Why should I take placenta capsules?
For thousands of years, Traditional Chinese Medicine has recognized the placenta as powerful medicine used to increase scanty lactation and tonify Qi, life energy, after the birth. Today, many women look to placenta encapsulation as a natural way to even their hormones after birth and avoid postpartum depression.
By ingesting your placenta in pill form you can reap the benefits of your placenta medicine without the aversion that some people feel about cooking and eating it after the birth. Additionally, you get a longer, sustained application over the first month postpartum than if it was ingested immediately after the birth. Some people even save some of their remaining placenta capsules and freeze them for later, knowing they can be useful during other physically/hormonally stressful times.
What are the placenta benefits?
There is a growing trend of using the placenta to facilitate the woman's postpartum recovery through ingestion of the placenta, known as placentophagy. The placenta is incredibly nutritious and contains many of the vitamins, minerals and hormones that a mother's body needs to adequately recover from the pregnancy and birth.
Your baby's placenta, contained in capsule form, is believed to:
· contain your own natural hormones
· be perfectly made for you
· balance your system
· replenish depleted iron
· give you more energy
· lessen bleeding postnatally
· been shown to increase milk production
· help you have a happier postpartum period
· hasten return of uterus to pre-pregnancy state
How about placenta treatment by different traditions?
For centuries the placenta has received ceremonial handling by many cultures around the world. Revered for its symbolism of life, spirit and individuality, it is often buried outside. Some people even promote cooking and eating it as a celebration of birth and a source of rich nutrients.
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. In Indonesia, the placenta is seen as the baby’s twin or elder sibling and is perceived as the baby's guardian throughout life.
In Hawaii the placenta is brought home and washed, then buried following a religious ritual with a tree planted on it. It is believed this binds the child to his or her homeland. The “iewe” (placenta) of the newborn child is sacred and must be handled in a sacred manner in order to provide for the physical health of the child.
What does the science say?
“It has been shown that the feeding of desiccated placenta to women during the first eleven days after parturition causes an increase in the protein and lactose percent of the milk." McNeile, Lyle G. 1918. The American journal of obstetrics and diseases of women and children, 77. W.A. Townsend & Adams, original press: University of Michigan.
”Giving…placenta to a new mother following birth has become standard protocol among a growing number of midwives in the United States. By nourishing the blood and fluids, endocrine glands and organs, Placenta will reduce or stop postpartum bleeding, speed up recovery, boost energy and relieve postpartum blues.” Homes, Peter. 1993. Jade Remedies, Snow Lotus Press, 352.