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Deer velvet

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • Androstenedione, anti-complementary polysaccharide (DWA-2), antler, antler velvet, ash, bone, Cervidae (family), calcified cartilage, cartilage, Cervus elaphus,Cervus nippon, chondroitan sulfate, deer (Cervus elaphus), deer velvet, dehydroepiandrosterone, dermis, elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni), estradiol, European red deer (Cervus elaphus L.), lipids, pantocrin, pilose antler of Cervus nippon, progesterone, protein, red deer, Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni), rulondin, sika deer, Temminck, testosterone, velvet antler, Velvet deer antler.

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Deer velvet, also referred to as antler velvet, refers to antlers that have been removed in the growth stage when they are covered in soft velvet-like hair. These antlers are dried and the ground powder is sold as a dietary supplement in Western countries to purportedly improve sexual function and overall energy, decrease stress, and strengthen the body (1). According to secondary sources, in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) deer velvet has been used as a yang tonic to regulate the endocrine system and alter energy metabolism, growth, the immune system, and sexual function.
  • In the 1930s research on the medicinal properties of "pantocrin" (a deer velvet extract) was conducted in Russia. A similar extract "rulondin" was used as an injectable treatment for male sexual disorders by Japanese clinicians in the 1960s (1).
  • There is currently insufficient available clinical evidence to support the use of deer velvet for any indication. High quality clinical studies are needed before any strong recommendation can be made and safety can be assessed.

Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.