. The copulation itself will take a much smaller fraction

of time.

During the courtship possibly a dart may be applied, one snail stinging it into the mate’s foot. This dart has been called a love dart, as its application obviously is in direct connection with

courtship or mating. The pricked snail becomes visibly more excited and active, sometimes it also returns the favor by jabbing a love dart into the mate’s body. A Roman snail’s love dart can

become as long as 7 to 11 mm and consists of a four-edge blade on one and a crown on the other end. In idle state with this crown the dart sits on a papilla in the dart sac. To use the dart, the

snail pushes out the interior of the dart sac, thus thrusting the dart into the mate’s body. After separation from the papilla, the dart remains stung in the body. Though called a dart, in many

languages also an arrow, the Roman snail’s love dart is neither thrown nor shot, there is no distance of free flight. Instead it is thrust into the mate’s body, more like a dagger, than a dart.

Sometimes the love dart misses its target. Then it may come to rest on the mate’s body without penetrating it, but it can also happen that one of the two mates is hurt. It is not in every mating

process that a love dart is applied. Roman snails mate whenever possible, but the replication of a love dart sometimes needs more time than remains between two mating encounters. Research

has found that application of a love dart not at all only influences snail behavior. Using a love dart a secretion is injected that is produced by the finger shaped glands in the genital apparatus.

This secretion contains hormones that influence certain parts of the genital apparatus and that way improve the reproductive chances of the snail that applied the dart.

After the long and extensive courtship there may be several attempts for copulation. It may happen that the readiness to mate between two snails is very different, so that the copulation attempts

may look more like a wrestling match. When finally both snails manage to find a suitable position, they actually perform copulation. Both penises are entwined and inserted into the mate’s vagina.

The union successfully completed, both snails stay as they are. At the same time, a sperm packet, a so-called spermatophore, is produced in either snail’s body and afterwards filled with sperm cells.

This spermatophore is almost 10 cm long and is roughly shaped like a thread. Even after it was positioned in the mate’s genital apparatus, the tail still looks out of the snail’s genital opening. This is

why the two snails remain motionless for a certain time after completing of the copulation: The spermatophore’s application in the mate’s genital apparatus must be supported; an early interruption of

the union may disrupt the spermatophore and thus render useless the hours of toil involved in a standard snail courtship.

It is only now that both snails separate. Soon later they may meet again with other potential mates. A part of the sperm cells just received, however, will be stored in a special sperm pouch.

Those sperm cells may then well manage to fertilize egg cells, though they will have to compete with sperm cells of other mating partners also stored in the same pouch.

Fertilization only happens, when it is time to lay eggs. That will happen, provided the environmental conditions are favorable and there is a place where the eggs can be deposited in a special

hole in the ground.

Birds, insects, mice, rats, mice, moles, skunks, weasels, frogs, lizards, centipedes, beetles, crickets, toads and other predators take a heavy toll on the young snails. Parasites, nematodes, trematodes,

fungi, and microarthropods may attack snails, and such problems can spread rapidly when snail populations are dense. The bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa causes intestinal infections.

Helix pomatia has historically been used as an anti-cancer remedy and anti-tuberculosis remedy. Escargot has been used as an anti-cancer therapy since ancient medieval times. Recent studies

have shown that Helix pomatia Lectin specifically binds N-acetylgalactosamine glycans, which are prominent in cancer progression. This substance has been used as a marker in determining metastatic progression.

Pests

Snails in general are not very well liked. Many are considered to be garden pests and are poisoned or stepped on when they are found. A permit from the Department of Agriculture is needed to

ship snails into the U.S. Roman snails are considered pests on grapes grown to make wine.

Roasted snail shells have been found in archaeological excavations, an indication that snails have been eaten since prehistoric times. In ancient Rome, snails were fattened up in “cochlear”

gardens before they were eaten. A Virginia farmer described keeping snails in a cool, moist and shady environment, supplying artificial dew if necessary, containing them on an “island” surrounded

by water to prevent escape, supplying vegetation as feed, and fattening them on corn meal.

Pliny described the snail garden of Fulvius Hirpinus 2.000 years ago as having separate sections for different species of snails. Hirpinus allegedly fed his snails on meal and wine. The Romans selected

the best snails for breeding. “Wall fish” were often eaten in Britain, but were never as popular as on the continent. There, people often ate snails during Lent, and in a few places, they consumed

large quantities of snails at Mardi Gras or Carnivale, as a foretaste of Lent.

