Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Many Uses and Benefits of Placentas

Photo by Patti Ramos

by Jennifer George

The placenta is an organ that grows once you become pregnant. It is attached to the uterine wall and attached to the baby via the umbilical cord. The placenta is what makes hCG which is the hormone that makes a pregnancy test turn positive. During pregnancy the placenta produces hormones and brings oxygen, blood and nutrients to the baby. It also helps take out carbon dioxide and put it into the mother's blood stream for her to dispose of. The placenta can also help ward of certain infections going to the baby. The placenta is a life line from mother to baby.

Some women choose to consume their placentas for the benefits. Some of the benefits include

  • Energy
  • Decrease in insomnia
  • Decrease in postpartum mood disorders
  • Balancing hormones
  • Restore depleted iron
  • Milk supply

Different ways to take your placenta

  • Placental encapsulation is one of the most common forms in USA and Canada. You steam the placenta, dehydrate it, then grind it into a powder and place it into capsules. You can take up to 9 pills a day. Take with food and water, or you can drink it with a glass of white wine to help diffuse it into your system. You can also encapsulate using the raw dehydration method which is minus the steaming.
  • Raw is what some women like to do to ensure that they're not losing any nutrients by dehydrating. Many women will cut the placenta into pieces and take a few a day. It is also said that if you eat a piece after birth it helps with postpartum hemorrhage (I've also heard if you put a piece of the raw placenta under your tongue).
  • Placenta food is another way to take your placenta. You can put placenta into almost anything. One way is called plasagna which is placenta lasagna. 
  • Placenta smoothies are fairly common as well. Mix raw placenta into your smoothie. You can add spinach to make it more healthy.
  • Placenta tinctures are also common. You can place a piece of the placenta into a bottle with alcohol and leave it sit, usually in sun for 24 hours. There are some recipes that require it to sit for 6 weeks.
  • Placenta balms, salves and lotions are good options for women who don't want to consume the placenta but still would like to use it.

If you want to use your placenta but don't like any of those options you can bury it under a tree or bush called "The Tree of Life" or you could grind it to powder and spread the remains in your garden for plant food or over a favorite place of yours. 

In USA , Canada and many other places the placenta is considered medical waste and is usually discarded of after the birth. However in many other cultures the placenta is seen as many different things.

  • The Maori of New Zealand, the Navajo, Cambodia, Costa Rica and the Aymara of Bolivia typically bury the placenta for various reasons. Some believe it is to connect the baby back to earth. 
  • The Kwakiutl of British Columbia bury girls’ placenta to give the girl skills in digging clams. They expose boys’ placentas to ravens to encourage future prophetic visions.
  • In Turkey the disposal of the placenta is believed to promote devoutness in the child later in life.
  • Ukraine, Transylvania and Japan interaction of the placenta by the parents is thought to promote fertility in the parents.
  • Nepalese believe the placenta to be a friend of the baby’s. 
  • Malaysian Orang Asli believe the placenta to be a sibling of the baby.
  • The Ibo of Nigeria consider the placenta to be the deceased twin of the baby and perform a funeral ceremony. 
  • Native Hawaiians believe the placenta is part of the baby and bury the placenta under a tree to allow the tree to grow with the child.
  • Men may consume the placenta in some cultures and in China they use the placenta in medicine called Traditional Chinese Medicine.
  • In other places (some Asian) they use the placenta in cosmetics, and in other places the placenta is considered a delicacy. 
Jennifer is a mother of 2 boys. She's been a Placental Encapsulation Professional for 15 months and has encapsulated over 20 placentas. She lives in Minnesota and serve the MN area, parts of South Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin. For more imformation about her services you can visit her website at To learn more about her you can visit her blog at

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