Lu Rong – Deer Antler – Cornu Cervi Pantotrichum

Lu Rong

English Name: deer antler, deer antler velvet

Pharmaceutical Name: Cornu Cervi Pantotrichum

Medica Category: Yang-Tonifying Herbs

Properties: Lu Rong enters the Kidney and Liver channels; it is sweet and salty in nature and warm in temperature.

What is Lu Rong?:

The Chinese Herb Lu Rong is derived from the antler velvet (immature antlers) from two separate species of deer. The first is the Sika deer (aka spotted or Japanese deer—Cervus nippon Temmiinck). In China wild Sika deer are found primarily in mountains and steppes the Northeastern provinces (although they are bred in captivity for commercial use). The second source of deer antler velvet is from red deer (or elk as they are called in North America—Cervus elaphus L.), most of which comes from animals that are bred in captivity In New Zealand, the U.S., and Canada.

Each year, the males shed their antlers; in the spring, new antlers grow back (naturally). Before the new antlers are fully formed, they are soft, spongy (relative to mature antlers), and covered in a fine velvet-like hair. At this point they are surgically removed, sliced, dried, and stored for future processing. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the dried slices are usually ground down into powder and taken along with other herbs (but not decocted in with other herbs because Lu Rong is quite expensive).

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Therapeutic Actions of Lu Rong:

Lu Rong tonifies Kidney yang and replenishes jing (essence) with such clinical presentations as impotence, nocturnal emissions, soreness of the lower back and knees, cold extremities, tinnitus, and frequent and copious clear urination (not an exhaustive list).

Lu Rong nourishes the blood and tonifies Kidney jing (essence) when severe blood deficiency leads to jing deficiency (because these deficiencies go hand in hand). Lu Rong promotes the production of red blood cells and reticulocytes (i.e. immature red blood cells that form in the bone marrow) and is often used with thin and weak patients with severe blood deficiency/anemia

Lu Rong regulates the ren (conception) and chong (thoroughfare) channels by warming the Kidney and uterus to address clear leukorrhea, constant uterine bleeding, or infertility in women caused by insufficient Kidney fire.

Lu Rong strengthens sinews and bones: According to TCM theory, sufficient reserves of Kidney jing (essence) are essential to strong bones and sinews; in addition, the Liver also “controls” the sinews and tendons (because it stores the blood necessary to keep them supple). Therefore, Kidney and Liver deficiencies will often present clinically as weak/deformed bones, sinews, and tendons. Lu Rong is used individually as a powder to augment weakness of sinews and bones, especially in children with physical and mental developmental delays (e.g. learning disabilities, poor growth, failure to thrive, and skeletal deformations). In this action it is also used in trauma wards in Chinese hospitals to promote the healing of bone fractures.

Lu Rong is used topically for chronic ulcerations or yin-type boils (those that are concave, ooze clear fluid or do not heal).

–safety/clinical notes:

Contraindicated for yin-deficient heat, phlegm-heat in the Lung, Stomach fire, or any other kind of excess or stagnation caused by heat.

Contraindicated for those with bleeding due to yin deficiency fire.

Contraindicated for persons with warm febrile disease.

Start with a low dose and work up so as to avoid creating internal wind and damaging the yin.