Drug Provings Homeopathy Papers

Helix Tosta Proving

Todd Rowe
Written by Todd Rowe

The author gives a rich summary of the results of a formal proving of Helix tosta including the major themes. Submitted by the American Medical College of Homeopathy.


This article represents a summary of a Homeopathic Proving done in 2010 at the American Medical College of Homeopathy. A full and comprehensive report is available through the American Medical College of Homeopathy; 1951 W. Camelback, Suite 300, Phoenix, AZ 85015; [email protected]; 602-347-7950

Proving Methodology

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.

This proving was approved by the American Medical College of Homeopathy Institutional Review Board.

The proving consisted of fifteen subjects who began taking Helix tosta 30C on January 22, 2010. Provers were from 22-65 years of age and in good health. There were three male provers and twelve female provers. Generally those patients who were 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. The homeopathic medicine was obtained from Helios Pharmacy. 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 with their proving supervisor throughout the proving. The proving supervisors reported directly to the proving director.

Each prover took a single dosage of 30C 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 seven doses of the 30C potency. 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).

The remedy is available from the Helios Pharmacy (). The name given to the remedy is Helix tosta (Helx). The remedy is described in the literature as being triturated. It has never been previously proven despite being listed as a homeopathic medicine.

The American Medical College of Homeopathy is a state licensed and accredited institution in Phoenix, Arizona. Its department of research conducts provings annually and has conducted 14 separate provings over the last 13 years. Each of these provings has been published separately in book form as well as published through all of the homeopathic software companies. Extracts of all of the proving discussions can be found on our web site at www.amcofh.org/Research/Provings.html. In addition, AMCH recently published a summary of its desert proving research in a work entitled The Desert World: A Homeopathic Exploration.

Natural History

Helix tosta (Roman Snail) is an old remedy that was previously studied, although poorly. The remedy has never been previously proven.

Helix tosta refers to toasted snail. The species that is eaten is Helix pomatia. It is most commonly known as the Roman Snail, Edible Snail or Burgundy Snail. It is the snail that is classically used in the making of Escargot. The name was identified by Linnaeus in 1758. It is called Roman Snail because it is thought to have been introduced by the Romans to England as a food source.

Kingdom: Animalia

Subkingdom: Bilateria

Branch: Protostomia

Infrakingdom: Ecdysozoa

Phylum: Arthropoda

Class: Insecta

Order: Pulmonata

Family: Helicidae

Genus: Helix

Species: pomatia


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.


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 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.

Distribution and Habitat

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, especially during the warm daytime.

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.

About the author

Todd Rowe

Todd Rowe

Dr.Todd Rowe MD, MD(H),CCH,DHt is a licensed homeopathic physician in Arizona. He teaches extensively and has written several books on classical homeopathic education including Homeopathic Methodology and the Homeopathic Journey. He is the past-president of the National Center for Homeopathy and serves on the Board of Directors for the Council for Homeopathic Education. He is the President of the American Medical College of Homeopathy and the Society for the Establishment of Research in Classical Homeopathy.


  • I congratulate the author and HPathy and the editors of this amazing on line magazine that each month brings us so much news about the homeopathic world – I live in South America – Brasil and it is not easy to get in touch with new provings and the metodology of Scholten, Mangialavori, Sankaran and other great homeopaths of our time. Thank you all and greatest congratulations!

  • DEAR DR,

    • Dear Dr. Shekar

      Thank you for your comments. I agree that remedy comparisons are critical to effective prescribing and remedy differentiation. My experience however is that it is impossible to do effective remedy comparisons based on a single proving. These best occur after clinical case studies have been done and only then can new remedies be fit into the materia medica. I see the initial proving as only the first step in a lengthy process where new remedies gradually work their way into the materia medica and common usage.


      Todd Rowe

  • In the proving, you mention: 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.
    So, I was wondering what it means when the individuals who took the placebo could actually get the same symptoms as those who took the remedy…especially when this happens a lot? Could it be that because they were exposed to these (remedy taking) people, they took on similiar symptoms which they observed in others? Or, was some virus going around following taking the remedy affecting everyone? Or, does this proving have to be repeated with more people taking the placebo to check the remedy’s validity?

    • Hi Riva

      If homeopathic medicines are energy medicines, then when you conduct a proving, everyone who participates in the proving is effected by the energy of the proving-whether they take placebo or active remedy. This happens regardless of distance or location. There are systemic effects from this energy that permete the entire proving. My experience is that those individuals who take the placebo don’t have as lasting or as deep reaching effects as those who take the verum but they still experience the effects.



