Placenta Consumption

by Serena Ma, ND, MS, LAc

Official due date is today and I'm still pregnant...and I'm very ready to meet him!

One of the many phone calls I plan to make immediately postpartum is for my Placenta.  I am going to have my placenta picked up and prepared into capsules - all within 72 hours of delivery.  Yeah yeah, so it sounds weird and trendy. Lately it's been getting attention since celebrities are doing it (like Kourtney Kardashian, Alicia Silverstone, Janauary Jones).  But this isn't a new trend.

I have been planning to do this since my Chinese Herbal Medicines classes a decade ago.

Placenta (or zi he che) has been in the Chinese Herbal Materia Medica - considered a Chinese 'herb' - since the 1500s!  It literally translates to 'purple liver vehicle', which suggests that it's a vehicle that benefits the liver.

  • In fact, it is a strong liver and kidney tonic and may be helpful for those with fertility issues and kidney qi deficiency.  
  • Full of nutrients and blood, it's also a powerful blood and Qi tonic, which is perfect for the postpartum mom to help with lactation while tired and recovering from childbirth.  It also claims to help with postpartum depression - which oftentimes may makes sense since it may be a 'blood deficiency' pattern in Chinese Medicine.

Although placentophagy is not well-researched and not FDA-approved, for me, it's important that my placenta will be processed properly.  I found someone with the APPA (The Association of Placenta Preparation Arts www.placentaassociation.com).  These APPA providers have gone through their training program emphasizing proper sanitation according to OSHA/EPA guidelines, respect for the placenta, proper biohazard disposal, etc.  

The national average cost of placenta encapsulation service is anywhere between $150-400, plus separate fees for tinctures, salves, prints.

So this is not for everyone, but for me, this organ has been a life source for my son, and it would be a such a shame to just throw that into biohazard waste.