How to Reduce Testosterone Levels Naturally

If you or someone you know struggles from irregular cycles, acne, facial hair or have been diagnosed with one of the most common endocrine disorders, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), your doctor may have suggested the cause of your symptoms to be related to elevated testosterone or DHEA levels. Although I wish all doctors would test your serum testosterone levels, before “assuming” that elevated testosterone levels was the cause of your symptoms, you may have been suggested to start medication to lower your testosterone levels. The most common anti-androgenic medication recommended to lower testosterone is spironolactone. And although spironolactone can be effective, spironolactone was actually originally used for its effect on aldosterone-specific mineralocorticoid receptors in the kidneys (specifically in the distal convoluted tubules) and decreases the reabsorption of both water and sodium and increase the retention of potassium. This mechanism makes spironolactone extremely effective for cardiac related conditions including heart failure (due to low ejection fraction) and edema and works as a potassium sparing diuretic. Wait what? The medication you are using for facial hair, acne and testosterone is actually a diuretic? Yep. Bet your doctor didn’t mention that. So today, I thought I’d share some ways we use botanical medicine to help our patients reduce their testosterone levels naturally. 

Ganoderma Lucidum (Reishi) 

Red Reishi, also commonly known as LingZhi in traditional chinese medicine (TCM) is a popular mushroom that has grown in interest for it’s anti-androgenic effect as a recent research study exploring the anti-androgenic effect of 20 species of mushroom found red reishi to have the strongest anti-androgenic effect by reducing 5 alpha-reductase activity, preventing the conversion of testosterone into the more potent form, DHT. High levels of DHT were specifically associated with an increase in symptoms including hair thinning, facial hair and acne. 

Glycyrrhiza glabra (Licorice) 

Licorice root, also known as “sweet root” has been used by both Eastern and Western medicine to treat a variety of conditions ranging from the common cold to liver disease. Licorice is of particular interest because it contain isoflavones, and has phytoestrogen effects, which mimic the effects of natural estrogen produced by our body and can help relieve symptoms associated with menstrual disorders and may also reduce testosterone levels, which can contribute to hirsutism (facial hair) in women. Although small, a clinical trial published in 2004 by Armanini and colleagues found that licorice root significantly decreased total testosterone levels in women after just one month of use. However, not only did total testosterone levels return to normal when patients discontinued it but there is additional research that needs to be done to understand the effect of licorice on free testosterone levels. 

Paeonia lactiflora (White Peony) 

White Peony has been a staple in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and in a 1991 study in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine, Takeuchi et al found that white peony could inhibit the production of testosterone and promote the activity of aromatase which would convert testosterone into estrogen. This is again why understanding the mechanism of botanical medicine is so important because if a patient struggles from elevated estrogen levels or has a personal or family history of hormone sensitive cancer, White Peony may not be the best treatment option for them. 

Camellia sinensis (Green Tea) 

Not only has green tea been shown to help reduce the risk of cancer and type 2 diabetes but green tea also has powerful anti-androgenic effects due to the fact that green tea contains epigallocatechin (EGCgs) which have been found to inhibit 5- alpha reductase activity reducing the conversion of testosterone into the more potent, and symptom causing form, DHT. Although more randomized controlled trials are needed in our clinic we have found it helpful, especially for our patients suffering from PCOS.

Mentha spicata (Spearmint) 

Spearmint has extremely powerful anti-androgenic properties that help reduce the level of free testosterone in the blood, while leaving total testosterone and DHEA-S levels unaffected. In a turkish study, Akdogan and colleagues saw that drinking a cup of herbal tea steeped with M. spicata (spearmint) twice a day for 5 days during the follicular phase of their cycle (generally cycles days 1-5), experienced a significant reduction in free testosterone levels while increasing their luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and estradiol (active estrogen) levels. This prompted a further randomized clinical trial by Grant (1), which showed that drinking spearmint tea twice daily for 30 days (vs. chamomile tea, which was used as a control) significantly reduced plasma levels of gonadotropins and androgens in patients with hirsutism associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome. Always make sure you choose USDA organic spearmint tea, to avoid the unnecessary exposure to micro-plastics and pesticides. 

Serenoa repens (Saw Palmetto) 

Saw palmetto is a small palm tree native to eastern regions of the United States, that researchers have been extremely excited about in the treatment of androgenic alopecia (hair loss due to high androgens/testosterone levels)  as well as PCOS. Although further research is needed, we have found it to be helpful for our patients suffering from elevated DHEA and total testosterone levels. 


As a friendly reminder, although botanical medicine may appear safe because it is “natural”, remember botanical medicine is very powerful and may interact with some of your current medications or may be contraindicated in your particular case so please be sure to always consult with your doctor before starting any new supplements.  

About the Author: Meet Dr. ZenAlissia Zenhausern- Pfeiffer, NMD, FABNE, (commonly known by her patients as Dr. Zen), is a licensed naturopathic doctor board certified in naturopathic endocrinology and the founder of NMD Wellness of Scottsdale, a premier naturopathic medical practice that focuses on helping women to take a proactive approach to their hormone and fertility health. Dr. Zen has been featured as a lead expert in Forbes, Shape Magazine, and Instyle and is deeply passionate about bridging the gap between traditional and natural medicine in the world of fertility. She works with a variety of hormone related issues including PCOS, endometriosis and unexplained infertility. Her goal is to help more women get back into the driver’s seat of their own health to make lasting transformational changes to their health to bring more cute and adorable babies into this world. Read More About Dr. Zen...