The secretion produced by the snails of Helix Aspersa Müller species, commonly referred to as ‘slime’, is a liquid, viscous substance covering the entire external surface of the mollusk. This secretion, which has an acid pH equal to approximately 3, is produced by special epidermal secretory salivary glands, which are proteinaceous mucous and located on the foot of the snail (suprapedal glands). The mucous has several functions, it has emollient, hydrating, lubricant and adhesive properties, it actually enhances the animal's adherence to walls and other surfaces, enabling it to cling on to and climb up vertical or irregular surfaces without falling down. Its continuous sliding on different types of uneven or rough surfaces causes the snail to produce a mucous rich with substances that act at a cellular level leading to a rapid replacement of the damaged tissues. The snail reacts to skin damage by producing a large quantity of mucous that has a protective function thanks to the antimicrobial and active substances inside it, which stimulate the cellular regeneration of the damaged tissues. When the slime is secreted due to continuous cyclical stimulation, by means of special slime-producing solutions, the snail produces a clear, foamy, pale yellow mucous, which is non-sticky, much more fluid and much less viscous than the one produced under normal conditions (extracted slime).
The therapeutic properties of snail slime have been known for many years; as far back as in Ancient Greece snail slime was traditionally used in medicine for therapeutic purposes to treat stomach diseases such as peptic ulcers and gastritis, to heal wounds, to staunch blood flows and in syrup form to calm coughs and loosen phlegm. Due to its extraordinary properties, this prodigious raw material has intrigued many academics, researchers and scientists who, over the years, have sought to investigate thoroughly the authenticity of its potential and to analyze chemically its content in order to uncover the exact nature of its constituents.
The characterization process of snail slime is, due to its complex nature, still a work-in-progress. Today it is known to contain numerous constituents, in particular substances that can have an antioxidant, healing, antibacterial, hydrating, regenerative, anti-wrinkle, anti-stretch mark, purifying, anti-blemish and protective properties. For this reason, it has stirred up a lot of interest, especially within the pharmaceutical, medical and cosmetic fields - for the preparation of products mainly intended for topical use, and for the formulation of medical treatments aimed at treating and preventing bronchial and gastric diseases.
Thanks to the numerous qualitative and quantitative analyses conducted on snail slime, it has been possible to identify and determine all the specific constitutive elements present. This raw material is considered high-quality and featuring all its renowned properties only when it contains all the molecules required to synergistically determine its action.
The main molecules characterizing snail slime are:
ALLANTOIN • GLYCOLIC ACID • COLLAGEN • ELASTIN • EXFOLIATING LACTIC ACID • MUCOPOLYSACCHARIDES (sulfated and non-sulfated GAGs) • VITAMINS A, C, E, B1 and B6 • FREE AMINOACIDS • PEPTIDES • PROTEINS • ENZIMES • MOLECULES WITH ANTIPROTEASE ACTION