Hi, I'm Cathryn Platine and I'm a transsexual woman. Many menopausal and post menopausal women and transsexual women have become interested in controling their own hormonal regiment through the use of herbal estrogens and progesterones. These natural products have been used for thousands of years by women around the world to very good effect, yet women are often warned to avoid them by medical professional and others. What is the truth about herbal estrogens and progesterones? Do they work? Are they safe? You'll find some answers here as well as a source for some herbal products that should help you take back control of your body.
Many of the drugs prescibed by doctors and manufactured by the drug companies are not natural drugs. That is they are not identical to the hormones produced naturally in your body. Hormones work by attaching to receptor sites throughout the body for those hormones and the drugs and herbals work in the same manner as the natural horomones. They attach to those sites. Plant source estrogens are called phytoestrogens. Some of the more common phytoestrogens are:
Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa)
Chaste Tree or Vitex (Verbenaccae species)
Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis)
False Unicorn Root
Linseed or Flaxseed
Pennyroyal (Hedeoma pulegioides)
Red Clover Sprouts
Red Raspberry leaf
Different estrogens attach to different estrogen sites in the body. It makes good sense when using non-human estrogens to use a "shotgun" approach. That would be to use combinations of several different estrogen like substances.
A word of caution is in order. Herbal drugs are just that........drugs. When taken in too large doses they can cause problems and should be treated with the same respect you would approach any other drug with. There is a tendancy on the part of too many people to think "if some is good, more is better". That is not true. Black Cohosh, for example, when taken for long periods of time by itself in large doses has been linked to enlargment of the tyroid gland.
Progesterones are often overlooked in the HRT (hormone replacement therapy) of transsexual women. They are essential for the proper development of the milk ducts and the development of the nipples. Often when added to the HRT the drug presciribed is Provera. Provera is not a natural progestrone and it's chemical makeup is different than that of natural progestrone. It has been linked to severe depression in some individuals and some transsexuals believe it is responsible for the suicides of more than a few of their sisters.
There are three main phytoprogestrones, Suma, Vitex and Wild or Mexican Yams. The progestrone available in wild yams is chemically identical to that found in the human body. When used in a cream (transdermally) the progestrone, which normally fades very quickly in the body, has a more sustained effect. Not all wild yam creams are the same. A good cream will have the progestrone available through an extraction process, a poor cream just has the yam fats and oils.
The effects of herbal estrogens and progestrones will vary from individual to individual. Some will see remarkable effects quickly, some hardly any. This is also true with natural animal hormones and chemical ones. There are many factors involved and the feminization of a male body does not occur overnight. As a rule of thumb, the closer one is to puberty, the greater and faster the effect, but this is not linear. An 18 year old will get much better results than a 28 year old but a 38 year old will get only a slighly better effect than a 48 year old.
When using herbal remedies, the source is very important. You need to
know that only the best herbs are used, that they are tested to maintain
a consistant dosage level from batch to batch and that they are fresh and
organically grown. Any good health food store, such as the GNC chain
will have some or all of the herbals you'll need. Nature's Way Change-O-Life
is one of my favorites for a compound. Total dosage of phytoestrogens
(combined) for a pre-operative transwoman should be between 2 to 3 times
the dosage for non-transwomen. You should NOT exceed 3 times the
dosage and should change the mixture every seven or so months.
I hope that by presenting this material on a single web page I have performed a needed service to the transgendered community. I realize that many people disagree with the use of herbal estrogens, but I'm also aware that there is a great interest in this subject that sometimes people are reluctant to inquire about because of the vocal opposition of some transsexuals.
As a lifelong Pagan and believer in natural medications I feel that approached with the proper respect, herbal medications are at least as good as many so called "real" drugs. Thousands of years of use by the wise women of pagan traditions speak loudly towards the real value of these herbals. Many so called medical estrogens are derived from herbal sources as are almost all medical grade natural progestorones.
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