Chinese Name : 鹿茸
Latin Name : Cornu Cervi Parvum
This herb is the tender, nonossific, velvet antler of the young adult male deer, scientifically known as Cervus Nippon Temminck or Cervus elaphus Linnaeus of the family Cervidae. The former is the spotted deer and the latter is the horse deer. Both are found in the northern and northeastern provinces as well as in the Xinjiang, Tibet, Qinghai, and Gansu provinces, and Inner mongolia of China. Spotted and horse deer populations are found in other parts of the world, including North America, Europe, Siberia, India, and New Zealand.
When these tender antlers begin to grow, they are blood-filled tissue and covered with a soft, furry skin. If the velvet horn is not removed in a timely manner, it hardens into a bonelike substance.
The pilose antler (three to five inches) is usually sawed off in the summer or early autumn. It is then cleaned, dried in the shade or baked dry in low heat, then sliced or ground into powder for use. Pilose antler is used to reinforce the vital function of the kidneys, strengthen the bones and muscles, and to treat sexual dysfunction, neurasthenia, and anemia.
Use of Pilose Antler in TCM
Sweet and salty in taste, and warm, it acts on the liver and kidney meridians.
Effects, Medicinal Uses, and Combinations
- Tones the kidney yang: the powder of pilose antler can be used for symptoms such as male impotence, spermatorrhea, female infertility due to coldness of the uterus, frequent urination, soreness of the loins or knees, dizziness, tinnitus, listlessness as a result of insufficiency of kidney yang, and consumption of the Vital Essence (Jing) and blood. Pilose antler is combined with other yang tonic herbs, such as ginseng root, processed rehmannia root, lycium fruit, schisandra fruit, Chinese yam, eucommia, cornus, archyranthes, cuscuta, and ophiogon, as in Shi Bu Wan, and used to treat male impotence. Another complex recipe containing pilose antler, Gui Ling Ji, is an excellent patent medicine for the treatment of kidney –yang deficiency, and male and female sexual debility.
- Strengthens the vigor of muscles, tendons, and bones: for deficiency of the kidney and liver, characterized by weakness of extremities, in sufficient infantile growth or abnormal development, and skeletal deformities in youth, pilose antler is taken with the patended medicine of Jia Wei Di Huang Wan or it is blended with Chinese angelica, processed rehmannia, cornus fruit, and Chinese yam.
- Nourishes Qi and Blood, and speeds up wound healing: for carbuncles, chronic or prolonged ulceration, or boils that do not heal easly, pilose antler is often combined with astragalus root, cinnamon bark, and Chinese angelica.
- Regulates the Chong and Ren meridians, normalizes the Dai meridian, and corrects the symptoms of yang deficiency: for metrorrhagia or metrostaxis, pilose antler is used in conjunction with donkey-hide gelatin, cuttlebone, Chinese angelica, white peony, and processed rehmannia.
As a fine powder (in capsules or tablets), 0.5 to 2 g daily. Pilose antler can also be soaked in wine for oral administration. A modern herbal product, pantocrin, is a pharmaceutically prepared liquid form of pilose antler. This product can be taken orally, thrity to forty drops, three times a day. Intramuscular injections can be administered at a dosage of 1 milliliter (ml), three times a day. Pilose antler should be taken with caution and in small doses in the beginning (i.e., less than one gram) gradually increasing the dose as needed. Never overdose with this herb.
People with kidney-yang hyperactivity or with deficiency, fever and Heat in the lungs, or with epidemic febrile disease should avoid taking pilose antler and its preparations.
Side Effects and Toxicity
No undesirable side effects or toxicity were reported at the therapeutic dose in classical Chinese materia medica.
Deer velvet contains pantocrinum lecithin, lipids, oestrone, prostaglandin, nucleotide, cloline, vitamins, enzymes, twenty-five different amino acids (alanine, arginine, asparagine, cysteine, glutamate, glycine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, proline, serine, threonine, tryptophan, tyrosine, valine, and others), minerals (Ca,Cu,P,Fe,Mn,Zn,Se,S,Na,K,and Mg), and trace minerals.
- Used as a general tonic, pilose antler increases ability, endurance, and efficiency of working, decreases muscle fatigue, improves sleep and appetite and regulates CNS functions.
- As an immunological agent pilose antler increases the regeneration of red blood cells, hemoglobin, and reticulocytes and increase immune
- As a gonadotrophic it improves male and female sexual function, and increases secreation of semen.
- A medium dose increases heart contractions, heart rate and output. This action is more noticeable in patients with heart fatigue.
- Stomachic and antiulcer properties were observed in rats.
- Increases the tension of the uterus and rhythmic contraction.