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Using Herbs in Transgender Care

by mattie on April 15, 2010

When it comes to considering various options for transgender care, herbs are usually one of the first options that come to mind. They are generally seen as safe, effective, and more “natural” than pharmaceuticals and this makes them a powerful draw for the transgender individual. Besides, one can obtain virtually any herb online, shipped discreetly to your door at what seems like a very reasonable price. Many people feel that taking a small dose of herbs aimed at feminizing the body is a good way to see if its what they really want to do. I know this thought process well, because it’s how I started out as well – and many others I know.

This thought process is reinforced by various “testimonials” across the internet that seem to confirm the idea that one can feminize their body exclusively using herbs. This is how I started out – by self medicating, and now I wish I had just gone to see a doctor instead.

In my case (and others I know) I chose the “herbal feminization” method. I studied various concoctions that people had posted online, and determined a recipe that I thought would work well for me. I even retained an online herbal expert to help guide me through dosages of the various herbs I was taking. I thought I was being responsible about the whole thing.

I started out on a low dose of just a few herbs like red clover, saw palmetto, and vitex and over time increased the dosages and added other herbs to the mix as well under the guidance of the person I had hired. In the end, I was taking about a dozen different herbs, and some of them in very large amounts. Getting quality herbs was costing me about $200/month (far more than I would have spent just seeing a doctor and taking a prescription).

At first the response was positive. I felt a decrease in libido, and slight breast tenderness. After a while though I actually started noticing negative responses, such as an increase in facial hair, and even some of my scalp hair falling out in the shower. Eventually my libido returned to almost normal ranges. In the meantime over the course of several months I began to experience anxiety like I have never experienced before. The kind that keeps you awake at night sweating, shaking, worrying about things that aren’t normal for you; like alien abduction, or that maybe you’re the only real person in a world full of robots. It was at this point, and about 8 months into my herbal journey that I stopped taking them cold turkey. Within 2 weeks I was back to “normal” with a few exceptions.

Looking back now, I realize that while at the time I thought herbs would be a good way to get my feet wet, and a safe and natural way to help my body feel more in tune with my identity – I now realize that the real reason I was drawn to herbs is because it allowed me to avoid seeing a doctor. It allowed me to treat myself, without having to risk having a professional try and steer me in a different direction. But my ideas about herbal feminization were based in complete fantasy.

What most people don’t realize is that your body is a powerful hormone machine, and it takes a lot to overcome it. One can’t just take a few herbs and overcome the body’s ability to produce the hormones it feels is necessary. What often happens is that people who take herbs end up ramping up their testosterone production as the body works to counteract the herbs. On top of this, many herbs that might have an anti-androgenic, or estrogenic effect also carry other side effects that can actually boost certain kinds of testosterone!

In my case I ended up with more facial hair (more expensive, and difficult to remove), a receding hair line, and an increased libido. I accomplished none of my goals, and nearly gave myself a nervous breakdown in the process. In the end, my fear of seeking out a professional endocrinologist who could help me sent me down a path I now regret.

If you are considering taking herbs as a treatment for being transgender, please think honestly about the underlying reason for choosing this path. You have to take herbs in massive (dangerous) doses to produce an effect. It can have negative effects on your liver, actually increase certain types of testosterone, and leave you with regrets as it did for me. Not to mention the risks of a blood clot, or other complications.

TransGenderCare.com is an excellent resource when considering your options. They have more to say about Herbal Feminization there, and I highly recommend it. Written by real doctors, with real experience treating many transgender people.

Now days I would much rather be under the care of a physician who can recommend a regimen to address my exact needs, and monitor my blood work to make sure that it’s working.

I want to hear about your experience. Have you taken herbs, or considered taking them? What has been your experience?

