Deer Antlers (Lu Rong)
What are Deer Antlers (Lu Rong)?
Deer Antlers (lu rong, 鹿茸), also known as Cervi Pantotrichum Cornu or Pilose Antler, refers to the young, non-ossifying and pilose Antler on the head of Cervus nippon Temminck or Cervus elaphus L., which are animals in the family Cervidae. The deer are not killed in the process of harvesting Deer Antlers as the antlers can regenerate. The antlers are simply cut during summer, and they will regenerate over the next few months. When used medicinally, the hair on Deer Antlers should be burnt off , and the antlers are then sliced and dried.
As one of the three medicinal treasures in China (Lu Rong, Ren Shen, Dong Chong Xia Cao), Deer Antlers have long been viewed as a nourishing tonic that can cure all Deficiency syndromes, especially Deficiency in the Kidneys. Also, as Deer Antlers can regenerate, it is believed that this herb can build strength, increase longevity and even reverse the ageing process.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Deer Antlers fall under the category of ‘Tonic herbs for Yang Deficiency’. Such herbs are used for patterns of Deficiency to replenish one’s ‘Four Treasures’ (qi, blood, yin, yang). Warm in nature, Deer Antlers can help individuals with too much Cold in their body, such as those experiencing a Yin Excess or a Yang Deficiency, to restore a harmonious yin-yang balance.
Salty and sweet in taste, Deer Antlers have a draining effect on the body by clearing accumulations, removing phlegm and softening hard lumps. Also, Deer Antlers can slow down acute reactions, detoxify the body and have a tonic effect on the body by replenishing qi and blood. In particular, Deer Antlers target the Kidneys and the Liver.
Functions and Benefits of Deer Antlers (Lu Rong)
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) shows that Deer Antlers have the following health benefits.
Deer Antlers can tonify the Liver and Kidneys, and supplement yang, essence and blood to address syndromes of yang deficiency in the Kidneys and Liver. For example, Deer Antlers are used to treat aversion to cold with cold extremities, impotence, prospermia, frequent urination, infertility with a Cold womb, soreness and pain in lumbar and knees, vertigo, tinnitus, fatigue and sexless marriages. Also, Deer Antlers can treat jing (essence) and Blood Deficiency, especially in children with physical and mental developmental disorders such as mental retardation, learning disabilities and skeletal deformities such as rickets.
Deer Antlers can strengthen tendons and bones, and reinforce thoroughfare and conception vessels. For fractures, Deer Antlers can be combined with Gu Sui Bu (Drynaria Rhizome), Xu Duan (Teasel Root) and Zi Ran Tong (Pyrite) to enhance its effectiveness. Also, Deer Antlers are indicated for menorrhagia, metrostaxis caused by debility of thoroughfare, conception and belt vessels due to deficiency of the Liver and Kidneys.
By expelling toxins, Deer Antlers can also treat deteriorated or chronic ulcers caused by Deficiency of Yang, Essence or Blood. This herb can promote healing by expelling pus.
In addition, Deer Antlers have been shown to reduce fatigue, improve sleep quality and improve appetite. In animal tests, Deer Antlers have been shown to increase oxygen uptake in the brain, Liver and Kidneys, and also to increase red and white blood cell production. Reportedly, Deer Antlers contain 25 kinds of amino acids and a variety of vitamins that can improve the body’s immune system and promote hematopoietic function.
How to Use Deer Antlers (Lu Rong)
The recommended daily dosage of Deer Antlers is 1 – 3g, when ground into fine powder to be swallowed. Deer Antlers can also be boiled and eaten, or prepared in bolus or medicated wine.
Sliced Deer Antlers are available at some Chinese herbal shops for easy cooking or grinding. Deer Antlers in supplement forms such as powders and extracts are also available.
Cautions and Side Effects of Deer Antlers (Lu Rong)
Deer Antlers should not be used by individuals who are experiencing Yin Deficiency with effulgent fire, bleeding caused by Yin Deficiency Fire, Excess Heat in blood, phlegm Heat in the Lungs, or blazing Stomach Fire. Also, Deer Antlers should not be taken when the patient is experiencing acute fever or the acute stage of a cold or flu.
Do note that you should start using Deer Antlers at a low dosage, before increasing it to the treatment dosage. As this herb is powerful in tonifying yang Heat, if used in large amounts suddenly, it may result in vertigo, blood-shot eyes, syncope, epistaxis, hematemesis or hematuria.
We strongly encourage you to consult your healthcare provider before deciding to add Deer Antlers to your healthcare routine!
Here is a summary for Deer Antlers (Lu Rong):
- Herb name (Chinese): 鹿茸
- Herb name (Pin Yin): lù róng
- Herb name (English): Pilose Antler
- Herb name (Botanical): Cornu Cervi Pantotrichum
- Origin of species: Cervus nippon Temminck; Cervus elaphus Linnaeus
- Part(s) of herb used: Young unossified hairy antler
- Geo-specific habitat(s): Jilin, Heilongjiang, Liaoning, Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Qinghai
- Taste(s) & Properties: Sweet, salty; Warm; Administrates the Kidney and Liver Meridians
- Actions: Nourishes and strengthens the body; Helps in healing difficult wounds; Relieves excessive menstrual and vaginal discharge
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