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Deer Velvet

What is it?

Deer velvet covers the growing bone and cartilage that becomes deer antlers. It's sometimes used as medicine in Western countries.

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

People use deer velvet for athletic performance, high blood pressure, increasing sexual desire, asthma, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

How effective is it?

There is interest in using deer velvet for a number of purposes, but there isn't enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.

Is it safe?

When taken by mouth: Deer velvet is possibly safe when used for up to 12 weeks. But there isn't enough reliable information to know what the side effects might be.

Special precautions & warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if deer velvet is safe to use when 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?

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.
Deer velvet contains a small amount of hormones. Taking deer velvet along with estrogen pills might change the effects of estrogen pills.

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.

How is it typically used?

There isn't enough reliable information to know what an appropriate dose of deer velvet might be. 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 a 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.


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


  1. Yoo J, Lee J, Zhang M, et al. Enhanced ?-aminobutyric acid and sialic acid in fermented deer antler velvet and immune promoting effects. J Anim Sci Technol 2022;64:166-182. View abstract.
  2. Cheng WJ, Yang HT, Chiang CC, et al. Deer Velvet Antler Extracts Exert Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Arthritic Effects on Human Rheumatoid Arthritis Fibroblast-Like Synoviocytes and Distinct Mouse Arthritis. Am J Chin Med 2022;50:1617-1643. View abstract.
  3. Li Q, Zhang L, Qian X, et al. Efficacy of Chinese herbal prescriptions containing Ejiao or Velvet antler for management of uterine fibroids: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Ann Palliat Med 2021;10:8772-86. View abstract.
  4. Haines SR, McCann MJ, Grosvenor AJ, Thomas A, Noble A, Clerens S. ACE inhibitory peptides in standard and fermented deer velvet: an in silico and in vitro investigation. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2019 Dec 5;19:350. View abstract.
  5. Zhang P, Guo Z, Ma L, Wang G, Zhao Y. Investigation of anti-fatigue effect and simultaneous determination of eight nucleosides in different parts of velvet antler in red deer and sika deer. Chem Biodivers. 2020 Feb;17:e1900512. View abstract.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Anon. Human clinical trials show significant results for New Zealand deer antler velvet's effect on sports performance. (Accessed 7 March 2000).
  11. Goldsmith LA. The velvet case. Arch Dermatol 1988;124:768.
  12. 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.
  13. Huang KC. The pharmacology of Chinese herbs. 2nd ed. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, LLC 1999;266-7.
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Last reviewed - 06/15/2023