The nutrient composition of raw snails (per 100 grams of edible portion), according to information from the nutrient databank of France:

 

Repertory Extraction from the Complete Repertory (Roger Van Zandvoort)

Respiration: Difficult (ascending)

Cough: preventing sleep

Dry

Tickling

Expectoration: Bloody, spitting of blood

Voice: hoarseness (chronic)

Chest: Tuberculosis pulmonalis (with HEMOPTYSIS)

 

    Respiration Difficult.

    Cough preventing sleep

    Cough Dry

    Voice: hoarse

Helix tosta was chosen as a remedy to examine the healing qualities of the mollusc family that have never been well explored. Snails are well known for their healing properties and serve as rich

archetypes in the mythic imagination.

The strongest sensation experienced during the proving was that of heaviness or armor. Heaviness like a load or as of lead. This was experienced both on the head and on the back. The provers

describe the following;

 

Feeling weighed down emotionally

The sensation is that I have this helmet and this thing on my back that I can’t get off and it is holding me back; like I am stuck in the mud and it takes forever for things to happen or manifest;

Like something stuck to my back on both sides; cannot get it off; restricting like the helmet on the head; as if I have a permanent back pack; stronger on the back; it feels hard; restricting;

> resting on the couch; it is a burden and too heavy; holds me back; cannot move; stuck in the mud; have to wait for something to help me.

I realize I have thicker skin; it is like body armor; not very emotionally affected

I felt contained as if there were actual boundaries around my body; like a thick layer all around my body and head; it felt like a bold line.

Very, very emotional; had to draw a family tree for one of my classes and I choked up thinking of family; emotions make me feel sad as if a rope were tied around my waist and chest like I cannot breathe.

Dream: following my friend to her house; I had to cross a small pool of water; had a backpack with me and was having to practically be a contortionist to get around with it.

I am in a store and looking at a sleeping bag that the bottom inflates to the body; I get in and it is really uncomfortable lying on another body; I can’t buy it.

My children said I was boring and that I need to have more fun; all three kept repeating it.

I was told to move out of my comfort zone.

This sensation of weight or armor is connected to the source which has a shell that surrounds it, providing both protection and security but also restricts movement and slows the animal down.

Although the shell provides security, it is a place that is experienced as boring and not fully alive. For example:

The state without the shell or security was described as follows:

Dream – Initially I am helping this patient on the phone giving him instructions regarding his treatment. Next I see this guy starting to look for something. I ask what do you want so I can find it. He does not say anything, then others come and take me and they have taken everything. It seems I had been asleep when they took everything. I know these people very well. I cry and beg them not to take me away. Then a friend comes and says do not cry and you are OK and we sit. I am crying and say I want to transform myself so my true self comes out and also I can see the true self in others. She tries to console me and then this other guy comes and they begin to take me away. I do not know where they are taking me and they have taken everything, like I am completely stripped of everything. I am also hoping that this is a dream I am having but it does not seem to be in the dream. Everything is taken including me and I do not know where they will take me or what they will do to me. As I was writing the dream in my bed I was hot and getting sweaty. The temperature is cold now so the sweat was of nervousness nature.

General Themes

The following general themes were noted through the proving:

    Anger at being treated badly

    Animals

    Babies/Pregnancy

    Buildings

    Courage/Confidence

    Moistness/Slime

    Money

    Sexuality increased

    Slowness

    Weighed down/back pack

    Youth

    Anger at Being Treated Badly

This was quite strong and seen in many of the provers. One prover described it as feeling “angry at being used and abused”. Another described it as “red hot” anger. This anger could be channeled into both rage and violence. It manifested through the following:

    Abusive

    Cursing

    Defiant

    indignation

    Irritability

    Malicious

    Rage

    Reproaches others

    Rudeness

    Sudden anger

    Violence

Much of the anger stemmed from not feeling appreciated and anger at injustice and abuse in the world. Many of the provers described anger at abusive men.

The response to the anger was a desire to be isolated and left alone.

Babies/Pregnancy

It was not clear why this was a strong theme in the proving as Roman snails do not care for their young. There were issues about wanting to get pregnant and grief that they could not. This grief

was experienced “As if there was a rope tied around my waist and chest like I cannot breathe”. Some caretaking issues with babies were noted. Multiple babies or children were often noted.

Buildings

There were many dreams of buildings and purchasing or selling buildings. Windows in the buildings were a particular theme.

Dream: A woman is telling me she has to lose her house and land for a whale that is coming in from the ocean; lived on a piece of triangular land that was in-between 2 tributaries that flowed into the ocean.

Dream: I was in a large restaurant that was shaped like a spiral inside; it was an old building but finely constructed of wood; there was much fine carving.

