Back to Africa Check

Lemon, snail slime and tomatoes won’t ‘remove appendix’ – visit doctor for appendicitis

“Appendix total removal,” reads a message posted on the Nigeria-based Facebook page “Sure Truth”. It adds: “You shall not die young.”

The message claims drinking a mixture of lemon juice, snail slime and tomatoes will cure appendicitis.

“Crush tomatoes, press lemon juice in a cup then with a wood break the pointed shell of the snail,” it reads. “There's a liquid that will flow, collect the liquid and make a good mixture of the tomatoes, pour lemon and snail juice that you collected from the snail, drink this mixture once and forget the problem till the end of your life, 100%tested.”

The appendix is a small, thin pouch in the lower right side of your belly (abdomen), connected to the large intestine. Appendicitis is when the appendix gets inflamed. It usually starts with a pain in the middle of your belly. The pain then travels to the lower right side and becomes more severe.

If appendicitis left untreated, the appendix could rupture and release bacteria into your abdominal cavity, which could lead to death.

Will a mixture of lemon juice, snail slime and tomatoes “totally remove” the appendix?

Only surgery can remove appendix

Idowu Fadeyibi, a professor of surgery at the Lagos State University college of medicine, told Africa Check that there was no scientific basis for the mixture.

“People should be very wary of taking untested and unsafe mixtures such as this, especially when they have appendicitis,” he said.

Fadeyibi said appendicitis could be dangerous if left untreated, and drinking mixtures that had not been tested as safe and effective could lead to complications.

He said that appendicitis could flare up again in some people – the appendix could become inflamed again at any point. These people would need different treatment options.

But in other people, the infection could be persistent and they may need to have their appendix removed as soon as possible. Otherwise it might rupture, which could be deadly.

“The permanent solution to appendicitis is to have the appendix surgically removed through a procedure called an appendectomy,” he said.

The British National Health Service says: “Nobody knows exactly what the appendix does, but removing it is not harmful.” – Catherine Olorunfemi


Republish our content for free

Please complete this form to receive the HTML sharing code.

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.