Lucky and I have been doing more research on the subject of herbal gender transition and have learned some pretty important things for anybody who might be interested in this particular method.
As it turns out, chaste tree berry(vitex agnus-castus) is in fact an anti-androgen, but one should be very careful of the dosage because in the incorrect dosages, it can actually increase testosterone production. Also, abuse of this particular herb can cause a stroke (in the same way that medical estrogen can cause heart attacks).
Alcohol! Alcohol inhibits estrogen conversion into testosterone. Of course, this doesn’t mean become an alcoholic, but perhaps just a glass of wine a day to help the medicine go down.
Girl Juice claims that saw palmetto is a phytoanti-androgen, but I have heard it used as a masculinizing supplement, so I can’t be quite sure. However, as testosterone is a particularly volatile hormone, I tend to think that herbs effecting testosterone levels can have varying effects depending on the dosage one uses and the other herbs used in combination with them.
The list of phytoestrogens is loooonnnngggg and I won’t be going over every last detail of every last plant, but I will warn folks about a couple of them:
Black Cohosh: This is a powerful phyto-estrogen, traditionally used for menopause symptoms (that’s a good clue if you’re looking for herbal estrogen supplements btw), menstrual pains, and blood circulation. This last thing is super important – Black Cohosh is a very strong blood-thinner. Large doses can be poisonous, so if you try this herb, be very careful and take at your own risk.
Blue Cohosh: This Cohosh seems much safer than its aforementioned brother, and can be used by AFAB folks to regulate (or terminate) menstruation and to induce labor (or miscarriage). It’s generally used in combination with Black Cohosh, but also goes well with wild yam, but should not be taken at all for folks with high blood pressure.
Licorice Root: This herb is absolutely amazing, and should be used very, very sparingly, if at all. It’s great for all kinds of ailments, really, and it also contains a lot of estrogen. However, it is not particularly safe; can cause headache, lethargy, water and salt retention, potassium secretion (you’ll purge potassium), raised blood pressure, and possibly cardiac arrest. Licorice is good for colds, arthritis and can be used as a laxative, but I don’t suggest it for hormones.
For more information about herbal feminization, you can check out Girl Juice, which is where I got some of the most basic information about some of these herbs, but further research into the side-effects of many of these herbs is heavily suggested. I am not an herbalist or medical professional, just some Queer on the internet who was curious about what might work for my partner and me.
Also! Lucky has switched from pharmaceutical hormones to herbal ones through The Phoenix Project, an (admittedly) evil capitalist organization which provides herbal pill supplements for transition. While this particular organization isn’t all that great because they’re capitalizing on trans* folks and they don’t explain why they use certain ingredients (ensuring that people will be dependent upon their product), their supplements are cheaper than pharmaceuticals and Lucky seems to be reacting well to the change.