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Velvet Antler: Traditional Medicine
Backed By Modern Research


Velvet antler is a popular tonic that has been used mainly in the Orient for centuries. Velvet antler is deer horn that is cut from the deer after approximately 65 days of growth. Elk, Sika, Red Deer and Reindeer are the common species from which the horn is cut. Traditionally, velvet antler is used for a wide variety of ailments. These include: anemia, arthritis, impotence, spermatorrhea, menopausal complaints and as an aphrodisiac.

Recently, there has been a renewed interest both in the East and West concerning the effect of velvet antler. This interest has developed into modern research investigating the pharmacology of velvet antler.

According to Oriental Medical Theory, velvet antler strongly builds the kidney. The kidneys, in Oriental medicine, are the storehouse for the body's deepest and most basic energies. These energies control growth, reproductive functioning, the skeletal system and aspects of circulation and concentration.

Research on velvet antler has been conducted in eight general areas:

  1. Hormonal Effects. Velvet antler has been shown to boost testosterone levels. (This hormone promotes male characteristics). It has also been shown to boost estrogen levels. (This hormone promotes female characteristics). The estrogen hormone most affected by velvet antler is estradiol. Estradiol is a precursor to testosterone.
  2. Blood Building Effects. Tests with preparations of velvet antler have shown it to increase production of both red blood cells (to a higher degree) and white blood cells (to a lesser degree). These facts are linked with velvet antler's ability to increase oxygen uptake to the brain, liver and kidneys. Protection Against Stress. Velvet antler helps the body to maintain homeostasis against heat, cold and electric shock. This has been linked to velvet antler's ability to decrease mast cell degranulation.
  3. Protection From Liver Damage. In a controlled test, velvet antler helped to protect lab animals from liver damage by carbon tetrachloride.
  4. Stimulation of Growth. Velvet antler is an extremely rich, fast growing tissue that contains many growth factors. Elk can grow up to 50 pounds of new bone in a approximately two months. Due to its fast rate of growth, deer antler is being looked at as a model for studies on osteoporosis, arteriosclerosis, as a possible graft for healing fractures and as a model for cancer studies.
  5. Aging Retardation. Recent studies in Japan show that velvet reduced signs normally associated with senility. This is probably due to its hormonal effects.
  6. Recovery From Traumatic Injury. Antler, as an extremely fast growing tissue, is comprised of many cell types. These include: fibroblasts, chondroblast, chondrocytes and others. All of these are required for healthy growing bones and tissue. Velvet antler is high in calcium and phosphates which aid in the healing of bones. Research has shown that velvet antler helps to heal neural (nerve) tissue. This mechanism can be explained by velvet antler's ability to enhance glycosis to nerve tissue. Velvet antler's relationship to recovery from traumatic injury could possibly explain its effectiveness against arthritis.
  7. Reduction of Blood Pressure. Blood pressure reduction is due to velvet ander's ability to increase dilation of the peripheral blood vessels.

Velvet antler is also widely known as an aphrodisiac. Its reputation as an aphrodisiac originated through ancient medicine and folklore from the East. According to modern research, velvet antler has shown gonadotropic activity. This means that it can stimulate growth and increase the weight of both the seminal vesicles and prostate.

Velvet antler can boost hormonal activity, increase oxygen up-take to the brain, liver and kidneys, decrease the rate of muscle fatigue, and promote muscular growth. It is extremely useful to both physical and mental activity as well as in promoting healing.

In addition to the historic data on the use of antler velvet for medicinal purposes, and the continuing research worldwide, the University of Alberta's Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Sciences has been, in conjunction with InnerSense, conducting their own study of velvet. The following is an abstract written by
Professor jeong S. Sim PhD for an oral presentation he made to the 3rd World Congress of Medical Acupuncture and Natural Medicine. This is the first time this congress has been held outside of mainland China and is an international event endorsed by the Prime Minister and the Government of Canada.

Chemical and Pharmacological Characterization of Canadian Elk (Cervus elaphus) Antler Extracts
Jeong S. Sim, Hoon. H. Sunwoo and Robert J. Hudson
Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta and
Steve L. Kurylo
InnerSense International Inc.

Elk farming is a new and rapidly emerging industry in Canada as an alternative form of animal agriculture. Despite the economic opportunity, enthusiasm has been dampened by incomplete understanding of the uses and pharmacological properties of velvet antler. Very limited information is
available in the West concerning its chemical and pharmacological properties assessed by animal and human experimentations. However, traditional medical reports and clinical observations from the Eastern world convincingly show that deer antler contains an active component(s) which influence body metabolism in general (stimulating and tonic), protect and restore damaged organ tissues (accelerating healing/recovery from injury), promote immune and phagocytic functions (anti-inflammation, anti-arthritis), slow the aging process, have hypotensive-vascular effects, and enhance gonadotrophic and thyroid functions.

The objective of this p4per is to report our preliminary investigations conducted at the University of Alberta (Product Technology Laboratory) on the chemical compositions and subsequently pharmacological characteristics of various fractions of fresh Wapiti antler extracts both in vivo and in
vitro. Results to date show that antler fractions contain both potent growth promoting and cytotoxic factors in rat fibroblasts. The anticipated outcome of this study provides important practical information on antler products for future studies to explore its pharmaceutical and medicinal uses in the West.


InnerSense International Inc. makes no medical claim or specific recommendation for the use of their products either direct or implied for any real or imagined medical aliment.

1995 InnerSense Aug/95