The reaction that I get when I explain to someone what it is I do for a living goes a little something like this… “you do what?!?” or they just stare at me with a blank face, lost in translation. Either way, I end up explaining to them the importance of placenta consumption, the history that dates back to traditional Chinese medicine and about the women that swear by it.
The benefits that come with placenta consumption vary. It is used in preventing and lessening the risk of postpartum depression or ‘baby blues’, replenishing iron and lending a consistent flow of oxytocin. Placenta consumption also provides the HPL hormones to help establish early and healthy milk supply while replenishing your B vitamins and energy lost during birthing. Moreover, it protects from infection and bleeding due to retained placenta tissue or membranes and offer natural pain relief. Your placenta is a perfect medicine that your body made especially for you. No doctor could prescribe a prescription, vitamin, or herbal supplement more perfect then your placenta. There are two methods of preparing placenta for encapsulation, the RAW method and TCM method (traditional Chinese medicine). In the RAW method steaming placenta is skipped and placenta goes straight into the dehydrator. Whereas, the TCM method gently warms placenta by steaming with slices of ginger,. Both methods carry the end result equally providing an increase in energy immediately. Other common practices with placenta are tinctures, salves and smoothies. Tincture is a fermentation process that allows preservation of the placenta so that it can be used for menopause, any hormonal transition and for girl’s menstrual cycle. Salve is a super healing, natural triple antibiotic ointment (used for perineal tearing, cracked or blistered nipples, eczema, sun burn, diaper rash, skin irritation and more). A placenta smoothie is a small piece of your raw placenta with your choice of organic fruits blended to provide you with a turbo boost of energy along with all the placenta benefits. These practices and benefits are creating a sub-culture that is rapidly increasing in the states and for good reason, placenta power!
In some cultures such as Vietnam and China the placenta is viewed as a life-giving force. Therefore, it is dried and added to certain placenta recipes in order to increase a person’s energy and vitality. How’s this for a history lesson, the earliest recorded use of the placenta was in 1578 by Li Shi-Zhen a medical and pharmaceutical expert of China. He included placenta as a medicine in his first TCM Materia Medica publication. It resurfaced again in Europe in the 1700’s in a scattered documentation, but it wasn’t until an American Midwife studying TCM, Raven Lang, brought this tradition back to life in the mid 1980’s, pretty cool stuff I say. In many African cultures, “zan boku” means “the place where the placenta is buried.” and bury the placenta under a tree. Filipina mothers are known to bury the placenta with books, in hopes of a smart child. It’s amazing to me how much respect and consideration other cultures have for placenta.
Being pregnant was very hard for me. The thought of Transitioning into motherhood weighed heavy on my mind so when I heard of placenta encapsulation my partner and I did not want skip on the opportunity of at the very least trying to see for ourselves if this could help with potential postpartum depression. A week after giving birth to our little Fig I began taking my capsules and immediately on that same day noticed a difference in my energy level and mood stabilization. It was godsend, the night and day difference that I noticed from the first week and through the second week. I instantly became in love with the magic that came with placenta encapsulation. Mommy’s that I’ve encapsulated all share the same experience. “I have been feeling great since my delivery and I strongly believe that the placenta pills are a major part in that.” Says Brigid . “I also have had the chance to use some with my older kids. One was in a tantrum mood, so I offered him a yogurt with some "special" powder in it. I can say within half an hour my child was in better spirits.” Says Helen. “I haven't experienced post partum depression, and I'd like of course to attribute it to placenta...” says Cecilia.
It is worth noting that there has yet to be any clinical studies to provide proof of the positive impact Placenta consumption has, nor is there any proof that it is a placebo. In a recent survey administered this year by two researchers from the University of Nevada, 96 percent of women reported positive experience taking placenta pills. I’m excited to see what other type of academic studies can be made to solidify and attribute to placenta consumption. As history tells us, the power of placenta is essential.
All quotes were taken from The Feel Good Company Placenta Encapsulation on Yelp.