Dream: My husband and I were buying beach-front property; touring a house valued at $1.4 million; We were seriously interested in buying and indicated that to the real estate agent; the price did not phase us.

Dream: My husband and I are in a huge building looking for an apartment for the next years to live in; A realtor is with us but he doesn’t say anything; the hallways and the apartments are especially dark;

the first apartment has several windows; they are rectangle shaped and rather wide than high; I like the windows but my husband doesn’t like this apartment for some reason; the next apartments are even darker; what is important to me seems to be the windows.

Courageous/Confidence

Many of the provers described increased confidence and even courageousness during the proving. One prover described it as follows:

Much more courageous; confidence improved; I did many things during the proving that I never felt the confidence to do before; saying it like it is; especially confrontative to men; I feel in charge; I can do what I want and say what I want and don’t really care what others think.

This also manifested in the following dream:

At some downtown public building; a woman shows up among a group of people with multiple leashes and about 15 dogs; the dogs kept getting loose; one by one I kept gathering them; trying to help this woman who has more than she can handle; then a pit bull gets loose; my immediate reaction is to overcome my fear and go towards him and pet him and grab his leash; just like the others; I realize I can’t show fear or he will attack; I walk right toward him and reach down and pet him; I bring him back to the woman; next a mountain lion gets loose; I have huge fear but have to muster up the courage to not show the fear; I realize that people may try to hurt him out of fear; he is in bad shape and looks exhausted; I am able to contain him; a man started screaming from fear that the mountain lion would attack his daughter so I took the lion back outside and tied him up; I see two people with bow and arrows aimed at him; I was angry and defensive; I ran towards them to block their shots and chased them off while swearing at them.

The self confidence and self assuredness at its strongest became egotism, arrogance and haughtiness. Anger and confrontation was often coupled with this.

Moistness/Slime

The provers desired cold damp weather. This is in keeping with the preferential habitat of the Roman Snail. In addition, the provers experienced mucous and slime on their skin. This is described as follows:

Skin feels wet and slimy and cold; like I am always wet; it sucks and feels uncomfortable; Skin felt wet, slimy and cold like I am always wet; very uncomfortable; it is slimy; slimy thing about it; wet and slimy; I know it is not wet; cold and wet and yucky like the cold wet like breathing; it feels as if you are in the rain or covered in old slime.

Stool feels slimy.

Dream: I had a really bad cold, a ton of green mucous came out which was slimy, thick and bubbly; there was a whole garlic bulb in it! - - - - -

Money

Wealth and purchasing of expensive things was a prominent theme. Several provers described persistent thoughts about money. This is in keeping with the high relative cost of escargot.

The following illustrate this:

Dream: I was floating down a river and passing out money. - - - - -

Dream: In the passenger seat of a truck; I had this feeling that I had just completed a purchase: the biggest purchase of my life and I was so confident, felt so good about the purchase.

Dream: I wanted to buy a diamond ring for $14,000; I took a nap and slept past the time the store closed; I was thinking do I really want to put $14K on my finger and have it be worth 1/3 that when I walk out of the store? - - - - -

Dream: My husband and I were buying beach front property; touring a house valued at 1.4 million; We were seriously interested in buying and indicated that to the real estate agent; the price did not phase us. - - - - -

Dream: my husband was selling some winter coats that my mom used to sell some years ago. These coats were very warm with llama fur, extremely expensive. He was asking $40,000 for a coat. The client, my friend, wanted to offer $12,000. We were inside a very expensive and exclusive restaurant. The colors of the coat changed from dark to light colors, beautiful bright colors from nature, as if the coat had a life by itself. My friend was selling jewelry, expensive too. - - - - -

Dream: A tour of houses of wealthy executives; beautiful large homes with a lot of larger windows and shades for privacy; the person giving the tour said that because the executives have large living spaces, they need to stay in the finest hotels during business travel; later I went to the children of these executives and they would go off to school but come back home after their parents left for work. - - -

Sexuality

Sexuality was fairly strong throughout the proving. Many provers had sexual dreams. There was also a theme of rape and sexual violation, with an accompanying aggressive violent refusal to let this occur. Themes of dishonesty, secrecy and ulterior motives often accompanied the sexuality.

