I know that there are many of us who currently rely on some pharmaceuticals and don't see that changing anytime soon. I am one of them.
My situation is: I'm a young woman who was born male (transsexual if you wanna get clinical, which I don't) who a few years ago had 'the surgery' and has otherwise moved on with life.
However, since I don't have ovaries I am indefinitely dependent on pharmaceutical hormones.. estrogen and progesterone.
While its not too much of a bother, I would much prefer to find a more sustainable and 'permacultural' solution rather than buying synthetic versions of life's most basic hormones from the big multinationals.
I can't imagine estrogen is that complicated in structure, and so I'm dead curious on how easy it might be to synthesize it in a DIY home laboratory using readily available local materials. From my bio knowledge, it is closely related to in structure to cholesterol, could I perhaps make it from animal fat? One of the more readily available hormones on the market, Premarin, is extracted the from pregnant mares urine, hence the name. UNfortunately that stuff is whack and the company widely accused of animal cruelty.
Any chemists or Pharm D's here care to chime in?
ps. I can imagine some people's first reaction would be to suggest taking herbal medicines that contain phytoestrogens, or soy, etc. Unfortunately, those would be too weak and dilute for someone with my needs. Definitely looked into it back when.
I can't help too much on the oestrogens, but I do know that there isn't just one - there are loads of them, all with slightly different actions in the body. Maybe getting a mare, breeding her, and collecting the urine yourself might be worth looking into. I've no idea how complicated it would be though. Heck, I have too much oestrogen and if I knew how to get it out I'd send you some!!
Progesterone is a bit different - there is only one progesterone, though there are progestins which approximate it. I use 'natural progesterone' cream, which is a synthetic version of human progesterone. It has also recently been discovered in walnut leaves. Unfortunately walnut leaves also contain loads of other not-so-pleasant chemicals so my initial reaction of 'whoopee, I just need to grow walnuts and drink walnut leaf teal' was a bit premature, but I'm sure the time is ripe for some enterprising soul to start producing a *really* natural 'natural progesterone' cream from walnut leaves. I've no idea how you'd go about it but I'm sure someone, somewhere should have some ideas.
Burra Maluca wrote: Heck, I have too much oestrogen and if I knew how to get it out I'd send you some!!
Lol, yes! I think you may be on to something.. I mean, if one could isolate estrogens from pregnant mares urine, I'd imagine a pregnant woman's pee would work just as well if not better right?
One would just have to have constant supply of pregnant friends around, or better yet, strike up a deal with a maternity spa/midwife/hospital. It could actually be a decent social entreprise, like "The Pregnant Women's Urine Collective". And maybe then use the leftover as urine fertilizer?
Thank you for th article on the black walnut leaves. I imagine there ought to be a reasonable process for extracting the progesterone away from the undesirable chemicals, right? Perhaps there are even some nice things in there worth preserving..
I wonder if it would have to be pregnant women? I know that some hormones are collected from nuns, especially menopausal nuns, for the hormones they contain, especially follicle stimulating hormones for use in fertility treatment. Maybe any woman would do. But I guess only nuns and permies would be likely to be willing to collect and donate it. I have to admit, I do tend to guard mine for use on the compost heaps, but then I *am* a bit obsessive about my compost.
I don't remember all the details, but from what I remember from my equine fertility classes, the reason they used pregnant mare's urine was that one of the hormones in it just happened to be really effective at stimulating the follicles on virtually all other mammals. At the time, this meant that there was virtually nothing effective for use on mares as it was so expensive to produce and horses needed a much, much heavier dose than any other animal. But maybe if people donated their own it wouldn't be so expensive. Hmmm. Lots of research needed, methinks...
Also, though you might not appreciate me saying this, but having suffered from excessive oestrogens and endometriosis for over thirty years, are you *sure* you want a 'full dose' of female hormones? I'd have happily lived without them, or at least a much lower level of them. No need to answer that, just thought I'd throw it into the mix...
Here's a couple of links on use of nun's urine for hormone/drug use. Puts a whole new twist on 'taking the piss' really...
I think if you are going to synthesize it from cholesterol or some other precursor, you are not doing permaculture - it is pharmaceutical manufacturing. That's not always a bad activity - there are some useful molecules that we get that way. But I don't think it would inexpensive or easy to do it right. Too easy to get a mix of different molecules.
Phyto-estrogens or phyto-progesterones might be the closest that permies and herbalists can do ... maybe there is something that stimulates fat cells to produce more estrogen (other than obesity, which has some side effects).