Herbs for LGBTQIA+ Support & Trans Care
We want to raise our voices in allyship with our LGBTQIA+ friends and family members who benefit from the support of herbalism in so many ways. You may have heard us talk about the wise woman tradition (which includes men, and queer folx of all identifications), but most importantly, we are here to celebrate the vast spectrum of identity.
The complexity and nuance of hormonal balancing in this realm is vast, and rather than try to address it in all its intricacies (there ARE excellent resources who attempt to do that! see the resources section for further reading), this article will outline some general supports that target optimum nourishment, overall endocrine health, and resourced well-being. One of the things herbs like cheery lemon balm and sunny St. John's wort do best is to uplift and affirm ourselves as ourselves, building resilience for short and long-term vitality.
Herbs for ALL
We believe that herbs are here for us all. Herbs are like friends, and once you get to know a few of them, you'll notice that wherever you go on this planet, your herb friends are there too. On an energetic level, there are herbs surrounding us that aid in identity-affirming no matter what step of the journey you are on. On a very physiological level, herbs can help tip the hormone scales to favor one over the other, balance above all, and support whatever goals you have.
Note that throughout this article, when we mention than an herb "supports" or "boosts" a particular hormone, that does not specifically indicate that it simply increases the production of that hormone, but that it improves its ability to perform its role in concert with the various other hormonal factors at play.
Tonic Herbs for LGBTQIA+ Hormone Support
There are a number of tonic herbs that deserve a mention here due to their overall nutritive qualities and mineral richness, which offers the body a solid baseline, plus their ability to boost energy, provide broad-spectrum adaptogenic support (or adaptogen-like for those that aren't officially adaptogens, at least not clinically speaking), and regulate the nervous system.
Oatstraw is one of the most well-known of these, but is particularly known for its ability to support healthy testosterone levels, and it can (and dare we say should!) be drunk by everyone, at all ages and stages. Oatstraw aids energy levels, supports the adrenals, boosts libido, and keeps the urinary tract healthy. It is popularly utilized as a nourishing herbal infusion, though a tea is nice, too.
Nettles might be the ultimate green dream ally here. If you can only incorporate one herb into your life, make it nettles. Nettles supports hormonal flow, and estrogen activity in particular, and recharges each and every organ system in the body. Interestingly, adrenal-supportive nettles also is well-studied for its action in supporting healthy testosterone levels, and its root is a staple in our Prostate Blend (more on this below).
Both nettles and oatstraw are excellent adjuncts alongside a workout to add additional nutrition and protein intake levels to the diet. Nettles is ideally consumed as a nourishing herbal infusion, though it can also be eaten or taken as tincture or drunk as tea.
Red clover is well-studied as a hormonal support, containing isoflavones and phytosterols which help to support healthy levels of estrogen in the body and regulate the hormonal rollercoaster. It is best taken as a tincture or in a tea, though it is lovely as a nourishing herbal infusion if you can get enough of the highly sought after dried blossom.
Vita-Min is a wonderfully drinkable and nutrient-dense brew containing red clover that blends its benefits with other nutritional aids like oatstraw, nettles, and red raspberry, the perfect tonic for all uterus-owners.
Herbal Supports Before, During, and After Transition
Keeping hormones happy in gender-affirming healthcare and during transition is critical to one's sense of well-being. Resource yourself and your loved ones with herbal teas, nourishing infusions, tinctures, and infused oils from this article and beyond that support your particular health goals.
As important as any of the endocrine allies above or below is foundational nervous system support, essential for coping with any associated stress and anxiety. For this, look for a well-formulated blend of herbs which is intended for non-specific organ support, like Adaptogenesis or Take it Down a Notch, both of which help to de-escalate moments of anxiousness and provide stability during times of transition.
Supportive Herbs for the Prostate and Testosterone
Pine (Pinus spp.) (and specifically pine pollen) is thought to be especially supportive of testosterone.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) gives testosterone levels a leg-up while also boosting libido and helping stress responses to be more measured, sleep to be deep and restful, and energy spikes and dips to be brought into balance. Ashwagandha is appropriate for use by either prostate or uterus owners.
Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) (known because of its stick figure shape as "man-root" in some circles) is the ultimate adaptogen that helps the body achieve a healthy baseline of both androgens and estrogen levels.
As mentioned above, nettles is excellent used in conjunction to support testosterone, too.
For those with a prostate, a formula like Prostate Blend keeps vitality high and the testosterone/estrogen/progesterone tightrope balanced. Whether increased testosterone levels are an issue or there are other imbalances, saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) is a classic to pair with fresh nettle root (Urtica dioica) to make a formula that is deeply supportive of the optimal function of the reproductive system with a prostate.
Interestingly, on its own (available by special pour only - order Prostate Blend and in the notes at checkout state 'please bottle saw palmetto only') saw palmetto seems to slow androgenic activity and possibly inhibit testosterone manifestation. When taken alone (not with any type of hormonal therapy), saw palmetto may have feminizing effects.
Best Herbs for the Monthly Cycle and Estrogen
Phytoestrogen-containing black cohosh is one of the best-known and most beloved herbs for supporting ideal estrogen and progesterone levels, while also helping the body to combat the symptoms of estrogen excess.
Those who have a monthly cycle are best supported by a blend that supports the regularity and ease of the cycle through clearing the liver and nourishing the blood, such as the Moon Cycle Tonic which combines extracts of dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), red clover (Trifolium pratense), and vitex (Vitex agnus-castus). Together, these three work harmoniously to promote hormonal balance and reproductive system well-being.
Liferoot is a little-known, underappreciated, but incredibly useful and very traditional cycle tonic that is taken in small doses of 3-5 drops/day, sometimes just during the luteal phase. This gorgeous golden aster-looking herb promotes the healthy function of the uterine reproductive system and regular, easeful menstrual cycles.
Herbal Supports Beyond the Cycle
Those who no longer have a monthly cycle will find great support in a formula specifically targeted towards balancing the tissues, such as this Menopause Tonic, which includes all powerful, libido-lifting vitex, queen of balancing hormones. Vitex works through the channel of the pituitary gland to support healthy progesterone and luteinizing hormone (LH) levels. It is best used over the long-term, so if you begin taking vitex daily, it's worth committing to it for at least 6-12 weeks to fully realize its effects. This blend supports a healthy transition into and throughout a time beyond the menstrual cycle. It combines black cohosh (Actaea racemosa), vitex (Vitex agnus-castus), and hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) to make a gentle extract for a foundationally balanced and resilient hormonal and reproductive system, while also easing common menopausal hallmarks such as hot flashes.
Herbal Breast Support
Keeping the breasts happy and healthy is high up on our agenda list--and the nice thing is that there are herbal allies specifically indicated for promoting lymph tissue health, the breasts in particular. One of the best practices you can incorporate into your daily routine for general breast health is regular self-massage with a gentle, but deeply rejuvenating, lymphatic-stimulating infused herbal oil like this Breast Massage Oil, which contains calendula, violet, pine, yarrow, lavender, and rosemary to protect and defend the breasts while benefiting the body’s resistance to some of the most common challenges to breast health, particularly when hormonal levels have been tweaked or adjusted. Peace of mind, tending, and proactivity are what we're going for here with this beloved herbal oil.
Cautions and Considerations
For those who are on any type of hormonal replacement therapy, hormone supplementation, or who are on medication, please consult with your trusted medical provider before integrating any herbs into your protocol. This is so important!
Herbs may have various effects from person to person and can have subtle influence on hormonal levels which may impact different individuals in a variety of ways. For example, exercise caution if taking nettle while using any herbs, supplements, or medications that increase androgen levels or having estrogen dominance or low levels of testosterone.
Contraindications may exist between surgical procedures or prescription medications and herbs that have a hormonal component, from wild yam or vitex to red clover, black cohosh, saw palmetto, or ashwagandha. When in doubt, check in with your care team first before beginning any new herbal extracts.
If any of the information in this article resonated with you, or if you have any questions you're curious about, please drop us a comment below. We wish you wellness on your journey. And happy PRIDE!
Read on for more on gender-affirming herbalism for all!