By John Ballard
It's none of my business cuz I'm a guy, so I'll keep this one short and to the point. Besides, I doubt this subject will have wide audience appeal so I post these links mostly to let readers know how thoroughly I watch the Internets for the latest in health care news.
A Google search for placentophagia returns nearly eighty thousand links. Graphic, informative Time video here illustrating what the typical placenta looks like and how it can be made into capsules.
These links are the tip of an iceberg. And no, I'm not including images this time.
We're still trying to get our heads around this whole moms-eating-placentas-to-ward-off-postpartum depression trend. As Joel Stein horrifyingly put it, [great image here] placentas are "what your liver would look like if it got into an accident on the autobahn with one of those aliens from Mars Attacks! and their bloody carcasses threw jellyfish at each other." It seems that many NYC-area hospitals are also having trouble getting their heads around placenta pickers, with many now having to review their placenta policies in the wake of increased demand.
New York state law allows hospitals to release healthy placentas, but the wording is vague to put it mildly: some hospitals require patients to sign waivers, while others have no protocols, which leads to decisions being made by whoever is on staff that day. Many hospitals have long treated them as medical waste, since many medical experts say there is no scientific evidence to prove eating placentas can help postpartum depression.
The placenta has a ton of nutrients, but some of the placenta-eating-advocates are making some outlandish claims � like that placenta-eating helps with postpartum depression and aids in breastfeeding. I mean, great, if people report positive experiences. And I am all in favor of letting people eat their placentas if they want to, even though reading this article made me feel actually ill. I love hippies as much a the next feminist, but the woo-woo stuff just gets a little too intense for me. Eat your placenta with a nice glass of Chianti, and enjoy! But there�s no need to invoke specious medical benefits when there�s absolutely no evidence, you know?
?The Placenta Cookbook
For a growing number of new mothers, there�s no better nutritional snack after childbirth than the fruit of their own labor. By Atossa Araxia Abrahamian, Aug 21, 2011
Mark Kristal, a behavioral neuroscientist at the University of Buffalo, is the country�s leading (and quite possibly only) authority on placentophagia, the practice of placenta consumption. He has been researching the phenomenon for twenty years, and concludes that it must offer �a fundamental biological advantage� to all mammals. What this advantage is, he writes in one of his papers, �is still a mystery � in fact, a double mystery. We are not sure either of the immediate causes � nor are we sure of the consequences of the behavior.� But placentas have carried a special spiritual significance in some cultures. In ancient Egypt, it had its own hieroglyph, and the Ibo tribe in Nigeria and Ghana treats the placenta like a child�s dead twin. In traditional Chinese medicine, small doses of human placenta are sometimes dried, mixed with herbs, and ingested to alleviate, among other things, impotence and lactation conditions. And in modern medicine, doctors often bank umbilical-cord blood to treat genetic diseases with harvested stem cells.
According to Kristal, the first recorded placentophagia movement in America began in the seventies, when people residing in communes would cook up a placenta stew and share it among themselves. �It�s a New Age phenomenon,� he explains. �Every ten or twenty years people say, �We should do this because it�s natural and animals do it.� But it�s not based on science. It�s a fad.�
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~> Follow-up <~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Channel 4 rapped for serving placenta
Britain's Channel 4 has been severely reprimanded for a programme in which a woman's afterbirth was served up as pat�The Broadcasting Standards Commission said the episode of TV Dinners, shown in February, breached a taboo and "would have been disagreeable to many".
The presenter, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, devised the recipe with mother Rosie Clear for a party to celebrate the birth of her daughter Indi-Mo Krebbs.
The placenta was fried with shallots and garlic, flamb�, pur� and served to 20 relatives and friends as a pate on focaccia bread.
More at the link if you dare.
The link is fourteen years old, but still...