Helix tosta (Roman Snail)

Proving Summary

The complete proving is published as a monograph. Further information about this homeopathic medicine can also be found in The Desert World: A Homeopathic Exploration. Contact the AMCH Bookstore for more information.

Choosing the Remedy

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

Core Sensation

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(9)
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(10)
I realize I have thicker skin; it is like body armor; not very emotionally affected(12)
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(19)
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(5)
Dream-I was 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(7);
Dream-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(7);
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:
Dream-My children said I was boring and that I need to have more fun; all three kept repeating it(3);
Dream- I was told to move out of my comfort zone(19)
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 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 sleep 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(8)

General Themes

The following general themes were noted through the proving:
o Anger at Being Treated Badly
o Animals
o Babies/Pregnancy
o Buildings
o Courage/Confidence
o Moistness/Slime
o Money
o Sexuality Increased
o Slowness
o Weighed Down/Back Pack
o Youth

Anger at Being Treated Badly

The 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:
o Abusive
o Cursing
o Defiant
o indignation
o Irritability
o Malicious
o Rage
o Reproaches Others
o Rudeness
o Sudden Anger
o Violence

Much of the anger stemmed from not feeling appreciated and anger at inustice and abuse in the world. Many of he provers described anger at abusive men. The response to the anger was a desire to be isolated and left alone.


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 wasit and chest like I cannot breathe”. Some caretaking issues with babies were noted. Multiple babies or children were often noted.


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; she lived on a piece of triangular land that was in-between two tributaries that flowed into the ocean(7);
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(7)
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(9)
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 (20)


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 of men; I feel in charge; I can do what I want and say what I want and don’t really care what others think(12)
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(12)

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


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 feel wet and slimy and cold; like I am always wet; it sucks and feel 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(10);
Stool feels slimy(10)

Dream- I had a really bad cold a ton of green mucous came out of it which was slimy, thick and bubbly; there was a whole garlic bulb in it!(4)


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(5)
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(6)
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?(7)
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(9)
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 40K for a coat. The client, my friend, wanted to offer 12K. 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(11)
Dream- A tour of houses of wealthy executives; beautiful large homes with a log 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(19)


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(7)
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(8)
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 run down car with a bunch of thugs sped up and pulled along side of me; they were soliciting me to become a prostitute; I took a shopping care and was swinging it around and around and was hitting them and telling them to get away(9)
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 near by; 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(19)

Romantic longing was also noted.


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”. They lyrics can be found below. 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(10)
Slow flowy drifting feeling(12)

Weighed Down/Back Pack

See the description under “Sensation” above.


See the description under “Sensation” above.

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

Mollusc Themes

Please see Appendix A for a listing of Mollusc themes and Land Snail themes, correlated with this proving. These include the following:

o Self centered/Self Contained
o In My Own World/My Space
o Distance, Disconnected from Others, Detached
o Isolated, Secluded
o Lost Touch, Lose Conact
o Lose Excitement, Life and Liveliness
o Confined/Caged
o Claustrophobic/Suffocated
o Smash, Crunch, Break, Bash, Crack, Split Open, Shatter
o Fall, Hit, Beat, Strike, Bang, Thump, Bruise
o Hammer/Punch/Pound/Batter
o Pierce, Jab, Prod, Stab, Penetrated, Poke
o Break In, Break Through
o Boring, Drilling
o Eating Into, Corroding
o Swallowed Up
o Sucked Out, Sucked In
o Drying Out, Left High and Dry
o Float, Drift, Swim
o Not Grounded
o Anchor, Fasten, Secure
o Renewal
o Sinking, Pulled Downward
o Sea, Quicksand, Whirlpool

Animal Themes

This proving showed strong animal themes typical of the Animal Kingdom. This included all of the following:

o Animal Imagery
o Attractive Behavior
o Attack and Defense
o Competition
o Sexuality
o Split
o Survival

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


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(10)
Dreams have a tubercular (busy/active) and sycotic (secretive feeling to them(12)
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 (see Spongia tosta).

General Characteristics

The following general symptoms were most characteristic.

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 desribed the chilliness as follows;

Mucous membranes feel cold; as if it is 10 degrees 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(10

Right Sidedness

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

Desire for Wet Cold Weather

A desire or amelioration 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.


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 remed 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. I 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 were noted by three provers. There was also eye gum. Pains tended to be burning and pressing. Twitching of the lids worse right was noted.

Ringing of the ears was seen in two provers-one had it accompany vertigo. Itching of the ears and 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 chocking and constricting sensations were noted. Drinking did not ameliorate the dryness. A scratchy throat was described in theee provers which was worse in the morning and on swallowing. Significant swelling and inuration was seen of the uvula and tonsils in one provers which was relatively painless.

Generally appetitie 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. Profurse menses with painful menstrual cramps was noted.

Hoareseness 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. Oppresssion 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 2-4AM> Falling asleep was particularly a problem.
The skin was moist and smooth. One provers described her skin as if ‘covered in slime’.


Helix tosta can be compared to other Mollusc Remedies (see below), Calcarea carbonica, Sepia; Urolophus halleri, Calcarea Flourica, Causticum, Spongia tosta, Tuberculinum and Medorrhinum.

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