Deer velvet is a universal term used to describe immature antlers of male deer. The term originates from the covering of soft velvet-like hair that persists on growing antlers until they mature.
On commercial deer farms velvet antlers (immature antlers) are removed annually to:
- Protect all deer on the farm from injury
- Ensure a safe working environment for staff
- Harvest a valuable product used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
In certain countries, like New Zealand and Australia, antler is only removed using anaesthetic by registered veterinary surgeons or people who have been certified to remove antler.
Historic literature records the long association of TCM (more than 2000 years) and the significant associations of the Russian and Roman cultures with deer velvet. Summary benefits described by TCM include a broad range of therapeutic effects as well benefits in promoting health and well being.
Despite long held differences in philosophy of TCM and Western Medicine, there is a slow but increasing interest in TCM by western communities. This is particularly evident as more people look to therapies and treatments that are natural (non chemical) non prescriptive, relieve symptoms and balance body functions to allow healthy lifestyles.
Available data clearly shows the significant research on deer antler that continues to be undertaken around the world, including Australia, and provides strong support to the growing acceptance that deer antler cartilage is a substance with significant future medical application potential.
An important concept that is a common theme of many research papers is that the combination of all components of velvet antler provides a synergistic effect that is greater than the total effect that would be achieved by the separate use of each of its individual constituents. That means that if velvet is broken down into its constituents that are used separately, their combined effect is significantly less than the effect realised when the nutrients are provided in the naturally combined form of velvet antler. In summary, the effect of the complete product is greater than the summed effect of all components.
Literature reviews related to the use of velvet antler products considered for this summary provide persuasive, credible evidence to support the claim that compounds in velvet antler may provide effective and long-lasting relief of the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Reviews also support suggestions of additional benefits such as relief of some conditions associated with aging, stimulation of the immune system, assistance with growth and strength training and the absence of side effects.