For thousands of years, Elk Velvet Antler (EVA) has been a popular supplement because of its various health benefits. In traditional Oriental medicine, EVA is still one of the most frequently prescribed animal-derived ingredients. EVA is harvested when the antler is still developing and has a velvety soft covering. The use of antlers for medical purposes is believed to date back to the Han dynasty in China (206 BC to 220 AD). Reports of EVA in traditional Chinese Holistic Formulas date back to more than 2,000 years, and potentially even longer in other cultures.
Antler velvet was believed to be extremely powerful because it came from a fast-growing antler that rejuvenated annually. It was believed the antlers were full of nutrients, living tissues, and growth factors during the regeneration stage. In the 16th century it was discovered that the antler could be consumed through the form of pills, powders, ointments, extracts, and tinctures.
Over the past few thousand years, there have been many different types of historical claims about the medical benefit of EVA. Almost all these historical claims are around the idea that EVA could aid in digestion and improve stamina. Some texts from the 16th century suggested EVA could cure impaired hearing and vision among other things. It was believed antler in powdered form could benefit conditions such as baldness, toothaches, pimples, and even lice infestations or snakebites. Lastly, velvet antler has been used as an immune modulator and agent to improve blood circulation and muscle strength.
Traditional beliefs about EVA have continued for many centuries mostly in the Orient, but also in the West. In modern times, the use and trade of EVA has spread to various places around the world including North America, Europe, New Zealand, Australia, and Asia. The main uses for EVA today are to enhance muscle growth and reduce the time taken to recover from physical activity. It is popularly used by athletes, bodybuilders, and people battling the aging process.