Image Credit: Denis Defreyne

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Ten things you can do to feel more feminine
July 27, 2010 at 2:35 pm

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Justine May 3, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Thank you so much for the info about herbal remodies. You have answered all my questions and I know know not to male the same mistakes. Thankyou so much for helping. I love Reading about you, take care. Justinr

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The Rhonda August 22, 2010 at 8:23 pm

Herbals preparations proved to be impotent for me bu then, we are all different, physiologically.

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Dizzy Lady January 31, 2011 at 5:59 pm

Actually, I would say most should take the advice of the article to heart, it’s better and safe to go to a doctor and go through even more heartaches (and head aches than already) expressed. Most herbal supplements are fairly useless to true feminization, and most are a waste of time and money; it’s even possible you could spend less on hormones monthly/yearly than herbs.

With that being said, I can attest that some (very few can aid in the process of hormones, if taken correctly and not at a dangerous level). The most effective is pueraria mirifica, it’s basically a quintessential OTC estrogen replacement, for the time that I used, when I couldn’t purchase estadiol (that I normally used). It did wonder for me, as it rounded out my figure and even 2.5 inches into my chest pushing very close to an A cup, currently only a few centimeters from a true A cup, and I have been hormones for only 8 months. Pueraria Mirifica is pretty safe (1g – 4g, was usually sufficient), just as long as you do not mix it with estrogen, and that’s only because of efficacy, still it doesn’t have any type of benefits in men, especially in even moderate doses, except hair growth and a more youthful appearance. Though, it can certainly be used with progesterone and anti-androgens. It felt great taking that, I even had slowed hair growth in different sections of my body. It’s the most estrogenic herb that is out there, best place to buy it is St.Herb or Ainterol.

Another effective compound is licorice (DGL/w Glycyrrhiza glabra). It’s the most anti-androgenic otc product I’ve seen or used on the market. It’s often used by women with PCOS. In fact, if man uses too much of it for a long period of time, he will become impotent (it could possibly cause other problems), like a monk, sort of like vitex (but vitex can also be helped in transition and is sometimes used in certain programs). It also lowers potassium levels, while there are few studies which suggest that spironolactone can even be aided by licorice (mostly studies on PCOS women).

http://www.breastnexus.com/

http://immortalhair.forumandco.com/t188-ph-phytogen-vs-ainterol-p-mirifica

http://nccam.nih.gov/health/licoriceroot/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquorice

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FDN/is_1_12/ai_n19153801/pg_2/?tag=content;col1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aldosterone

http://www.drugs.com/npp/licorice.html

http://drtorihudson.com/botanicals/licorice-reduces-the-side-effects-of-spironolactone-in-polycystic-ovary-syndrome/

https://www.gynecomastia.org/smf/index.php (It’s a site for men who are trying to get rid of breast tissue, it’s helpful because you can see what things might cause or reduce; breast growth, since some guys are struggling to get rid of or have programs that aggravate the condition.

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Michael April 4, 2011 at 1:46 am

Hello,

I’ve been studying feminization for quite some time but my aim is not to become female, Not to remove anything or grow anything.. My goal is to have a more feminine appearance physically as in a less masculine face ect… Is this possible?

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Jessy April 17, 2011 at 9:40 pm

i used Yoga to feminize my body very effectively, this is not easy or a fast way to feminize but extremely healthy and effective as i am 90% passable as a girl(check my youtube). Stick to the more softer pose’s avoiding pose’s that would be shoulder building.

Shawna May 9, 2011 at 2:02 pm

As a CD/TG struggling with looking more feminine, I researched medical journals that examined the effects of herbs on women for estrogen replacement. One jumped out at me from Harvard Medical school. They studied Soy Isoflavones and concluded that the estrogen-like substance had benifits, and also may aid in male feminization. Though not as potent as estrogen itself, it has qualities that mimic estrogen and seem to fool the body into doing the same things it does when exposed to real estrogen.

Armed with this and other studies I tried it, and found out that it had mild to medium feminizing effects on my body (at one point I stopped growing facial hair alltogether), and my skin completely changed in texture, my hips rounded out and my belly fat shifted to my butt. Some of my TG friends tried it as well and each had different reactions to it (none as profound as mine). I actually stopped using it when my male parts started to shrink and my breasts started to grow round and pointy. It was feminizing me all over.

