Four queer patients of color, including masculine of center nonbinary transgender patients and trans men
Prism Blog, Transgender Wellness

Herbs for Transitioning: Masculinizing Herbs

This is a follow-up post to “The Basics.” Also see the feminizing herbs post here.

For gender affirming transition, herbs can be used alone to create very mild ‘energetic’ effects or to support the body to counteract any side effects of synthetic hormones. Note: Most herbs are unlikely to have a significant effect without any other transition methods. If you are looking for physical effects, prescription hormones are the safest way to make that happen. The dosages you would need to take of herbs in order to get a physical effect can be dangerous.

DO NOT take herbs without consulting with an herbalist to ensure they are safe for you. DO NOT combine herbs with your medications without discussing with a healthcare provider.

Vitex: The Regulating Herb

Vitex (Vitex agnus) is a hormone normalizer that works with the pituitary gland and increases LH and reduces FSH secretion, which increases progesterone relative to estrogen and testosterone (Wright & Morgenthaler, Natural Hormone Replacement). This helps it regulate emotions, prevent acne, hormonal edema and bloating, and it can help you transition onto and off of synthetic hormones, as well as stabilize fluctuations in hormones while taking hormones.

Androgenic herbs:

  • Ashwaganda- steroidal precursor to Testosterone and an adaptogen that helps build your immune system.
  • Yohimbe promotes and supports testosterone levels.
  • Sassafrass
  • Pine nuts & pine pollen contain the closest approximation to human androgens.
  • Wild oats
  • Blue cohosh- to stop periods, often taken with black cohosh. ONLY take this herb under supervision of a professional herbalist, it can be dangerous or cause opposite of desired effects if used incorrectly.
  • Blends:
  • Foods:
    • White button mushroom (prevents testosterone conversion to estrogen)
    • Dark leafy greens or DIM supplement help flush out estrogen

These herbs can help support synthetic hormones:

(DO NOT combine these with your medications without discussing with a healthcare provider.)

  • Buplerum/Chai Hu- for emotional stability
  • Stinging nettle– decreases “bound” testosterone and increases “free” or usable testosterone. also provides lymphatic and immune support.
  • White button mushroom- prevents testosterone conversion to estrogen
  • Prickly ash- smoothes and eases voice transformation

For side effects of synthetic herbs:

(DO NOT combine these with your medications without discussing with a healthcare provider.)

  • He Shou Wu- for hair growth, prevents male-pattern baldness. Can be harmful to the kidneys so don’t use without provider supervision.
  • Saw palmetto- prevents male-pattern baldness, especially when combined with 10-30mg zinc daily
  • B5- to prevent acne
  • Kava kava, california poppy, skullcap/Huang Qin, lemon balm, aralia or damiana- for emotional imbalances
  • Bitters for digestive symptoms
  • Yarrow
  • Nettle
  • Dandelion/Pu Gong Ying, milk thistle/Shui Fei Ji for liver damage
  • Garlic/Da Suan- for high cholesterol & blood pressure
  • Red root, cleavers, and ocotillo for lymphatic drainage and to prevent reproductive cancers
  • Hawthorne berry/Shan Zha can help prevent cardiovascular problems (which can occur with long-term T use), but can react with pharmaceutical heart medicines and shouldn’t be combined with them.

DON’T combine synthetic hormones with St. John’s wort/Guan Ye Lian Qiao, it stresses the liver. It also encourages bleeding, so avoid before SURGERY too!

References include:
http://www.sfherbalist.com/holistic-health-for-transgender-gender-variant-folks/
http://midnightapothecary.blogspot.com/


All information in this blog is for educational uses only. Always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements, or changing or discontinuing your medications.


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