To eat or not to eat? That is the question! Some of us have probably pondered this question, and some of us may not even have the slightest idea why someone would want to eat their placenta. While most mammals on land consume their placenta following birth, humans are one of the few that do not regularly eat their placenta. More recently, placenta consumption has been discussed and researched, proving there may be several reasons why most mammals thrive from eating their placenta.
What is it?
Placenta encapsulation is the process of making edible capsules packed with a mothers dehydrated placenta. These capsules look very similar to your prenatal vitamins or any capsule form pills you may take. They are orally ingested at various “doses” and for variable lengths of time. Placenta tinctures are solutions containing a portion of the raw placenta. Tinctures are orally ingested as drops and can be mixed into a beverage for postpartum benefits.
There are so many benefits thought to help a mother postpartum and even at menopausal times. Research studies indicate the following benefits from consuming this miraculous organ that served as the life line between you and your baby. These benefits stem from the natural composition of the placenta, which is rich in proteins, chemicals/hormones, and iron.
Iron and Hemoglobin
- fights anemia, increases energy, decreases fatigue and depression
Estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone
- Promotes lactation, stabilizes moods, regulates uterine contractions, decreases depression, and regulates libido
- Increases milk supply and increases natural mothering behaviors
- Combats stress hormones, decreases pain, enhances mother and infant bonding, increases milk let down reflex
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
- Increases energy, decreases physiological effects of stress
Corticotropin Releasing Hormone (CRH)
- Helps prevent and decrease depression
- Promotes healing by reducing inflammation and swelling
Interferon and Immunoglobin G (IgG)
- Boosts the immune system for the mother and the baby
- Helps regulate uterine contractions
Urokinase Inhibiting Factors
- Aids in fighting fatigue
- Promotes factors that contribute to lactation
- Stimulates natural endorphins in the body, reduces pain, and increases overall well being
Methods of Placenta Encapsulation
There are two well established methods for placenta encapsulation. Both methods involve rinsing and cleaning the outer tissues of the placenta, then draining the excess blood. A tincture can be made by cutting a small piece of the raw placenta and immersing it into an alcohol solution.
Traditional Chinese Method
Chinese traditions during and after pregnancy usually involve warmth and heat. This method is probably the most common and oldest known method for preparation. After a thorough washing, the placenta is gently steamed with specific herbs and spices known for their healing powers in the Chinese culture. The placenta is then cut into strips and fully dehydrated. The dehydrated pieces are ground into a fine powder and portioned into capsules.
This is different from the Chinese method in which cool preparation methods are utilized instead of heat. The only deviation from the Chinese method is keeping the placenta raw and not steaming it. After the placenta is washed it is cut into strips, dehydrated, and encapsulated. This is a great option for those that adhere to a strict raw diet.
Sign me up!
If you’re interested in encapsulating your placenta, try starting with a doula. Many doulas offer placenta encapsulation services or they can refer you to someone else who can do this for you. Research the internet for doulas local to your area. Also, check out our article on 10 reasons to consider having a doula at your next birth.
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