Deer penis

Deer penis
Deer penis in a Chinese pharmacy in Yokohama, Japan

In traditional Chinese medicine, a deer penis (Chinese: 鹿鞭) is said to have important therapeutic properties. Deer penis and powdered deer penis is commonly sold in Chinese pharmacies. Like turtle's blood and penis, deer penis is also popular in Taiwan and is one of the "delicacies" served in large jars in Snake Alley, Taipei.[1] It is also served on the Chinese mainland in restaurants such as the Guo Li Zhuang.[2]

The deer penis is typically very large and, proponents claim, for it to retain its properties it must be extracted from the deer whilst still alive.[3] Often it is then sliced into small pieces, typically by women and then roasted and dried in the sun and then preserved while the deer looks on.[3][4]

The tradition of consuming the penis of the animal is not just related to Chinese history. The ancient Romans were known to consume the anatomy of a number of different animals for their purported health benefits.[5] The Mayans were also known to extract the penis of the deer and to roast it.[6]Hippocrates recommended consuming deer penis to resolve sexual difficulties.[5]

During the 2008 Summer Olympics, the country banned deer penis, turtle blood, and angelica root potions from athletes' diets.[7] This is because according to traditional Chinese medicine, deer penis, especially if ingested while soaked in alcohol (deer penis wine), is an effective remedy for athletic injuries. Chinese Olympic officials advised national athletes not to take the traditional remedy because it may contain some banned substances like the stimulant herbal ephedrine. It joined steroids and amphetamines on the list of banned substances. The penis of a deer or tiger when consumed is also said to enhance male virility and is an aphrodisiac.[8]

Deer penis wine can be sold at $12 a glass and often as high as $450 for a two litre bottle.[9] Deer-antler wine, known as Lurongjiu, is also said to enhance sexual potency in men and to have a warming effect, aiding the joints.[3][10] The penis of a deer, turtle or bull is also consumed in restaurants and in Singapore is known to also be offered as a soup delicacy.[9] In Angang, Taiwan, women are reported as consuming deer penis during pregnancy as it is said to have a fattening effect and to make the mother and child stronger.[3]


In popular culture

A health store in Shanghai which retails deer penis amongst other remedies

Powdered deer penis is mentioned in the 1996 Steven Seagal film The Glimmer Man during the scene where Seagal and Keenan Ivory Wayans enter a Chinese herbal store.[11] Wayans is offered the powder, unaware of what it is and upon learning that it is powdered deer penis remarks that he "feels violated".[cite this quote]

See also


  1. ^ The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 274, Atlantic Monthly Co., 1994
  2. ^ Richard Spencer, On the menu today: horse penis and testicles with a chilli dip, The Telegraph
  3. ^ a b c d Stafford, Charles (1995). The roads of Chinese childhood: learning and identification in Angang. Cambridge University Press. p. 98. ISBN 0521465745. 
  4. ^ Richards, John F (2006). The Unending Frontier: An Environmental History of the Early Modern World. University of California Press. p. 99. ISBN 0520246780. 
  5. ^ a b Bonnard (1999), p.24
  6. ^ Robert M. Laughlin, Carol Karasik (1988). The People of the Bat: Mayan Tales and Dreams from Zinacantán. Smithsonian Institution Press. ISBN 087474590. 
  7. ^ "Deer Penis Loses Favor as China's Olympians Fear Drug Testers". Bloomberg. March 23, 2008. Retrieved June 23, 2010. 
  8. ^ Harding, Andrew (September 23, 2006). "Beijing's penis emporium". BBC. Retrieved June 23, 2010. 
  9. ^ a b Jerry Hopkins, Anthony Bourdain, Michael Freeman (2004). Extreme Cuisine: The Weird & Wonderful Foods That People Eat. Tuttle Publishing. p. 99. ISBN 079460255. 
  10. ^ Bonnard (1999), p.125
  11. ^ Fhaner, Beth A (1997). Magill's Cinema Annual: A Retrospective of the Films of 1996. Visible Ink Press. ISBN 1578590434. 


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