Dream: I was in a relationship with a guy; I was in the bathroom and he was coming after me so I locked the door; he was banging on the door but I wouldn’t let him in; later I was locked in a car and he was going to smash the window; my feelings became loving to him and I told him it was not necessary to smash the glass; I got out of the car and hugged him and kissed him; I felt turned on and knew everything would be OK; he talked about his anger and I told him he would be OK once we find his remedy. - - - - -

Dream: Feeling of stuck and being in a hard place and the need to get out of the situation. Also feeling of danger trying to cross an area that is very dangerous and we are not familiar with it. In this scene I am about to have intercourse. I ejaculate intensely and awake. - - - - -

Dream: Walking along a busy street in my white socks; I was not at all dressed up or looking good; I was dressed shabbily; a rundown car with a bunch of thugs sped up and pulled alongside of me; they were soliciting me to become a prostitute; I took a shopping cart and was swinging it around and around and was hitting them and telling them to get away.

Dream: A lady owned a ranch and was brushing her horse. A man was there with his son; the lady’s dog was chained up nearby; The man told his son that the dog was protective of the woman and he said “watch this”; he kissed the woman and the dog started charging at the man; the dog ran until his chain tightened. - - - - -

Romantic longing was also noted.

Slowness

Two provers described hearing a song in their head during the proving. One described the song “Slow Down You Move Too Fast” and the other “Slow Down Sister”. The provers described it as follows:

The sensation is that I have this helmet and this thing on my back that I can’t get off and it is holding me back; like I am stuck in the mud and it takes forever for things to happen or manifest; Like something stuck to my back on both sides; cannot get it off; restricting like the helmet on the head; as if I have a permanent back pack; stronger on the back; it feels hard; restricting; better resting on the couch; it is a burden and too heavy; holds me back; cannot move; stuck in the mud; have to wait for something to help me.

Slow flowy drifting feeling

Weighed Down/Back Pack

See the description under “Sensation” above.

            Youth

Several provers described feeling and appearing younger during the proving. Wrinkles disappeared as well.

 

Animal imagery was very strong in this proving. This is illustrated in the Theme section below.

Several provers described an internal split. One prover described the split as follows:

I have two voices in my head; one that is impatient and the one that is amazed and mellow

            Miasm

Two separate miasms arose during the proving. These were the Sycotic Miasm and the Tubercular Miasm. The sycotic miasmatic characteristics predominated. However it is difficult to make a miasmatic determination based on a single proving. One prover described the tubercular energy as:

I feel this is a tubercular remedy; destructive, impatience, reckless, grass is greener over there but I can’t get there; the feeling is that I have to make this huge last ditch effort in order to live anymore; like if I don’t get to the gym and put myself first I am done.

Dreams have a tubercular (busy/active) and sycotic (secretive) feeling to them.

Dreams of travel were particularly strong. Themes of secrecy, hiding and covering up were equally strong.

See the descriptions below for details of expressions of both of these miasms within the proving.

Toasted Remedies

There is some suggestion that toasted or burned remedies tend to be more Tubercular (ref. Spong.).

General Characteristics

The following general symptoms were most characteristic.

Chilliness

Most of the provers described chilliness or chills. Some hot flushes were noted but these tended to be brief and followed by the chilliness. One prover described the chilliness as follows;

Mucous membranes feel cold; as if it is 10° in the winter in Massachusetts at the ocean with a wind blowing at 25 mph, and every breath is cold as ice and takes your breath away.

Right Sidedness

A significant majority of the provers experienced right-sided symptoms. There were also a few provers that had left-sided symptoms that then moved to the right.

Desire for Wet Cold Weather

A desire or > in wet, cold weather was seen in three of the provers. This is consistent with the animal which prefers damp and colder climes. The animal however cannot tolerate too hot or too cold temperatures. It both hibernates and aestivates. One prover described this as being unable to tolerate either cold or heat.

Suddenness

There was a suddenness to the general complaints. This was seen in both physical and emotional symptoms.

In addition, to the above, cravings for sweets, carbohydrates and alcohol were noted. Two of the provers described things as going “backwards”.

Emotional and Mental Characteristics

The predominant emotional characteristic seen in this remedy was anger. This was described by provers as “red hot anger” and “confrontational with stupid people”. Many of the provers described a lack of willingness to put up with any abuse or injustice anymore. This was particularly targeted by women towards men. See the general themes for more details.

The second emotional and mental characteristic was that of increased confidence and even courageousness. In extreme form, this manifested in both egotism and haughtiness.

See the general themes for more details.

Physical Characteristics

Physical areas most targeted by this remedy included:

Vertigo was sudden and fleeting. It was accompanied by nausea and most often occurred on waking.

Head symptoms were characterized by severe migraine headaches which were noted by two provers. Pains were most often pressing like a cap or helmet.

Sinus headaches that were frontal were also noted. A sensation of an iron band around the forehead was noted.

