Androgen Therapy for Men and Women
By Alex Strande, Ph.D.



Androgen is a steroid hormone, that stimulates the development and maintenance of masculine characteristics. This includes the activity of the accessory male sex organs and male secondary characteristics. Androgens are also the precursors of all estrogen, the female sex hormones. The primary and the most well-known androgen is testosterone.

Many myths surround the use of androgen therapy and there is considerable potential for misuse of androgen replacement medication. Fortunately we have herbs. Various herbs make the body feel that there is enough of the circulating hormone, and in both men and women, symptoms caused by lack of androgens cease.

In men things work typically easier. Addition of testosterone or testosterone-like herbs or amino acids increases erection, pleasure sensation and volume of sperms.

It is more  difficult to determine whether androgen levels in women are normal, increased or decreased. A conservative definition of female androgen insufficiency syndrome includes decreased libido, low energy, mood swings, poor memory,  diminished psychological well-being as well as redistribution of adipose tissue, change in  muscle mass and strength and bone density.

Androgen replacement at near physiological levels may be effective for symptoms of sexual dysfunction and dysphoria. In women who have had an oophorectomy, replacement of estradiol and testosterone 50 mg implants improve well-being, sexual function and bone mass. Animal or herbal androgen increases unbound testosterone improving sexual interest in postmenopausal women.

Menopause-related hot flushes are usually treated with a standardized dose of estrogen which carries potential side effects, or estrogenic herbs which in therapeutic doses give wonderful results with no side effect. The physiological reaction of excessive sweating that accompanies hot flushes is attributed to the elevation of brain norepinephrine levels within the hypothalamus. The addition of synthetic neuroendocrine agents, or its herbal equivalents widens the normal temperature range.

Persistent hot flashes in women receiving adequate estrogen therapy often indicate reduced bioavailable estrogen due to excess binding with sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). An androgenic progestin should be added to decrease SHBG estrogen binding, rather than increase the estrogen dose. Addition of appropriate herbal extracts does the job faster than progestin in my clinical experience. Plus plants are much safer.

Androgens or androgenic herbs may influence bone metabolism through direct action on bone cells, by influencing local and systemic production of growth factors or by altering muscle mass and body composition. Shark cartilage in mega doses can speed up this process. Positive bone density difference maybe seen in just a few months. Estrogenic and testosteronic herbs in therapeutic doses increases body mass and reduces fat in postmenopausal women.

In a study of 2000 women aged 18-59 the occurrence of female sexual dysfunction (FSD) was estimated at 43%. FDS may involve decreased interest or desire to initiate activity, decreased arousal, difficulty achieving orgasm or pain during intercourse. Etiologies may include depression, anxiety, stress, fatigue, pain, abuse, stress or partner¹s sexual dysfunction. FDS must be addressed by treating the possible cause and herbs provide results within days.

Women need to be aware of the potential consequences of synthetic androgen replacement therapy including cancers. Natural means should be definitely tried before using drugs.

Herbs are healing. They were created on earth for medicine, food and shelter. People supplementing herbs, vitamins, amino acids and minerals are said to live 33% longer,  suffer  less from disease and pain, and have more pleasurable love making.

Alex Strande, Ph.D. is a Traditional Naturopath and Microbiologist. His special interests are difficult conditions. He can be reached at his office in Irvine at (949) 587-1513 for questions and appointments. Find more information about Dr. Strande¹s background, articles published and many testimonials at


Return to the November/December Index page