Herbs for Trans Women

Herbs for Trans Women

Fern Valle

Historically, trans individuals have been marginalized in communities and treated as second class citizens, often denied healthcare or treated as poorly by healthcare providers. Synthetic hormones can be difficult on the body and the system as can surgery. Finding ways to supplement traditional Western medicine with an herbal regime that can assist with healing after surgery or support feminizing processes of the body is an exciting field of study that is fruitful and can help assist those making changes in their bodies.

Several herbs are known to be phytoestrogens, or a herbal hormone naturally occurring in plants. Hormones work by attaching to receptor sites throughout the body for those hormones and herbals work in the same manner: they attach to those sites.[1] Because phytoestrogens in plants can be significantly weaker than biological estrogen, creating a regimine consisting of various forms of phytoestrogen can be useful. However, it is important to make sure that toxic dosages are not consumed because that can lead to lasting organ damage.[2]

Progesterones are often overlooked in the HRT (hormone replacement therapy) of trans women. They are an essential part for the proper development of the milk ducts and development of the nipples.[3] There are three main phytoestrogens: Suma, Vitex, and Wild or Mexican Tams. The progesterone available in wild yams is chemically identical to that found in the human body. When an extraction is used topically, it can have more of a sustained effect, for progesterone generally fades quickly in the body.[4]

Some effective phytoestrogens include Black Cohosh, Blue Cohosh, Borrage, Butterfly Weed, Caraway, Chaste Tree or Vitex, Dates, Dill, Dong Quai, Evening Primrose, False Unicorn Root, Fennel Seed, Fenugreek, Ginseng, Goats Rue, Gotu Kola, Licorice Root, Linseed or Flaxseed, Milk Thistle, Motherwort, Pennyroyal, Pleurisy root, Pomegranites, Red Clover Sprouts, Red Raspberry Leaf, Squaw Vine, Southernwood, Soya Flour, and Tansy.[5] Of course, every individual reacts differently to each herb and it may take time to come up with the best combination of herbs. It is of tantamount importance as well to make sure that the herbs are sourced from a place that does not use pesticides or other harmful additives.

As far as caring for the emotional and whole body care, there are several androgenic herbs that can be used instead of HRT to support body functions. Damiana, Ashwaganda, Sasparilla, Ho Shou Wu, Wild Oats, Garlic, Ginseng, Pine Pollen, Vitex, and Prickly Ash are good for this.[6] It is important to also incorporate herbs that can add nutritional support and that support the other main systems of the body.

Creating an effective and safe blend of herbs to help trans women transition naturally or help alleviate and support the system when using synthetic hormones is a wonderful way of giving women agency over their treatment and their bodies, which are so often mistreated by mainstream society. The basis of herbalism is to find natural ways to care for oneself while teaching you how, so that you can maintain your health when you notice that something is different. Recognizing trans women as a whole person instead of a symptom is the necessary direction to head when implementing trans healthcare.


[1] Platine, Cathryn. “Cathryn’s Wise Women’s Herbal Page.” Cathryn’s Wise Woman Herbal Page. 1 Jan. 2002. Web. 2 Apr. 2015. <http://gallae.com/cathy/herbal.htm>.

[2] “TransGenderCare.com : Medical/Hormonal : Phytoestrogens, Natural or Herbal Hormones.” TransGenderCare.com : Medical/Hormonal : Phytoestrogens, Natural or Herbal Hormones. TransGenderCare. Web. 2 Apr. 2015. <http://www.transgendercare.com/medical/herbal_hormones.htm>.

[3] Platine, Cathryn. “Cathryn’s Wise Women’s Herbal Page.” Cathryn’s Wise Woman Herbal Page. 1 Jan. 2002. Web. 2 Apr. 2015. <http://gallae.com/cathy/herbal.htm>.

[4] Platine, Cathryn. “Cathryn’s Wise Women’s Herbal Page.” Cathryn’s Wise Woman Herbal Page. 1 Jan. 2002. Web. 2 Apr. 2015. <http://gallae.com/cathy/herbal.htm>.

[5] Platine, Cathryn. “Cathryn’s Wise Women’s Herbal Page.” Cathryn’s Wise Woman Herbal Page. 1 Jan. 2002. Web. 2 Apr. 2015. <http://gallae.com/cathy/herbal.htm>.

[6] Midnight, Dori. “Holistic Health for Transgender & G…” Holistic Health for Transgender & Gender Variant Folks. Ohlone Herbal Center, 28 Dec. 2009. Web. 2 Apr. 2015. <http://www.ohlonecenter.org/research-papers/holistic-health-for-transgender-gender-variant-folks/>.


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