Snails are one of the most underrated commodities on the African market. Apart from the meat which is high in protein and calcium and gives your taste board that elongated savory experience, the mucus of snails has high molecular weight glycoproteins and antioxidants which work some magic on your skin. Over 460, 000 metric tons of snails is sold globally with an estimated value of eleven billion US dollars, and a liter of slime from Helix aspera (the common garden snail species) is worth about a hundred euros at the European market or eighty-six pounds sterling in Great Britain.
Mucus secretion is an adaptive mechanism of snails which help them to take cover against external threats. However, a single snail can release different kinds of mucus depending on the gravity of pressure or threat it is exposed to. When the snail is stimulated on normal level, the slime produced is sticky but when viciously and continuously disturbed it releases clear foamy secretions. More so, snail slime varies in appearance and quality depending on environmental conditions, season and feeding of the snails.
The snail mucus is known for its capacity to repair damaged tissues and balance hydration in the body. The secretion of the snail is said to have two principal functions when applied on the human skin. These include; stimulation of the formation of collagen, elastin and dermal components that repair the signs of photoaging and minimization of damage generated by free radicals that are responsible for premature skin aging. According to a study published in the Journal of Dermato logical Treatment (2009), snail mucus was used for burn treatment in 43 burn patients and 27 patients who topically applied snail cream twice per day witnessed remarkable improvements on their skins.
The benefits of snail slime in skincare was officially discovered by Dr. Rafael Abad Iglesias, a Spanish oncologist in the 1960s. Having applied the Radiation Therapy for killing cancer cells on common snails which aroused the snails to secrete goo as they continued to agitate for survival, Dr. Raphael accidentally noticed that injured areas on the snail’s skin were healed quickly. Then he tested the snail secretion on humans and concluded that it could help expedite the restorability of the human skin. Consequently, several cosmetic companies across board have begun to leverage on snail filtration as a potent ingredient in skincare. The United states in particular has been flooded with a lot of snail creams, essences and masks since 2011.
Helix aspera’s sticky slimy excretion is mostly used in cosmetic production as it contains hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid, glycoprotein enzymes, proteoglycans antimicrobials and copper peptides which provide hydrating, antioxidizing and recovering properties which when topically applied to the skin give a glowing youthful complexion. The snail mucin has been known for wound healing and improvement of wrinkles and fine lines.
People now typically undergo a sort of snail therapy known as snail spar treatment. There are two methods of this treatment. The first which was advanced by Dr Matthew Schulman of New York involves micro-needling the snail secretion filtrate and hyaluronic acid into the human skin; the second which was more common in Asian countries involves when customers lie down and experience the garden snails crawling and excreting goey trails across their faces.
The Igbeja snail village, a multimillion dollar project of FarmKonnect Nigeria in Okemesi, Ekiti state, Nigeria, is to house a hundred snail breeding units and turn out 2,600 Tons of snails per annum, making it the largest snail facility in Africa. The idea is to increase the protein consumption of Nigerians and Africans at large for their nutritional well being; to supply snail slimes for both local and international industries specializing in cosmetic production and to create a snail theme resort for people to relax and treat their body while they have a good spar treatment.