Ethnopharmacological relevance Soup prepared from the foot of fresh water edible snail, Bellamya bengalensis, is traditionally consumed by the tribes of Jharkhand against rheumatism like bone and joint inflammation. As rheumatism has underlying involvement of cell mediated hypersensitivity, in vivo delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) model and in vitro LPS-induced macrophage signaling were studied to delineate the mechanism by which Bellamya bengalensis exerts its ethnomedicinal function. Since the whole meat is consumed, the lipid of Bellamya bengalensis (BBL) was hypothesized to be the active part. Methods and materials BBL isolated from the foot part of this species, was characterized and given by gavage daily (10 mg BBL/kg; 20 mg BBL/kg) to mice for 3 weeks prior to initiating development of DTH. Effects of DTH induced changes in paw diameter, serum nitric oxide (NO), serum tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α level, CINC1 level, splenic CD4+/CD8+ cell ratios, and level of splenic Treg cells were then compared with values in untreated control mice. In vitro effect of BBL on LPS-stimulated macrophage, the immune cell that is active in DTH, was assessed by NF-kB p65 nuclear translocation, reactive oxygen species (ROS), TNFα, and NO production. Results BBL was characterized, and its supplementation in situ led to significant decrease in paw edema, tissue myeloperoxidase activity, NO level, serum TNFα level and CINC 1 level as well as decrease in splenic CD4+/CD8+ ratios and increase in level of Treg cells. BBL was shown to inhibit ROS, NO, and TNFα production along with NF-kB p65 nuclear translocation in LPS stimulated macrophage. Conclusion Bellamya bengalensis, traditionally used against diseases with underlying etiology of cell mediated immunity as in rheumatism, which acts through inhibition of overexpressed cell mediated immunity. The factor exerting this activity probably is the oleic acid and cyclopropane fatty acid rich lipid, isolated after the ethnomedicinal clue, from the foot of this species. © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.