Substances & Homeopatic Remedies

Venus mercenaria

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Venus mercenaria / Mercenaria mercenaria



Traditional name

English: American hard-shelled clam, little-neck clam, quahog, cherry stone clam.

Used parts

Mother tincture of the mollusc, plus an equal part of a trituration at 1/100, of the shell.


Animalia; Mollusca - Molluscs; Gastropoda - Snails; Bivalvia - Mussels; Eulamellibranchiata ; Anisomyaria ; Pectinidae


sea remedy

Original proving

The proving, after a suggestion by D. M. Foubister, was conducted by Raeside in 1961-62 on nineteen provers, plus seven controls, during three terms, one dose morning and evening for fourteen days, using the following potencies: 30C - 1st term, 12C - 2nd term. 6C - 3rd term. The third term produced the most symptoms.

Description of the substance

Edible clam of the North American Atlantic coast, also known as round clam. The species also occurs on the south coast of England and the French coast. Both countries have a successful clam industry.
Clams are closely related to oyster, scallop and mussel. Clams are a family of double-valved invertebrates distributed over the seas of the whole world. The family has around 500 species, is mainly common in tropical waters and stands out because of its sometimes beautifully shaped and coloured shells. The colour pattern often consists of a combination of the letter V upside-down. Clams dig themselves into the sea bed. They feed on plankton. The clam changes its sex in the course of its life; it begins as a male and then becomes female. This unusual form of hermaphroditism enables seed cells to first be produced and then eggs, although some species produce male and female reproductive products the whole year round. The clam deposits these reproductive products in the water on the basis of changes in the water temperature [particularly when it increases]. The clam is a good digger, and first feels the sea bed with its foot to test it. If it is suitable, it anchors itself and pulls its shell behind it under the sand.
"The soft body of the clam is enclosed within two thick shells composed mainly of calcium carbonate. These shells, which can be as large as a human hand, are hinged by a ligamentous joint along the back. There are few differences between the clam and the oyster. Both live and grow in similar natural surroundings, clams growing and propagating well in old oyster beds. The oyster is, however, more sedentary, attaching itself to a rock or lying on the sand for its whole life. It does not dig in like a clam, as it has not developed a hatchet foot." [Raeside]
Mussels and clams may ingest a poisonous dinoflagellate [red tide] from June to October that produces a toxin not destroyed by cooking. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps, and death can occur as a result of respiratory failure.
"Dr. Poppelbaum in his book A New Zoology described the molluscs as head animals. They have no middle organisation with its metameric repetition, but everything is irregularly packed up and wrapped together like the intestines in the human abdomen, where asymmetry and twist prevail. The mollusc muscles all are smooth like intestinal muscle, and their movements are slow and unconscious. The bivalve, he says, is like a brain and brain case or skull, with the sensory appendages reduced. These animals have no separate head, because as a whole they are head." [Raeside]
Clams are not to be confused with the scallop genus of molluscs. One member of this genus is Pecten jacobaeus, which Clarke has briefly described. The scallop is both the emblem of Spanish pilgrims and a well-known brand of petrol. Julian's description is confusing. As a synonym to Venus mercenaria, he cites the name 'comb of America.' This suggests a scallop, since they are shaped like a comb or cape. The habitat that he then describes, however, is not correct. [Vermuelen]

Mercenaria mercenaria originates from the east-coast of N. America (Nova Scotia, Canada to Yucatan, Mexico. The first live specimen was found in the Humber in 1864 and last recorded from Cleethorpes in 1907 (Heppell 1961). It was successfully introduced from the USA, possibly the New York area, in 1925 to Southampton Water (Mitchell 1974). There were earlier introductions but none resulted in the establishment of self-sustaining populations.
The population has apparently increased since the 1950s, possibly due to occupying the niche of the soft-shelled clam Mya arenaria, which was eliminated from the estuary by the cold winters of 1947 and 1962/63 (Mitchell 1974). The Mya arenaria population has never recovered. Favourable physical conditions are likely to be the prime reason for the original colonisation. There were ideal estuarine conditions available i.e. lowered salinity and soft substrata with temperatures elevated by power station cooling water discharges.