The placenta, the tree of life! It is the only disposable organ the human body grows. It is your baby's companion and nutrient source for the duration of gestation.
It all seems pretty amazing but when you think of consuming your own placenta, does raw meat come to mind?? Well, that's not how you have to consume it. In fact, you don't even have to look at it until it is in capsule form if you don't want. There are many different methods of consumption and so many great benefits. It may seem a bit barbaric, but humans are the only mammal that normally do not consume their own placenta. It does seem to be getting more and more popular, the more educated people are becoming.
Let's take a look at look at some of the ways you can safely consume your placenta!
Methods of consumption
Raw: Placenta is raw without heating or dehydrating. Placenta can be blended into smoothies and other recipes. Proper storage and handling should be used and is very important for this method.
Raw encapsulation: Placenta is not steamed before dehydration. Placenta is simply cleaned, cut and then laid to dehydrate with steaming beforehand. The placenta will still be heated up to 160 degrees in the dehydrator and dried completely. The placenta is then ground up and put into capsules. It is said the raw encapsulation method preserves many nutrients that could be lost with heating.
Dehydrated Encapsulation: Placenta is steamed before dehydration for around 20 minutes until slightly cooked. This is said to bring warmth and energy into the placenta and body. Placenta is then cut and laid to dehydrate. The placenta reaches up to 160 degrees in the dehydrator and is then dried completely. The placenta is then ground up and put into capsules.
TCM Inspired Encapsulation: The same method as above is used, but ingredients like ginger, lemon, and pepper can be added as inspired by Traditional Chinese Medicine. The ingredients are added during the steaming process. This is said to bring warmth and energy into the placenta and body. Always inform your encapsulation specialist of any food allergies, as this may not be the best method for you.
Broth: The broth created as a byproduct of steaming the placenta can be consumed alone or in other soups and recipes. You can ask to keep the broth for consumption in addition to the capsules.
Tincture: A tincture is made with a small piece of raw placenta and 100 proof alcohol. It is left to ferment for 6 weeks. It can then be used sublingually. This not only has affects on the mother after birth, but can also be used to treat menopausal symptoms as well as the daughter’s first menstrual cycles. This can be stored as long as 20+years!
Milk Production: Prolactin a hormone found in the placenta stimulates the mammary and milk production. Oxytocin, also found in the placenta, is known to help the let down of the milk supply as well. If you have experienced a traumatic birth or preeclampsia during pregnancy, placenta consumption immediately following the birth has shown to greatly help with supply.
Mood/hormone stabalization: If you are experiencing the “baby blues” or post-partum depression, placenta consumption is highly recommended. The many hormones in the placenta can regulate and stabilize both mood and hormone levels. This can greatly reduce or help avoid postpartum depression. If you are prone to hormonal fluctuations or mood disorder while not pregnant, this could greatly benefit you during the postpartum period. In some cases, the capsules can negatively impact your mood or hormone levels so it is advised you decrease usage in this case. Always seek professional help when needed.
Oxytocin - The feel good or love hormone. Creates feelings of bonding, pain relief, happiness and elation.
Cortisone - This hormone unlocks energy stored in the body and combats stress.
Interferon - This hormones stimulates the immune system to fight off infections while the mother is healing from birth.
Prostaglandins - Acts as an anti-inflammatory.
Hemoglobin - Replenishes iron, stimulates iron production in blood. Urokinase inhibiting factor and factor XIII Lessens bleeding and promotes faster healing.
Prolactin/HPL - Stimulates healthy mammary function and milk production.
Iron/Vitamin replenishment: The placenta is rich in NATURAL iron. This is greatly beneficial immediately post-birth as you may have lost a bit of blood. Low iron can cause, fatigue, lack of concentration, and depressive symptoms. The body regulates the natural forms of iron much better than a synthetic vitamin and the body will dispose of unnecessary iron. The placenta is also high in Vitamin B content which may have been lost during birth.
Postpartum healing/pain relief: Placenta consumption has shown to increase the effectiveness of opioids. This lessens the dosage needed for pain relief and decreases the side effects. This is incredibly beneficial for the healing of c-section births, tearing or prolapsed uterus or cervix. The increase of hormones can also help the uterus shrink back to normal size much more quickly.
Placenta consumption may not be for everyone and that is ok! The medical industry has done little research on the efficacy of placenta consumption. I have spoken to many mothers who swear by the benefits, and vow to do it for each birth. Remember, everyone is different and it can affect everyone differently. If you want to learn more, contact your local encapsulation specialist!