Deer velvet is the common name of a product made from growing antlers of deer, during a stage when they are covered in soft velvety hair. New Zealand is a major exporter of deer velvet, shipping tens of millions of dollars worth to Asia and the U.S. each year.
According to Asian tradition, deer velvet has “tonic” properties, meaning that it tends to enhance energy and vitality. More recently, it has been called an “
The only indisputable example of an adaptogen is a healthful lifestyle. By eating right, exercising regularly, and generally living a life of balance and moderation, you will increase your physical fitness and ability to resist illnesses of all types. The herb
What is Deer Antler Used for Today?
In the 1960s, an injectible form of deer velvet was used by Japanese physicians to treat male sexual dysfunction
In this study, 32 healthy men age 45–60 were given either deer velvet (1 gram daily) or placebo for 12 weeks.
A 6-month, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 168 people with rheumatoid arthritis failed to find that elk velvet antler enhanced the effectiveness of conventional treatment for
Deer antler contains
A typical dosage of deer antler is 1 gram daily, taken all at once or divided throughout the day.
Other than occasional allergic reactions, deer velvet does not appear to cause many obvious, immediate side effects. However, there are concerns based on contamination with the tranquilizers and anesthetics used during the process of removing the horn from the deer. One of these substances used, xylazine, is carcinogenic, and studies have found that low but potentially dangerous levels of xylazine are contained in deer antler product. 12
Another set of risks derives from the proposed effects of deer velvet: raising male hormone levels. If deer velvet did in fact increase male hormones as it is advertised to do, this could lead to a range of potential problems; however, as noted above, there is no real evidence that deer velvet actually does raise such hormones.
Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or people with severe liver or kidney disease has not been established.
3. Ivankina NF, Isay SV, Busarova NG, et al. Prostaglandin-like activity, fatty acid and phospholipid composition of sika deer ( Cervus nippon ) antlers at different growth stages. Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol . 1993;106:159–162.
4. Price JS, Oyajobi BO, Oreffo RO, et al. Cells cultured from the growing tip of red deer antler express alkaline phosphatase and proliferate in response to insulin-like growth factor-I. J Endocrinol . 1994;143:R9–R16.
5. Zhou QL, Guo YJ, Wang LJ, et al. Velvet antler polypeptides promoted proliferation of chondrocytes and osteoblast precursors and fracture healing. Zhongguo Yao Li Xue Bao . 0253-9756. 1999;20:279–282.
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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