Eye discharge that was thick and white was noted by three provers. There was also eye gum. Pains tended to be burning and pressing. Twitching of the eyelids, worse right was noted.

Ringing of the ears was seen in two provers: one had it accompany vertigo. Itching of the ears and a stopped sensation were also seen.

Nasal obstruction was seen in four provers. This was worse in the morning. It was accompanied by sneezing and clear discharge that was worse in the morning. Nasal dryness was noted.

The face was characterized by acne. Skin was oily.

Three provers noted chancre sores of the mouth. Itching and pains in the gums were noted.

Dryness of the throat with choking and constricting sensations were noted. Drinking did not ameliorate the dryness. A scratchy throat was described in three provers < in the morning and on swallowing. Significant swelling and induration was seen of the uvula and tonsils in one provers which was relatively painless.

Generally appetite was increased during the proving. This caused weight gain and a craving for carbohydrates and sweets. Chronic gall bladder pains were cured in one prover and there was an affinity for burning night time pains in the liver. Nausea was quite strong without much vomiting. Heartburn and eructations were also seen.

A general tendency towards constipation of the rectum was seen. Two provers had bloody stools. Slimy, mucousy stools was also noted.

Sexual desire was quite high. Profuse menses with painful menstrual cramps was noted.

Hoarseness was seen in two provers. Difficult respiration was also seen in two provers. Cough tended to be dry, short and at night. No hemoptysis was seen, although this was noted previously as a symptom of the remedy. Oppression of the chest was quite strong.

Breathing was described by several provers as difficult. The cough typically was dry and deep. Chest heaviness accompanied. Angina-like symptoms were noted.

Two provers noted injuries to the back from lifting. This was most often dorsal and associated with heaviness and tension.

Cramps of the calves of the extremities were seen in two provers. Nail problems were strong. Several provers lost toe nails and cracking of the nails was common.

Sleep was restless and difficult. There was particularly waking from 2: 4 am. Falling asleep was particularly a problem.

The skin was moist and smooth. One prover described her skin as if ‘covered in slime’.

 

[Todd Rowe]

A proving of Helix tosta was performed in Phoenix Arizona at the American Medical College of Homeopathy, in the spring of 2010. The proving was conducted by the American Medical College of Homeopathy Department of Research. This was a full Hahnemannian proving.

Quelle: Helios Pharmacy

The proving consisted of 15 subjects who began taking Helix tosta C 30 on January 22, from 22 - 65 years of age and in good health. 3 male and 12 female provers.

In general those on allopathic medication or who had significant health problems were excluded from the proving.

This proving was double blinded. All the provers, proving supervisors, and proving coordinator were unaware of the remedy being proven. The homeopathic medicine was selected because of its medicinal properties, symbolic significance and lack of usage within the homeopathic community, despite being listed as a homeopathic medicine.

The proving was placebo controlled. Three of the provers received placebo and were only identified at the end of the exit group proving.

As with previous provings, we found that those individuals who took the placebo generally had the same symptoms as those who took the actual homeopathic medicine. This is in keeping with findings of others conducting provings from around the world.

Each prover was assigned a proving supervisor who interviewed them prior to the onset of the proving to obtain a baseline case. Each prover then attended an introductory meeting with their fellow provers prior to the start of the proving, to go over basic policies and procedures and to obtain informed consent. Each prover had regular contact with their proving supervisor throughout the proving. The proving supervisors reported directly to the proving director.

Each prover took a single dosage of C 30 of the assigned homeopathic medicine at bedtime. If they exhibited any symptoms in the next 24 hours they received no further homeopathic medicine. If they had no symptoms, then they repeated the homeopathic medicine 24 hours later. Each prover received a maximum of 7  doses of the C 30. A dosage consisted of 10-12 pellets of the chosen homeopathic medicine.

Participants journaled the symptoms until the symptoms resolved or up to six months after the initiation of the proving. Additionally the supervisors kept a separate journal from the daily interaction with their provers. Informed consent was obtained from each participant.

Symptoms were reviewed in an exit group meeting one month later, which was videotaped. Journals (both of the provers and supervisors) were reviewed separately. Any participants who had residual symptoms or improvement following the one-month interval were followed subsequently until the symptoms resolved or were permanently cured (up to six months).

Helix pomatia is a large (the largest snail in Europe), edible, air breathing, land snail (terrestrial, pulmonate, gastropod, mollusc). It is frequently farmed and called by the French name Escargot, when it is used in cooking. The snail is quite large and easily seen. They are most often seen in the early mornings when it is damp.

