English: Pilose antlers

Chinese: 鹿茸

Parts used: Young unossified hairy antler of male cervus nippon

TCM category: Tonic herbs for Yang Deficiency

TCM nature: Warm

TCM taste(s): SaltySweet

Organ affinity: Kidney Liver

Scientific name: Cervus nippon or Cervus elaphus

Use of Lu Rong (pilose antlers) in TCM

Please note that you should never self-prescribe TCM ingredients. A TCM ingredient is almost never eaten on its own but as part of a formula containing several ingredients that act together. Please consult a professional TCM practitioner, they will be best able to guide you.

Preparation: Collects the pilose antlers within 53 days after they started growing, slice and dry.

Dosage: 1 to 2 g

Main actions according to TCM*: Tonifies Kidney Yang and the Governor vessel. Supplies Essence, Qi and Blood and supports growth. Strengthens the sinews and bones. Treats infertility and impotence.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Lu Rong may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Impotence Spermatorrhea Frigidity Infertility Thinness Fatigue Cold intolerance Dizziness Tinnitus Impaired hearing Back pain Cold sensation Weakness of the limbs Abnormal uterine bleeding Leukorrhalgia Sores

Contraindications*: Should not start with large dose as it tonifies Yang strongly. Large dose can lead to hyperactive Yang symptoms such as hypertension with dizziness, red eyes and conjunctivitis. I can also harm Yin and leads to hemorrhage. Therefore, it should not be used for these who have Yin Deficiency due to excessive Heat.

Common TCM formulas in which Lu Rong is used*

Tu Si Zi Wan

Source date: 1253 AD

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Formula key actions: Warms the Kidneys. Prevents abnormal leakage such as urinary incontinence or seminal emissions.

Conditions targeted*: Urinary incontinenceSeminal emission and others

Lu Rong is a king ingredient in Tu Si Zi Wan. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

In Tu Si Zi Wan, Lu Rong , together with other key herbs of the formula, tonifies the Kidneys.

Read more about Tu Si Zi Wan

Key TCM concepts behind Lu Rong's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Lu Rong belongs to the 'Tonic herbs for Yang Deficiency' category. Tonic herbs are used for patterns of Deficiency, when one lacks one of the 'Four Treasures' (Qi, Blood, Yin and Yang). Yang Tonics are generally used in combination with a small amount of Yin tonics. If Yin is deficient, neither Qi nor Yang herbs alone will be effective. The most common symptoms associated with Yang Deficiency are low libido and impotence. It is worth mentioning that another very effective remedy against Yang Deficiency is regular exercise.

Furthermore Lu Rong is Warm in nature. This means that Lu Rong tends to help people who have too much 'Cold' in their body, although with less effect than a plant that would be Hot in nature. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Those who have too much Cold in their body are said to either have a Yin Excess (because Yin is Cold in nature) or a Yang Deficiency (Yang is Hot in Nature). Depending on your condition Lu Rong can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Lu Rong also tastes Salty and Sweet. The so-called 'Five Phases' theory in Chinese Medicine states that the taste of TCM ingredients is a key determinant of their action in the body. Salty ingredients like Lu Rong tends to have a draining effect in the body because they clear accumulations, remove Phlegm and soften hard lumps. On the other hand Sweet ingredients tend to slow down acute reactions and detoxify the body. They also have a tonic effect because they replenish Qi and Blood.

The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such Lu Rong is thought to target the Kidney and the Liver. According to TCM, the Kidneys do not only regulate the urinary system but also play a key role in the reproductive system and the growth and aging process of the body. The Liver on the other hand is often referred as the body's "general" because it is in charge of regulating the movements of Qi and the Body Fluids. It also takes a leading role in balancing our emotions.

Research on Lu Rong

Pilose antlers tend to activate the autonomic nervous system as well as the sympathetic nervous system.1


1. Kim YJ, Lee CH, Kim JU, Yook TH. (2016). Effects of Distilled Cervi Pantotrichum Cornu and Rehmannia glutinosa Pharmacopuncture at GB21 (Jianjing) on Heart Rate Variability: A Randomized and Double-blind Clinical Trial. J Acupunct Meridian Stud. , 9(6):311-318. doi: 10.1016/j.jams.2016.11.001. Epub 2016 Nov 10.