URL of this page: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/808.html

Deer Velvet

What is it?

Deer velvet covers the growing bone and cartilage that develops into deer antlers. People use deer velvet as medicine for a wide range of health problems.

People try deer velvet for a long list of conditions, but there is no scientific evidence to support these uses.

How effective is it?

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.

The effectiveness ratings for DEER VELVET are as follows:

Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for...

  • Athletic performance. Early research shows that taking deer velvet extract or powder does not improve strength in active males. However, it might improve endurance by a small amount.
  • Sexual desire. Early research shows that taking deer velvet powder does not improve sexual function or desire in men.
  • Acne.
  • Asthma.
  • Cancer.
  • High blood pressure.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Immune system function.
  • Indigestion.
  • Muscle aches and pains.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of deer velvet for these uses.

How does it work?

Deer velvet contains multiple substances including the female sex hormones estrone and estradiol. It also contains substances which may help cells grow and function.

Are there safety concerns?

Deer velvet is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth for up to 12 weeks. It is not known what possible side effects deer velvet might have.

Special precautions & warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking deer velvet if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Deer velvet might act like estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don't use deer velvet.

Are there interactions with medications?

Minor
Be watchful with this combination.
Birth control pills (Contraceptive drugs)
Some birth control pills contain the hormone estrogen. Deer velvet contains hormones. Taking deer velvet along with birth control pills might change the effects of birth control pills. If you take birth control pills along with deer velvet, use an additional form of birth control such as a condom.

Some of these drugs include ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel (Triphasil), ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone (Ortho-Novum 1/35, Ortho-Novum 7/7/7), and others.
Estrogens
Deer velvet contains a small amount of hormones. Taking deer velvet along with estrogen pills might change the effects of estrogen pills.

Some estrogen pills include conjugated equine estrogens (Premarin), ethinyl estradiol, estradiol, and others.

Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?

There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.

Are there interactions with foods?

There are no known interactions with foods.

What dose is used?

The appropriate dose of deer velvet depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for deer velvet. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Other names

Andouiller de Cerf, Antler Velvet, Bois de Cerf, Bois de Cerf Rouge, Bois de Chevreuil, Bois de Velours, Bois de Wapiti, Cervus elaphus, Cervus nippon, Cornu Cervi Parvum, Deer Antler, Deer Antler Velvet, Elk Antler, Elk Antler Velvet, Horns of Gold, Lu Rong, Nokyong, Rokujo, Terciopelo de Cuerno de Venado, Velours de Cerf, Velvet Antler, Velvet Dear Antler, Velvet of Young Deer Horn.

Methodology

To learn more about how this article was written, please see the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database methodology.

References

  1. Bubenik, G. A., Miller, K. V., Lister, A. L., Osborn, D. A., Bartos, L., and van der Kraak, G. J. Testosterone and estradiol concentrations in serum, velvet skin, and growing antler bone of male white-tailed deer. J Exp Zoolog.A Comp Exp Biol 3-1-2005;303:186-192. View abstract.
  2. Sleivert, G., Burke, V., Palmer, C., Walmsley, A., Gerrard, D., Haines, S., and Littlejohn, R. The effects of deer antler velvet extract or powder supplementation on aerobic power, erythropoiesis, and muscular strength and endurance characteristics. Int J Sport Nutr.Exerc.Metab 2003;13:251-265. View abstract.
  3. Conaglen, H. M., Suttie, J. M., and Conaglen, J. V. Effect of deer velvet on sexual function in men and their partners: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Arch Sex Behav. 2003;32:271-278. View abstract.
  4. Zhang, H., Wanwimolruk, S., Coville, P. F., Schofield, J. C., Williams, G., Haines, S. R., and Suttie, J. M. Toxicological evaluation of New Zealand deer velvet powder. Part I: acute and subchronic oral toxicity studies in rats. Food Chem.Toxicol. 2000;38:985-990. View abstract.
  5. Shibasaki, K., Sano, H., Matsukubo, T., and Takaesu, Y. pH response of human dental plaque to chewing gum supplemented with low molecular chitosan. Bull Tokyo Dent Coll 1994;35:61-66. View abstract.
  6. Ko KM, Yip TT, Tsao SW, et al. Epidermal growth factor from deer (Cervus elaphus) submaxillary gland and velvet antler (abstract). Gen Comp Endocrinol 1986;3:431-40. View abstract.
  7. Anon. Human clinical trials show significant results for New Zealand deer antler velvet's effect on sports performance. www.prnewswire.com (Accessed 7 March 2000).
  8. Goldsmith LA. The velvet case. Arch Dermatol 1988;124:768.
  9. Kim HS, Lim HK, Park WK. Antinarcotic effects of the velvet antler water extract on morphine in mice (abstract). J Ethnopharmacol 1999;66:41-9. View abstract.
  10. Huang KC. The pharmacology of Chinese herbs. 2nd ed. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, LLC 1999;266-7.
  11. Bensky D, Gamble A, Kaptchuk T. Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica. Seattle, WA: Eastland Press. 1996;483-5.
Last reviewed - 10/26/2019