Unless you live in an armpit hippy commune, your intentions to eat your placenta are probably going to be received with more dirty looks and gagging noises than warm embraces. Most people in the United States consider placenta eating right up there with cannibalism, sacrificing babies and eating your own poop.
On the other hand, in many other cultures around the world, the placenta is revered as the tree of life. It is believed to have extraordinary medicinal properties for the postpartum mother including the ability to reduce the risk of postpartum depression, increase milk supply, regulate hormones and control postpartum hemorrhage. It is also used in many birthing rituals. For example, many indigenous cultures bury the placenta with the belief that it will root the child to the earth. In the language of the Maori people in New Zealand, the word for placenta and earth are one in the same: whenua.
Don't be deterred by the strange looks from your friends and family. If you are interested in partaking in this amazing life-giving force, there are a variety of options at your disposal.
Depending on your gag reflex, this may or may not be a real possibility. But I've heard several women who've experienced postpartum depression say, "If I had known that it would stop me from getting PPD, I would have eaten my placenta raw." As with most foods, raw placenta is the most potent of all. Because it hasn't been cooked or dried, it contains the most nutrients and medicinal properties. According to one mother who ate her placenta raw, "It was not as bad as I expected. It had the texture of scrambled eggs in my mouth. I thought it would be chewier or harder to swallow."
Although this may also sound like a less-than-tasty treat to some, lots of women who have tried it claim it is actually quite delicious. There are a variety of recipes from which to choose, but one of the most recommended is the following:
Triple Berry Placenta Smoothie
1 fresh whole placenta (be sure to remove the membranes and cord)
1 cup fresh strawberries
1 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh raspberries
2 cups ice
1/3 cup agave nectar or honey
Whip on high speed for 3-4 minutes in your blender and serve.
Mothers who drank this smoothie said they appreciated the fact that the strawberries had a red color, so they weren't thinking too hard about what else was in the drink. They also said it tasted fantastic. "Just like a regular berry smoothie."
Believe it or not, there are literally hundreds of recipes for cooked placenta online. You can find tempting dishes ranging from Placenta Fajitas and Placenta Lasagna to Placenta Tartar. In fact, you can pretty much use any recipe that calls for beef or liver and replace it with placenta. It tastes very similar to liver or any other organ meat. A good friend of mine once told me that her mother served placenta chili to her entire family without telling them. Everyone said it was delicious until she revealed what she had done.
Do you like beef jerky? Yes? Well then, you might consider spicing up your placenta with some of your favorite flavors and having it dehydrated into placenta jerky.
For the more squeamish types (read: most Americans), encapsulation is probably the best bet. In most major cities, you can now find placenta encapsulation specialists who will be happy to take your fresh or frozen placenta, dehydrate and encapsulate it, and return it to you in the form of tiny pills you can take every day just like vitamins. You get all the natural medicinal benefits without having to prepare the organ itself. Not sure where to find such a service in your town? Ask your local midwife or natural childbirth center
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