  • I have an idea for a novel way of proving a remedy. Perhaps, it’s been done, but here goes. Let’s say you gather volunteer homeopaths from around the country, different States, cities or even from other countries in order to do a very double blind proving of remedy X. . You send each one a packet with the unmarked remedy. Each homeopath picks a qualified prover and will administer the remedy to them and supervise the results. In this way, each prover is separated by some distance, and there is no chance that they can be influenced by another prover or homeopath.

    Further, perhaps the remedy potency administered can be larger than Avogadro’s number so there can later be no doubt to the conventional world that the remedy is working if, hopefully, provings of the remedy come back with similar results. Further, I would increase the amount of people taking the placebo, enough to show some pattern, and that it doesn’t reflect the actual remedy. I certainly would not tell the homeopathic supervisors how many people are participating in the proving, especially how many are taking placebos.
    If the proving is a success, it will: 1: be another plug for homeopathy in general, 2. provide a more accurate proving 3. investigate and reveal patterns of placebo.
    Best regards, Riva

    • HI Riva

      Excellent ideas. A few comments:
      1. Generally most provings use potencies that are beyond Avagadro’s number. As in the case with this proving, we used a 30C potency.
      2. I think that multicenter provings are a good way to go. What has prevented this to date has been cost and administrative time. It takes a lot more work and resources to orchestrate a proving in the way you suggest.
      3. We have worked in a limited way with this in the past. My experience is that provers and supervisors are effected by remedies regardless of distance.



  • Thanks again for your fascinating responses! I was not aware that remedies could “spread” their energy. Does this also happen when the provings are done with crude doses like 6CH?
    As a newly trained homeopath, this idea makes me a bit worried that the remedies i have stored in the same closet could spread their energy, effectively mixing with others, or even, what remedies i give to others on the spot could spread to me? I do recall that in a few occassions where i was treating children with first aid remedies, i noticed that i experienced mild symptoms of the remedies i gave. This was especially true when i momentarily handled a remedy to give to a small child or put the remedy in the child’s mouth. I now try to avoid this, but sometimes, there are emergencies where things get complicated.
    Best, Riva

    • Hi Riva

      Yes, energy effects happen at any potency but generally the lower potencies are more crude and more material, so producing less of an effect. Remedies stored near each other generally are not effected. However, you are correct that you can see this when administering a remedy. Much depends on your sensitivity and susceptibility to the given remedy. Intention is also very important. When someone does a proving, they intend to experience symptoms of the remedy and this intention opens them up to the energy field of the remedy. When you administer a remedy as a homeopathic practitioner, you do not intend to participate in the energy of the remedy and so you are much less likely to be influenced.



  • Hi,

    Congratulations on the excellent proving!

    I just wanted to let you know, however, that – unless the creature being proven is not truly Helix pomatia, or I am otherwise mistaken – the upper portion of the stated taxonomic tree is slightly incorrect.

    There are indeed some apparently-crustacean “sea animal” remedies used in homeopathy that are actually Arthopods – such as “Limulus cyclops” (Limulus polyphemus [Horseshoe Crab], which in fact is closer to the spiders and scorpions taxonomically), not to mention the Crustacea (all our crabs, lobsters, krill, and barnacles, crayfish, shrimp; eg. “Armadillium vulgare”, “Astacus fluviatilis”, “Homarus gammarus”, etc.) … so it’s an understandable mix-up. 🙂

    However, I believe that the snails, including the Helix genus (and, actually, the entire Pulmonata), are actually members of the Gastropoda (subphylum Crustaceae), and are not Arthropods at all!

    Of course, these taxonomic classifications are constantly undergoing revision and could easily be blown out of the water at some future date, so I wouldn’t be too worried about this minor misclassification.

    Even if not taxonomically-related to crustaceans, snails are – in my humble opinion – no doubt analogically-related to these and other shelled sea-dwelling creatures.

    As a result, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they could fit alongside Limulus, Homarus, Astacus, and other crustaceans into a homeopathic grouping which – although not strictly taxonomically-related by APG 3 (like Sankaran’s “Violales” or “Hamamilidae” groupings, for instance) – are homeopathically very similar, and can be treated as a grouping for the prescribing purposes.

    So, I guess the long and short of that rant is – there might be a taxonomic error, but I wouldn’t worry too much about it anyway! 🙂

    Take care,
    Dr. Andy Somody, B.Eng, C.B.H.T., C.C.H.(Ca), N.D.
    Naturopathic Doctor
    Certified Bowen Therapist
    Certified Classical Homeopath


Leave a Comment

узнать больше