Placenta Pills & 12 More Things to Make With Your Placenta
That A-listers like Victoria Beckham and Harry Styles spend $500 on sheep placenta facials is pretty dedicated, but for celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Gaby Hoffmann, and January Jones, that ain’t nothin’. That’s right, I’m talking about human placenta and all the things you can do with it.
Though Kim K. may be the most famous mom in Hollywood to encapsulate her placenta and knock back the pills with a glass of water, she is not the only one — and eating placenta (an act called placentophagia) is just the tip of the iceberg. The health benefits of placenta consumption are up for debate, however, and one mom shared her negative experience on the The New York Times, but a growing number of moms swear by its iron-rich, pick-me-up properties. Mayim Bialik points out that we are the only mammals who don’t regularly eat our afterbirth.
But here’s the thing: There are even more uses for the placenta than as a postpartum supplement. From teddy bears to tees, check out this list of things you can do with your placenta. Hey, maybe you’ll be inspired to get creative with your placenta.
Make Placenta Pills.
What: Also called "placenta encapsulation," having your placenta turned into pills is by far the most common way to use the placenta. The process boasts a multitude of health benefits from preventing postpartum depression, to increased breast milk supply. Practically the spokeswoman for placenta pills, Kim Kardashian wrote on her website, "Every time I take a pill, I feel a surge of energy and feel really healthy and good. I totally recommend it for anyone considering it!” That is all well and good for Kim, but the health benefits are disputed.
How: Give birth to it, clean it, steam it (spoiler alert: it's pungent!), slice it, dehydrate it, grind it, and then sift it into capsules. Voila! The "average" placenta produces about 100-200 pills. Most people hire a pro, though some choose to do it themselves.
What: That may look like a funky brown teddy bear, but it is actually a human placenta! The idea comes from London-based artist, Alex Green, whose teddy bears were chosen for an innovative sustainable toy design exhibition by [re] design.
How: In order to kill bacteria, the placenta must first be cured with salt, then softened with a mixture of eggs and tannins. Bears are then cut, sewn, and filled with brown rice. "It's more heavy than you'd imagine," Green told ABC News. "It feels soft, somewhere between leather and suede but it's much more flexible than leather -- it's bendy." Green began the project to make a statement about the way placentas are discarded unceremoniously as medical waste, and to inspire a critique of the toys we give our children. Though many find placenta teddy bears gross, Green added, "[Since the exhibition] quite a few women have expressed interest in making them."
What: Many cultures -- from Indonesian to Maori and Navajo -- choose to bury the placenta as a symbol of the baby's spirit and link to earth. Plus, it makes great fertilizer!
How: Tuck it in a stylish biodegradable basket or on its own and bury at least one-foot deep (so animals don't dig it up). Many people choose to bury it under a tree, or plant a fruit tree or flower on top to commemorate the birth of the child.
What: If you don't want to drink it, and you're no good at swallowing pills, try incorporating your placenta into a healthy, hearty casserole. A great way to share your placenta with friends, if you know any adventurous eaters.
How: Onceyou have properly drained and cleaned the placenta, cut it up and add to your favorite stew, or pasta recipe.
What: Actress and TV personality Tamera Mowry-Housley had her placenta mixed with brandy and turned into a remedy known for its emotional, mental, and psychological benefits. Not only that, she convinced her sister, Tia, to have a taste on the season finale of "Tia & Tamera". According to Tia, it was kinda good.
How: With all of these ideas, taking your placenta home might be the most difficult part. Hospitals often refuse this request, so research your hospital's regulations. However, if you're giving birth at home or a birthing center, put your placenta in a sealed plastic bag within a sealed plastic container and a cool box with ice (if not putting directly into the fridge) to prevent bacteria formation. Now, for the tincture, blend a little bit of your fresh placenta with a some good quality vodka or brandy and let steep in a glass mason jar for 6 weeks, swirling regularly.
What: Create a "Tree of Life" and make a beautiful print using your placenta as the stamp.
How: Before it has been cleaned or discarded, carefully place your placenta onto acid-free paper (fashion the umbilical cord into a heart shape, if you can!), then frame and display or tuck the picture in a baby book.
What: Turn a plain old tee into a work of art that comes from the heart. Crafters will love this option!
How: Drain the blood from your placenta, place cardboard inside the shirt to prevent leakage, and start painting! (Also, this is a great two-fer for anyone who was planning to drain the blood and use the placenta for another purpose).
What: One of the most popular options is to blend your placenta into a smoothie (heavy on the berries to mask the color and taste). Many celebrities, including "Girls" star Gabby Hoffman, are highly in favor of this option. “I made smoothies out of it for three weeks," she told People.
How: "I had a home birth, so my midwife and my doula took it and cut it up into 20 pieces and froze it, and every day, I put it in a blender with strawberries and blueberries and guava juice and a banana, and I drank that s— up,” Hoffman explained.
What: A fragrant option is to create a salve that can be used on skin. Salves are great for postpartum healing -- everything from C-section scars to vaginal tears, scrapes, bruises, and diaper rash, according to 510 Placenta Services on Etsy.
How: Most salves are concocted of different oils and beeswax, then you can add a bit of your powdered placenta and favorite herbs or dried flowers for your own unique blend.
What: If you have a sweet tooth, turning your placenta into bite-size bonbons could be the best way to benefit from the placenta's healing properties.
How: Follow a basic truffle recipe (melt down your favorite bar-chocolate, combine with boiled cream), and then add a bit of powdered placenta -- most people go for a high chocolate to placenta ratio. Let cool, then form into balls.