What is Placentophagy?

Placentophagy or more specifically maternal placentophagy is the postpartum consumption of the placenta by the mother. Traditional Chinese Medicine has documented the use of placenta as a medicinal substance for well over a thousand years. Among the Chinese and Vietnamese, it is a customary practice to prepare the placenta for consumption by the mother. The placenta is thought to be rich in nutrients that the mother can easily absorb to recover more readily from childbirth. In Italy, women have been known to eat parts of the placenta to help with lactation. Hungarian women bite the placenta to expedite the completion of labor, and knowledgeable midwives in this country have their birth mothers take bites of raw placenta to help stop hemorrhaging, due to its beneficial oxytocin content.

What are the benefits?

Placenta Encapsulation - BenefitsPlacenta capsules may:

  • Allow for a quicker return to health after birth
  • Increase general energy
  • Reduce pain
  • Encourage a healthy milk supply
  • Prevent the baby blues and postpartum depression
  • Replenish essential hormones such as oxytocin and CRH (stress reducer)
  • Replenish essential nutrients such as iron and vitamin B6


The following is quoted from the herbal textbook, Ten Lectures on the Use of Medicinals from the Personal Experience of Jiao Shu-De:

According to modern research, zi he che (human placenta) promotes development of the mamary glands, female genitals, and ovaries. it also enhances the immune system and strengthens resistance. Zi he che is effective in the treatment of incomplete development of the uterus, uterine atrophy, functional amenorrhea, myometritis, utierine bleeding, scant breast milk, postpartum anterior pituitary hypofunction (Sheehan’s syndrome), anemia, pulmonary tuberculosis, and bronchitis.

How are your services different from other placenta encapsulation services?

Customized Placenta Encapsulation with Traditional Chinese HerbsHuman placenta (zi he che) is an herbal medicine. We have advanced training in Chinese herbal medicine and know how this revered medicine plays a part in the organ systems and energetic systems of the body according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). We are skilled at creating custom herbal formulas according to the constitution and the particular needs of an individual at the time of treatment. A free consultation is included in the price of placenta encapsulation. During this consult, the practitioner will make a TCM diagnosis and consider your medical history and any pre-existing or current health concerns to determine your constitutional needs. With this information, we may add herbal medicines to augment the nourishing and restorative benefits of the placenta itself.

What is involved in encapsulating my placenta?

The Encapsulated Placenta After Customized Herbal PreparationFirst and foremost we want you to know that your placenta will be treated with respect, reverence, and care throughout the process of preparation. The placenta will be steamed and infused with herbs chosen especially for you. These herbs will interact synergistically with your placenta to produce a customized herbal based medicinal to aid in your postpartum recovery. The placenta is dried over a period of several hours and then ground into a fine powder. This powder is then encapsulated. The entire process can generally be completed in about 48 hours.

How do I get my placenta to you?

You should notify your OB/GYN or midwife that you intend to take your placenta home with you (if you are delivering at a hospital). Most hospitals will ask that you sign a release form before giving you your placenta to take home.

After your baby is born, someone should notify us that the placenta will be dropped off. If you are unable to deliver the placenta to us within a few hours after delivery, then see that it is refrigerated.

When should the placenta be encapsulated?

Ideally the placenta is encapsulated within a few days after the birth. After we receive the placenta, it will take 2-3 days to complete the encapsulation process and deliver the final product back to you. You can begin taking the capsules right away for maximum postpartum benefit. See the dosage information included with your capsules.

Placentas that have been properly frozen (double-bagged and protected from freezer-burn) can also be encapsulated up to 6 months after the birth.

What are the major known ingredients of human placenta?

(Taken in part from the text, Chinese Herbal Medicine – Materia Medica REVISED EDITION)

The chemical composition of Placenta Hominis (zi he che) is exceedingly complex. Among the more important know ingredients are:

prolactin: A hormone released from the anterior pituitary gland that stimulates milk production after childbirth.

oxytocin: A hormone released by the pituitary gland that causes increased contraction of the uterus during labor and stimulates the ejection of milk into the ducts of the breasts.

thyroid-stimulating hormone: TSH causes the thyroid gland to make 2 hormones which helps to control your body’s metabolism.

cortisone: A hormone produced by the adrenal cortex. One of the glucocorticoids, it can relieve inflammation, pain, and swelling.

interferon: A protein released by animal cells, usually in response to the entry of a virus, that has the property of inhibiting virus replication.

prostaglandins: Any of a group of cyclic fatty acids with hormone-like effects, notably the promotion of uterine contractions.

lysozyme: A hydrolyzing agent and immune system booster capable of destroying bacteria and viruses on contact.

hemoglobin: The iron-containing substance in red blood cells that transports oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.

phosphorus: The second most profuse mineral in the body. It aids bone formation, digestion, protein formation, hormone balance, cell repair, chemical reactions, and nutrient utilization.


Airalia S. Keime, LVN, CYT, Intern Midwife

Customized Placenta Encapsulation in San Diego