Shell

Its shell is spherical with a conical spire. It is very strong with thin axial lines. The aperture is round and the lip thin. The umbilicus is narrow and covered by the edge of the columella in a way that leaves only a slitlike opening visible. In some cases the umbilicus is completely covered. In old shells the periostracum is often worn away giving the surface a whitish color. Shell size is 32-50 mm wide and 30-50 mm high. The color is light yellowish brown to whitish grey, often with 3 faint mauve or dark violet bands. The shell is big enough for the snail to retract the whole body into it. It usually has 4-5 whorls which coil clockwise as the snail grows. The axis of the shell is called the columella, attached to this is a muscle which runs through to foot to the tentacles. The snail builds his shell by secretion of calcium carbonate from the mantle. A thin layer, called the periostracum, covers the outside of the shell. In adult snails this is often weathered and flaking off. Because Roman snails often crawl on walls and trees, accidents happen and they fall off. That is why you often see shells with rough patches on it. The snail is able to repair the shell very quickly.

Slime

Slime or mucus has different functions for a snail and can be thin or thick. It is an organic hydrogel which can absorb a great quantity of water, almost 250 % of its own weight. On the body there are glands which run from the mouth to the backend. Slime helps prevent water loss, is used in locomotion by enabling it to crawl over rough surfaces or slick ones (glass). It is also used as a deterrent against enemies, although the slime itself doesn’t contain any bitter tasting chemicals.

Life Span

The snail reaches adulthood in 3-4 four years. The life span is up to 10 years.

 

Helix tosta is native to the limestone areas of Central and Southeastern Europe. It has spread out to other areas gradually over time, mainly by human hands. This includes Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Russia, Scandinavia, and Spain.It has been introduced to the United States (Michigan). In some areas (mainly France),

over-collecting has greatly reduced the numbers and in some countries of Europe, the species has been put on the endangered list. It is illegal to collect the species in England.

Helix pomatia is found in copses, thickets, parks, gardens and vineyards. The snail prefers a chalky substrate in warm low lying country. Snails need damp, not wet, environments. Although snails need moisture, wet or waterlogged soil must be drained to make it suitable for them. Similarly, rainwater must run off promptly. Snails breathe air and may drown in overly wet surroundings. A soil moisture content of 80% of capacity is favorable. In the hours of darkness, air humidity over 80% will promote good snail activity and growth. Snails like hiding places (warm daytime/winter).

Aestivation and Hibernation

The animal aestivates (becomes dormant in times of heat) and during this period it creates a calcareous epiphragm in order to seal the opening of its shell. During the winter, they hibernate in small holes.

There are two sets of muscle fibers, each performs a different task. When moving forward one set contracts pulling the snail from the front and pushing it off toward the back. At the same time the second set pulls the outer surface of the sole forward. They have the ability to forage as far as 150 to 300 feet (50 to 100 meters) and still find their way back. Ninety-nine percent of snail activity, including feeding, occurs in the cool, dark nighttime, with peak activity taking place 2 to 3 hours after darkness begins. The cooler temperature stimulates activity, and the nighttime dew helps the snail move easily. They hide in sheltered places during most of the day.

Helix pomatia has thousands of teeth. On the front of the body is the head, where two pairs of tentacles are located. The upper pair bears the eyes, the lower pair is used for smelling and feeling. The mouth has a tongue called radula. In the top of the mouth is a hard ridge and food is being mashed between the radula and this ridge. The front teeth of the radula wear very fast but the radula grows from the back end.

Near the opening of the mouth salivary glands release digestive enzymes. The salivary gland secretions moisten the digested food and envelop it, thereby making easier it for the food to go into the esophagus. The esophagus ends in the stomach. The intestines release large quantities of a brown digestive juice in the stomach. The intestinal gland fills up most of the space in the visceral sac.

The intestinal gland consists of smaller and bigger follicles. A steady back and forth movement of the digestive juices between stomach and intestines enhances the process of absorption of the food.

The movement of the digestive juices is caused by the muscles of the intestinal gland and ciliae. The digested food flows over the liver cells which absorb the food. The smaller intestine starts at the visceral sac, follows the edge of the kidney and enters the pulmonary cavity. It ends near the pneumostome (breathing pore) in the smaller intestine on the point of exit from the visceral sac a deep groove. This groove which is coated with cilae takes over all non-absorbed solids and directs it into the small intestine. There the solids are compressed and enveloped with a layer of slime after which they leave the body.

