The velvet antler growth of large cervidae is a unique biological phenomenon in the animal world. This renewable attribute, symbol of force and vitality, is the most rapidly developing organ amongst all mammals.
Velvet antler is known in french as «bois de velours» meaning «velvet wood». The deer and elk antler used to produce velvet antler is still in a rapid growth phase and is not totally calcified. Each year, in early spring, the old antler falls from the deer or elk and a new antler begins to grow. This young horn develops rapidly for about two months then hardens quickly through calcification.
During the rapid development phase, the velvet antler contains compounds necessary in cell formation, above all blood cells and cells responsible for bone and cartilage formation. These products have a beneficial effect on human health. The active properties in velvet antler (which is still growing on the cervidae) diminish rapidly when the antler begins to harden.
Velvet antler has been included in the oriental pharmacopoeia for thousands of years. It is mentioned in Chinese, Japanese and Korean works from before our era. In Asia, it is used as a general health tonic and to strengthen a weakened organism. In China, it is used to treat impotence, menstrual problems, circulation problems in the extremities, insomnia, migraine and to quicken the healing of wounds. In Korea, it is considered a general tonic and is used in early winter to prevent colds and flu. It is given to children with growth problems or suffering from malnutrition.
If, for the last 25 years, the production of velvet antler has furnished the traditional oriental market, there is a new orientation towards the nutraceutics market in occidental countries and new utilisations by modern medicine.
Synonyms for velvet antler :
bois de velours