Placentophagy

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Women today are quickly expanding our awareness and are becoming increasingly empowered and enlightened. We are re-remembering. It is our bodies, our birth. Pregnancy and Birthing are sacred times in a woman’s life; reverence should be held for the journey. Sterile doctors’ offices and impersonal relationships with a health care provider should come second to – or at least be supplemented by – comfortable environs filled with warm, loving, experienced people the woman can trust to hold space for her during this amazing time. And healing should be available to her in all its many forms – physical, emotional and spiritual. Placenta medicine is an age old preparation that utilizes and honors the incredible organ that connects mother to baby, providing healing on various levels. It is a medicine perfectly made for mother and baby, by the mother.

For thousands of years, placenta has been used to avoid postpartum symptoms such as: depression, low vitality, fatigue, insufficient milk supply, and hormonal imbalance. Li Shizhen first wrote about placenta use in Traditional Chinese Medicine in the 1500s when he compiled a Chinese Materia Medica that has since been revised, expanded upon, and is now a textbook used today by modern practitioners. Placenta, or Zî hé chē, had been used long before in TCM preparations to alleviate the symptoms noted above, and is now more common in the West as beliefs and attitudes towards health and birthing are, thankfully, seeing a widespread change. Midwives, Doulas and even some of the more mainstream healthcare providers are able to practice more freely the effective treatments that were once taboo in our western culture.

TCM theory states that the process of labor and birth leaves a lot of open, empty space, which is considered very yin, or cold. To counter this imbalance, and promote healing during the postpartum period, we can add yang energy, or heat. The placenta is prepared in a such a way that introduces heat; the organ is steamed with warming herbs and then dried. The final result is a warming, tonifying and nourishing preparation that can be used during the postpartum period and beyond.

The placenta is composed of healing chemicals. The known ingredients that give the placenta its healing properties are:

Cortisone | combats stress and unlocks energy stores
Gammaglobulin | immune booster that helps protect against postpartum infections
Gonadotrophin | the precursor to estrogen, progesterone and testosterone
Hemoglobin | replenishes iron deficiency and anemia, a common postpartum condition
Interferon | stimulates the immune system to protect against infections
Oxytocin | for pain relief and bonding; produced during breastfeeding to facilitate bonding of mother and infant
Prolactin | promotes lactation
Prostaglandins | anti-inflammatory
Thyroid stimulating hormone | boosts energy and helps recovery from stressful events
Urokinase inhibiting factor and factor XIII | stops bleeding and enhances wound healing

Placenta medicine:

Contains your own natural hormones
Is perfectly made for you
Balances your system
Replenishes depleted iron
Gives you more energy
Lessens bleeding postnatally
Increases milk production
Promotes a happier postpartum period
Hastens return of your uterus to prepregnancy size
Is helpful during menopause

For more information on the different forms of placenta medicine and their uses, please see our Placental Preparations page

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