Snails of the same species collected from different regions may have different food preferences. Some foods that snails eat are: Alyssum, fruit and leaves of apple, apricot, artichoke (a favorite), aster, barley, beans, bindweed, California boxwood, almost any cabbage variety, chamomile, carnation, carrot, cauliflower, celeriac (root celery), celery, ripe cherries, chive, citrus, clover, cress, cucumbers (a favorite snail food), dandelion, elder, henbane, hibiscus, hollyhock, kale, larkspur, leek, lettuce (liked, and makes good snails), lily, magnolia, mountain ash, mulberry, mums, nasturtium, nettle, nightshade berries, oats, onion greens, pansy, parsley, peach, ripe pears, peas, petunia, phlox, plum, potatoes (raw or cooked), pumpkins, radish, rape, rose, sorrel, spinach, sweet pea, thistle, thorn apple, tomatoes (well liked), turnip, wheat, yarrow, zinnia. They will eat sweet lupines, but will reject bitter lupines and other plants with high quinolizidine alkaloids. Snails also avoid plants that produce other defensive chemicals, defensive stem hairs, etc. Snails usually prefer juicy leaves and vegetables over dry ones.

 

The blood system in Helix pomatia is open, with blood spaces and no veins. The pigment is colorless, and is called haemocyanin, which contains copper. The relative weak heart consists of a single thick walled ventricle and a single thin walled auricle. The blood takes oxygen from the lung and transports it to the auricle, and then to the ventricle. The ventricle releases blood with oxygen in the arteries, after which the blood goes to the tissues. The so-called lung (pulmonary cavity) lies on the inside of the roof of the visceral-sac. Through the breathing-pore, the pneumostome, oxygen reaches the snail’s lung. When the pneumostome is open the roof and bottom of the pulmonary cavity are close together. When the bottom goes down the oxygen can flow into the lung. Then the pneumostome closes and the bottom goes up, pushing the oxygen in the body. It is comparable to the midriff in mammals.

Mating Season

In spring, when the Roman snails have been awake from hibernation for some time, it becomes time for mating. Depending on the weather and other environmental conditions, mating time may last until the end of June.

Roman snails, and with them most terrestrial snail species, are hermaphrodites. They have male as well as female organs in one collective genital apparatus. This organ system not only contains sexual organs in the narrow sense of the word, but also various auxiliary organs that have respective tasks in different periods during mating. What advantage does being a hermaphrodite give to a Roman snail? Because of its proverbial slowness the snail needs much time to move in a very small area. So the chances to meet a mating partner are too low to divide them even further by two sexes to choose from. Terrestrial pulmonate snails (Stylommatophora) such as the Roman snail, on the other hand, have double mating chances, because in principle, they can mate with any snail of the right species they encounter. During copulation, Roman snails do not act as either male or female, but simultaneously as both. Some snails may act as males one season and as females the next. Other snails play both roles at once and fertilize each other simultaneously.

Mating process takes place in several phases, which go from an attraction phase over an extensive courtship until finally the copulation itself. The encounter of two Roman snails ready for mating is not purely incidental. Like many other terrestrial snails, they have a gland located at the gland that produces an olfactory sexual attractant. Those attractants are also used by other snail species such as banded snails (Cepaea). As a consequence two snails of entirely different species may feel attracted and try mating. Between snails of different species, that attempt must remain unsuccessful.

The courtship among Roman snails is a very interesting thing to witness. Both snails begin by raising their heads and putting their flat foot soles against each other. They touch each other with tentacles and lips while they are swaying gently. As a prelude to the actual copulation this courtship process may last as long as twenty hours. The copulation itself will take a much smaller fraction of time.

During the courtship possibly a dart may be applied, one snail stinging it into the mate’s foot. This dart has been called a love dart, as its application obviously is in direct connection with courtship or mating. The pricked snail becomes visibly more excited and active, sometimes it also returns the favor by jabbing a love dart into the mate’s body. A Roman snail’s love dart can become as long as 7 to 11 mm and consists of a four-edge blade on one and a crown on the other end. In idle state with this crown the dart sits on a papilla in the dart sac. To use the dart, the snail pushes out the interior of the dart sac, thus thrusting the dart into the mate’s body. After separation from the papilla, the dart remains stung in the body. Though called a dart, in many languages also an arrow, the Roman snail’s love dart is neither thrown nor shot, there is no distance of free flight. Instead it is thrust into the mate’s body, more like a dagger, than a dart.

