07 April, 2008
the original organic health & beauty aid
We are among a select few species of mammals that don't practice placentophagy. Some cultures revere it as a potent and powerful medicine. The Japanese company making these products removes "all traces of blood, hormones, toxins and disease agents." If you remove the hormones, then what is the point of ingesting placenta? And if the placentas are in need of such extensive screening, that suggests they are not from healthy creatures who ate a pristine diet and had an unmedicated pregnancy and birth. Oho! They are from pigs. (Pig placentas are quite structurally different from human/primate placentas. Fascinating stuff, if you go for that sort of thing: Placental Structure and Classification)
The linked article claims placentas are "vegan". Not anywhere close. Yes, there is the "meat which comes from life and not death" argument. However, a placenta is an organ. It would be like saying that liver is a vegan food. Even if those pigs ate a completely organic diet, roamed free in sun and mud every day, sniffed lilacs, conversed with the moon and stars and spiders named Charlotte, eating their placentas is not something any self-respecting vegan would do.
Some cultures consider the placenta to be the baby's twin. Now how vegan is that?
I do wish placentas were revered for the amazing, life-sustaining, miraculous organs they are. We were all attached to one in utero and likely stroked its tree of life surface before we could form conscious memory. I try to make sure my clients have an opportunity to see their placentas and I praise them for growing a healthy one.
Here are two websites that celebrate the wondrous placenta: http://placentabenefits.info/index.asp
Placenta remedies are old as time. German Midwife and waterbirth guru Cornelia Enning has written a small book detailing placenta lore with recipes for food, medicine, and topical treatments.
You can still order powdered human placenta from some Chinese herbal companies. Called Ziheche, its medicinal actions include: to warm the kidney, to replenish vital essence, qi and blood. Reinforcing the kidney and nourishing the sperm, reinforcing the vital energy and enriching the blood.
It is used to treat poor health, night sweats, impotence and premature ejaculation, sterility, emaciation, a hectic fever, and poor milk production. Also indicated for cough, shortness of breath, and poor appetite accompanying a long-term illness.
To staunch an immediate postpartum hemorrhage, a small piece of placenta may be placed inside the mother's cheek. TCM considers it a galactogogue. It is nature's best medicine for women suffering from Postpartum Mood Disorders. And it's FREE!
Mothers and mothers-to-be: if eating placenta or making medicine from it freaks you out, consider taking this precious "cake" that was once a part of you and returning it to the earth. It is not medical waste any more than your baby or your moonblood is medical waste. I implore you to honor it and complete the cycle.