Perhaps one of the most interesting uses of velvet antler in traditional Chinese medicine is to help increase the sexual power of men with erectile dysfunction. Many formulas treating sexual disorders contain deer antler as the primary ingredient.
Interestingly, it also has been prescribed for both male and female infertility.
The Chinese verbiage includes the use of velvet antler for many types of kidney dysfunctions, impotence, cold extremities, soreness, lack of strength in the lower back and knees, and frequent and copious urination. It is also touted for potentially helping a weak and thready pulse. Further investigation into the allegations of the healing prowess of velvet antler shows that it has also been used to help support treatment for anemia, dizziness, malnutrition, loss of muscle tissue, wasting diseases, and even to support immune stimulation. As a side benefit, most of the Chinese books on medical applications of velvet antler claim that it can help increase heart function and is included in treatment for irregular heartbeats or for people suffering with poor circulation.
As with many preparations used in Chinese medicine, velvet antler can be combined with many herbs to enhance its muscle-building stamina-producing, and medicinal properties. One of the more striking combinations is what the Chinese call the strong Man Bao; also known as a super aphrodisiac. They claim this is an excellent tonic for sexual prowess when velvet antler and ginseng are combined together. As we will discuss later, researchers have demonstrated that velvet antler contains both IGF -1 and luteinizing hormone and luteinizing hormone increases testosterone which may provide a basis for some of these more eclectic claims. More importantly, there is solid scientific evidence to show that ginseng stimulates increased levels of testosterone. However, the Chinese actually make the claim that the velvet antler is the primary remedy for male impotence, premature ejaculation, and general sexual debility. Their claim includes increased vitality, improved metabolism, and improved mental awareness, as well as increased circulation.
Another powerhouse combination is that of deer antler velvet and eurycoma longifolia (also called Long Jack). This plant is native to Southeastern Asian countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia, and has been traditionally used in certain Asian cultures for its aphrodisiacal attributes. It is known to help your body naturally increase testosterone levels and raise libido, as well as helping to support lean muscle growth and help reduce fat. When combined with IGF-1, the two compounds can work together to achieve the desired effect.
Other more elaborate claims for the use of velvet antler include helping improve menstrual disorders in women, helping increase sexual drive in women, supporting weight loss, and helping improve slow growth in children; even nursing mothers have been encouraged to take velvet antler to help build strong, healthy babies. The Koreans are the world's greatest consumers of velvet antler, the average family purchasing about 30 grams of velvet antler per year, and actually 80% of the world's production of velvet antler goes to the Korean market. New Zealand is also a larger producer of velvet antler and exports went from three tons in 1978 to 400 tons in 1992.
There is also research suggesting that deer antler has inflammatory properties, which we will explore further in next week’s blog!
Excerpt adapted from: Velvet Deer Antler: The Ultimate Antiaging Supplement by Dr. Alex Duarte, 2000.