Sometimes the love dart misses its target. Then it may come to rest on the mate’s body without penetrating it, but it can also happen that one of the two mates is hurt. It is not in every mating process that a love dart is applied. Roman snails mate whenever possible, but the replication of a love dart sometimes needs more time than remains between two mating encounters. Research has found that application of a love dart not at all only influences snail behavior. Using a love dart a secretion is injected that is produced by the finger shaped glands in the genital apparatus. This secretion contains hormones that influence certain parts of the genital apparatus and that way improve the reproductive chances of the snail that applied the dart.

After the long and extensive courtship there may be several attempts for copulation. It may happen that the readiness to mate between two snails is very different, so that the copulation attempts may look more like a wrestling match. When finally both snails manage to find a suitable position, they actually perform copulation. Both penises are entwined and inserted into the mate’s vagina. The union successfully completed, both snails stay as they are. At the same time, a sperm packet, a so-called spermatophore, is produced in either snail’s body and afterwards filled with sperm cells. This spermatophore is almost 10 cm long and is roughly shaped like a thread. Even after it was positioned in the mate’s genital apparatus, the tail still looks out of the snail’s genital opening. This is why the two snails remain motionless for a certain time after completing of the copulation: The spermatophore’s application in the mate’s genital apparatus must be supported; an early interruption of the union may disrupt the spermatophore and thus render useless the hours of toil involved in a standard snail courtship.

It is only now that both snails separate. Soon later they may meet again with other potential mates. A part of the sperm cells just received, however, will be stored in a special sperm pouch. Those sperm cells may then well manage to fertilize egg cells, though they will have to compete with sperm cells of other mating partners also stored in the same pouch.

Fertilization only happens, when it is time to lay eggs. That will happen, provided the environmental conditions are favorable and there is a place where the eggs can be deposited in a special hole in the ground.

Helix pomatia need at least three inches of soil in which to lay its eggs. Batches of up to forty eggs are laid in the ground during the spring and summer. They take from three to five weeks to hatch.

The eggs measure about 3mm in diameter and have a calcareous shell and a high yolk content. Occasionally, the snail will lay about a dozen more a few weeks later. The snail covers the hole with a mixture of the slime it excretes and dirt. This slime, which the snail excretes to help it crawl and to help preserve the moisture in its soft body, is glycoprotein similar to egg white.

The first snails to hatch eat the shells of their eggs. This gives them needed calcium for their shells. They may then begin eating unhatched eggs.

Natural Predators

Birds, insects, mice, rats, mice, moles, skunks, weasels, frogs, lizards, centipedes, beetles, crickets, toads and other predators take a heavy toll on the young snails. Parasites, nematodes, trematodes, fungi, and microarthropods may attack snails, and such problems can spread rapidly when snail populations are dense. The bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa causes intestinal infections.

 

Medicinal

Helix pomatia has historically been used as an anti-cancer remedy and anti-tuberculosis remedy. Escargot has been used as an anti-cancer therapy since ancient medieval times. Recent studies have shown that Helix pomatia Lectin specifically binds N-acetylgalactosamine glycans, which are prominent in cancer progression. This substance has been used as a marker in determining metastatic progression.

Pests

Snails in general are not very well liked. Many are considered to be garden pests and are poisoned or stepped on when they are found. A permit from the Department of Agriculture is needed to ship snails into the U.S. Roman snails are considered pests on grapes grown to make wine.

Heliculture

Heliculture is the process of farming or raising snails. Snail farming on a large-scale basis requires a considerable investment in time, equipment, and resources.

Roasted snail shells have been found in archaeological excavations, an indication that snails have been eaten since prehistoric times. In ancient Rome, snails were fattened up in “cochlear” gardens before they were eaten. A Virginia farmer described keeping snails in a cool, moist and shady environment, supplying artificial dew if necessary, containing them on an “island” surrounded by water to prevent escape, supplying vegetation as feed, and fattening them on corn meal.

Pliny described the snail garden of Fulvius Hirpinus 2.000 years ago as having separate sections for different species of snails. Hirpinus allegedly fed his snails on meal and wine. The Romans selected the best snails for breeding. “Wall fish” were often eaten in Britain, but were never as popular as on the continent. There, people often ate snails during Lent, and in a few places, they consumed large quantities of snails at Mardi Gras or Carnivale, as a foretaste of Lent.

Nutrient Content

The nutrient composition of raw snails (per 100 grams of edible portion), according to information from the nutrient databank of France, is:

Energy (kcal): 80.5Water (g): 79Protein (g): 16Available carbohydrates (g): 2Fibres (g): 0Fat (g): 1Magnesium (mg): 250Calcium (mg): 170Iron (mg): 3.5Vitamin C (mg): 0.

 

 

Vorwort/Suchen.                                Zeichen/Abkürzungen.                                   Impressum.