We have talked about quite a few gross food but the one we are going to talk about now crosses the very limits of being gross. There is a scientific name attributed to act of eating this food (if we consider it as food at all) – placentophagy. Placentophagy refers to the act of eating placenta. Most of us possibly already know what a placenta is but just in case some of you are not aware of what it refers to, we will cover everything in our list of 20 interesting placentophagy facts. Let’s get started.
Interesting Placentophagy Facts: 1-10
1. Placentophagy which means practice of eating the placenta is widespread among mammals. 99% of all known mammals in this world practice this.
2. Placenta is a shared organ which remains attached to the inner lining of the womb in a pregnant mammal and is responsible for separating the blood supply of the baby and the mother. It also acts as a link between the mother and the baby.
3. The placenta is crucial because it performs those important tasks for the baby that it is not capable of carrying out by itself before birth. The placenta remains attached to the baby through the umbilical cord.
4. The nutrients and oxygen required by the unborn baby are collected from mother’s blood supply by the placenta which are then transferred to the baby by the umbilical cord. Similarly, waste products from the baby pass through the umbilical cord into the placenta and then into the mother’s blood stream which are then excreted out from the mother’s body.
5. Every placenta is always unique to a mother and its baby and it forms only after a female mammal becomes pregnant. The placenta is not present in non-pregnant women.
6. As said in point #2, placenta is a shared organ. A part of the placenta has fetus origins and a part originates from the mother.
7. After the baby is born, the placenta comes out of the womb and is known as afterbirth and 99% of the known mammals end up eating this placenta.
8. In humans placenta eating was not widespread until recently. However, the trend in picking up especially in Canada, United States and Europe.
9. Some people consider placentophagy in humans as cannibalism because though it is a shared organ, it partly belongs to another human being (the baby).
10. Those who support placetophagy argue that eating placenta is not cannibalism because it is not a permanent organ.
Interesting Placentophagy Facts: 11-20
11. Some consider that placenta eating is beneficial because it is extremely rich in nutrients and hormones that nourished the baby in the womb.
12. According to some experts, a mother loses a lot of hormones produced by her body during pregnancy. It takes quite some time for the body to restore the hormonal balance after the child birth. Eating the placenta helps to replenish the lost hormones and helps the body to restore the hormonal balance.
13. Placenta is rich in prolactin and lactogen which are known for preparing mammary glands and stimulating milk production. Eating the afterbirth is believed to promote production of healthy breast milk.
14. Postpartum women usually suffer with iron deficiency because a lot of blood is lost during child birth. This can eventually lead to postpartum depression (PPD). Placenta is very iron-rich. Placentophagy thus helps to replenish the lost iron.
15. Placenta is also known to be rich in vitamin B6 which has been found to combat depression. Consumption of placenta can help to improve the emotional experiences (baby blues or PPD) women go through after child birth.
16. Some people just freeze the placenta immediately after birth and later take it out, clean it up, steam it and eat.
17. Some take an additional step of chopping down the steamed placenta into pieces and put it in the oven to bake and dry out the pieces completely.
18. The dried pieces are put in blender and powdered. The powder is then encapsulated and stored to be consumed as pills.
19. Encapsulation is not the only way of placentophagy. There is a whole recipe book dedicated to preparing and eating placenta and is actually sold on Amazon. The book has 25 recipes which include names like Placenta Burgers, Placenta Patties, Placenta Loaf, Placenta Tacos and more.
20. If you intend to eat placenta (referring to all women who are reading this post), make sure that you eat only the placenta you shared with your baby and not any other woman’s placenta as you may risk contracting diseases.
Bonus Placentophagy Facts:
a. According to Wikipedia, Placentophagy may have originated back in 587 BC during Siege of Jerusalem. The reason was famine.
b. Chinese have traditionally used Placentophagy for medical purposes.
c. Women of Kol Tribe in Central India eat placenta to help their reproductive functions. They even believe that women unable to conceive can and dispel the influences that keep them from conceiving by eating placenta of fertile women.
d. Argentina’s Araucanian Native Americans dried and grounded the umbilical cord of the child and stored it. It was later used as medicine for the child whenever he or she was sick.