To conclude, soy worked very well on me, but not on others. The side affects were mood swings. I have since tried other things like red clover and other herbs but none of those had any affect on me. If you dabble in herbs be scientific about it, measure your body dimentions before you start, don’t change your habbits, and record results. You may think something is happening but the measurements will tell the real story.

As for taking synthetic hormones, you have to understand that at some point the risk to your health will rise and like women, you will have to stop taking them as you get older and you will be left, like most women are, with a choice of herbs to deal with.

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christina July 20, 2012 at 1:49 pm

I do believe that soy works but it varies from the individual. I’ve been a vegetarian for 14 years (currently 24 yrs old) and eat soy on a daily basis. The natural phytoestrogen in soy hasnt given me noticeable female features (barely A cup) but I feel it has slowly hindered my testosterone growth over a long-term. Im very petite compared to both my brothers and although I can’t scientifically prove it, I do believe my long-term soy use slowed down the effects of puberty (started soy diet at age 10). Im not trans so HRT is out, but as a CD I think soy and pueraria mirifica are enough and safe :)

John December 5, 2011 at 11:52 pm

So what led me to this site is that I’ve been doing a ton of research on longevity. I’ve been taking herbs that are supposed to help you live longer. I’m also trying to undo some damage from an experiment with high doses of minerals.

I have no interest in becoming more femmenine- actually quite the opposite, if anything I want to boost my masculinity and become more alpha male. We are all however researchers and explorers risking life and in your case limb to modify our bodies.

I have found no evidence that taking phytoestrogens will actually produce the desired effect for you guys in small quantities an the best bet is to probably get on some legit estrogen. My research has revealed that medicine at this point has a vague idea of what hormones actually do in our bodies. There are phytoestrogens in just about everything an other Endocrine disrupters or artificial estrogens in popcorn bags, frying pans, and foam furniture cushions… Our body does have a way of leveling out. Many of the herbs found in breast enlargement pills are also found in penis enlargement pills- and there are over 40 different known estrogens –

If anything I’ve felt like these herbs do make my testosterone SURGE, but maybe it’s in my head? I’ve lost no hair, grown no new hair, but my libido is up – so much so that some nights I can’t sleep.

If you’re taking herbs for female traits you’d probably have to almost kill yourself to get enough, for boosting T probably a lot but a male body already produces T and is simply being encouraged to do what it was made to do.

I think when it comes to herbs lower doses are better.

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Thairin April 3, 2012 at 9:31 am

Hello, I am bigendered and I have been looking for ways to soften my features and shape to gain the look of a woman. I have no desire for breast or vagina; simply curves, softer skin, rounder face, etc. Thus far, I have been using my skills as a special effects makeup artist to create my look. However I want this to be permanent, not something I have to take off every noght. I am terrified of plastic surgery, simply because there is no way for me to gain the necessary money for it. I hope that ot is not my only

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Amanda October 23, 2012 at 8:33 am

The Problem that I have is that I have being using Herbs for a while and they do work and I am not having to take excessive amounts.(about € 20 a month.)
It all depends on the quality of the Herbs you are using and that cannot be see or smelt you just have to find a good company.
and that can take time.

But as for the comment of using them instead of going to a Doctor
then to a certain extent you are right,but there are so many Doctors out there that have not got a clue as to why we feel the need to take Herbs to feminize yourself.
Or do not understand why we need to take anything at all, but then again it is difficult to find a good company for the Herbs.

And to another comment about Soy it is suppose to suppress the Testosterone levels so you are right..
I am not trying to put anyone down all of us are valid in what we decide to do..most of us know that we could die from it if we are unlucky or do not get regular check ups.
But I think it is a little silly to disregard one for the other.
Because when it all comes down to the line it is all about money..
if we take the time to think about it..

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