There are many ways to prepare your placenta for ingestion. Some women feel comfortable putting placenta in a smoothie, or creating a special recipe for it. Some women even consume it raw. These methods will work, but they limit the length of time you are able to utilize the benefits of placenta to a matter of days.

The preferred method of ingestion is by capsule. The placenta can be dried, ground, and encapsulated. The capsules can then be taken daily for a number of weeks. You reap all of the healthful benefits of placenta quickly, easily and discreetly, and the capsules will last indefinitely (for years). When you have recovered from childbirth, you can freeze the capsules and save them for menopause.

Placentas are rare and powerful - make the best use of the ONE available. Encapsulation is by far the optimum choice for ingestion and preservation.

Benefits Include:

• Increase general energy
• Allow a quicker return to health after birth
• Increase production of breast milk
• Decrease likelihood of baby blues and post natal depression
• Decrease likelihood of iron deficiency
• Decrease likelihood of insomnia or sleep disorders

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Courtney Ellis

Photo by Lindsey Kliewer


Medicinal Uses:

Many people of the world have known the secret power of the placenta as a medicinal supplement. Among the Chinese and Vietnamese, it is a customary practice to prepare the placenta for consumption by the mother. The placenta is thought to be rich in nutrients that the mother needs to recover more readily from childbirth. In Italy, women have been known to eat parts of the placenta to help with lactation. Hungarian women bite the plaenta to expedite the completion of labor. And knowledgeable midwives in this country have their birth mothers take bites of raw placenta to help stop hemorrhaging, due to its beneficial oxytocin content.

There are a variety of potential benefits to placentophagy. For one, the placenta contains vitamins and minerals that may help fight depression symptoms, such as vitamin B6. For another, the placenta is considered rich in iron and protein, which would be useful to women recovering from childbirth, and a particular benefit to vegetarian women.

Research on placentophagy is still in its infancy, although there is a large body of research beginning to develop on postpartum hormone fluctuations and health. Researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conducted a study that focused on CRH (Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone). CRH is a stress reducer, and is generally produced by the hypothalamus. During the last trimester of pregnancy, the placenta secretes so much CRH that the levels in the bloodstream increase threefold. However, it was also discovered that postpartum women have lower than average levels of CRH, triggering depressive symptoms.(1) They concluded that the placenta secreted so much CRH that the hypothalamus stopped producing it. Once the placenta was born, it took some time for the hypothalamus to get the signal that the CRH levels were low, and to begin producing it again. This is just another sign that there is likely a biological cause for the baby blues, directly related to hormone levels.

Traditional Chinese Medicine has been using placenta medicinally for thousands of years. One of the well-known TCM uses for placenta, or Zî hé che, is to help with insufficient lactation.(2) Interestingly enough, in 1954, researchers conducted a study on 210 women who were expected to have insufficient milk supply. They gave dried placenta to the women, and discovered that 86% of them had a positive increase in their milk production within a matter of days.(3) It is exciting to see that some scientific research has validated TCM theories of the benefits of placenta. More recent research has discovered that placentophagia could enhance pain tolerance by increasing the opium-like substances activated during childbirth.(4) This would obviously be beneficial during the postpartum healing process.

1. Baby blues - postpartum depression attributed to low levels of corticotropin-releasing hormone after placenta is gone; Discover; Dec 1995.
2. Chinese Herbal Medicine: Materia Medica.
3. Placenta as a Lactagogon; Gynaecologia 138: 617-627, 1954.
4. Placenta ingestion by rats enhances d- and ?-opioid antinociception, but suppresses µ-opioid antinociception; DiPirro, J.M. and Kristal M.B., Brain Research 1014: 22-23, 2004.

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