The medicinal extract coming from velvet antler has plenty of uses worldwide. Antlers adorn certain animals and may be large, elaborate, and extravagant. These horns also grow very rapidly, which gives producers of the extract time to harvest the antlers not just for decoration, but also as supplement.
Velvet antler over the years
Using velvet antler is nothing new. For thousands of years it had been used medicinally in Chinese culture, as evidenced by Chinese ancient scrolls that date back to 100 B.C. Traditional Chinese medicine considers velvet antler to help increase blood in the body, which translates to more energy. On the Chinese take, this means a better Yin Yang balance. This information has been released by the Reindeer Research Program. Up until now, velvet antler is traded commercially in certain parts of Asia including Russia, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, and of course China.
Harvesting and processing of velvet antlers
Velvet antlers are taken from deer antlers at an early stage. This means that the antler has not fully developed and still has a soft, velvety texture since the horn has not calcified. Calcified horns are hard. To extract the antler from the deer, the use of a local anesthetic is necessary. Velvet antler is then dried using techniques such as hot water dips and air-freeze drying. Once the antler has dried properly, it is then ground into powder form and used for a variety of purposes.
New Zealand, being the major producer of velvet antlers, follows a regulated procedure that requires national training. According to the statement of the Reindeer Research Program, over 400,000 kg of velvet antlers are harvested every year in New Zealand alone.
Forms of velvet antler supplement
Asian physicians prescribe velvet antler in powder form, which are typically found in capsule containers. Sometimes the powder is also simmered in hot water together with some herbs. This is then drank as tea or used as broth. In Korea, velvet antler comes in the form of tonic drink, which is most popular just before winter arrives. Apparently, this helps the body fight certain illnesses associated with the cold.
Benefits of velvet antler
There is evidence suggesting that velvet antler can improve athletic performance. This is attributed to its strength and endurance enhancing properties. According to a study published in 2003 in the International Journal of Sports, Nutrition, Exercise, and Metabolism, the supplement has a positive effect on aerobic power, endurance, and muscle strength. A different paper published in the China Journal of Chinese Medical Material in 2007 also says that sex hormones such as testosterone are found in high quantity in velvet antler. AboutAphrodisiacs.org interprets this to mean that the supplement improves sexual performance.
Velvet antler also has anti-inflammatory effects that help prevent arthritis and osteoporosis. It also helps strengthen the immune system and enhances recovery from illnesses or injuries. However, clinical proof of these additional benefits of velvet antler is lacking.