Placenta encapsulation and tinctures are a service that we offer at the Portland MamaBaby Center. Our resident midwife has processed hundreds of placentas and has special equipment in her home and works under sanitary conditions to prepare your placenta for capsules. As a former nurse, she understands infection control and works diligently to ensure that your placenta is treated properly and your pills are medicine.
However, if you’re the DIY type and you choose to make your own placenta capsules, then here is a recipe I have used and and I’ve even included a few tips, too:
- Make sure you have the appropriate tools necessary. You’ll need a clean and sanitized kitchen to work in, a clean and sanitized kitchen sink, knife, food dehydrator, and ideally you’ll use a brand new spice grinder, because you probably don’t want your placenta pills to taste like your morning coffee or vice-versa.
- Make sure you and/or your partner(s) has the stomach for it. The placenta is bloody and will take quite some time to rinse and slice properly. It is an organ. You can smell the iron from the blood as you process it. This may not be something you’re up for. Also, think ahead – when you are postpartum and sore and just want to be taken care of, do you want to be standing in your kitchen processing your placenta into pills? This may be one of those times where it’s better not to DIY. It takes some time to do it right and you should be resting in your bed snuggling with your baby, not up cooking your placenta.
- Make sure you and/or your housemates can handle the smell. I’ll be the first to tell you that the smell of a dehydrating placenta is… the smell of a drying organ being fanned through your house by the dehydrator. You may want to even place it outside on the terrace, if you have one. You will also probably want to have a dedicated dehydrator – I don’t think my husband wants to make dried pineapple on the same dehydrator I used to dry out my placenta… but that’s just us…
- Buy an encapsulator if possible, and a couple of hundred ’00′ capsules (buy extra, you’ll probably have to practice a bit)
- Decide on the raw method or the traditional chinese method. The raw method is pretty straight forward, you don’t add any herbs or do anything special to the placenta – you clean it thoroughly, slice it, dehydrate it, pulverize it, and encapsulate it. The Traditional Chinese Method is the recipe I’ll share below. You’ll also need to buy a steamer for this recipe.
- a whole, fresh, placenta
- 2 cups of fresh water (1 liter)
- 2 fresh ginger slices
- 1/2 a lemon
- 1 pinch of hot pepper
- To cook the placenta, wash the excess blood off and wrap the bloody side (maternal side) back inside the membranes. This rinsing process could and should take some time. Take care to do a good job.
- Place a steamer over water. Combine ginger, lemon, and hot pepper and add the placenta. Steam for 15 minutes over low heat. Turn placenta and steam 15 minutes more until no juice comes out when pricked with a fork. Expect the organ to shrink significantly as it is steamed.
- After steaming and cooling, slice the placenta into very thin strips using a very sharp knife. Thin strips are key for dehydrating your placenta! It should not take days and days.
- Place strips on the trays of the food dehydrator and allow it to dry completely until powdery and brittle. Some people will tell you that you can dehydrate your placenta in your oven on a cookie sheet on the lowest setting of your oven. That’s not how we do it, and it’s not how I think it should be done. We never do our placentas that way and we don’t recommend that you do either.
- Grind the strips into a very fine powder using a spice/coffee grinder and put into capsules. Do not use a mortar and pestle (in my opinion) because it will not crush up the pieces finely enough. Take 2 pills twice a day for the first week and then as needed. They should be stored in your freezer in an airtight container. You can also use the powder that you yield to make a few other DIY placenta remedies.
If you’d like to skip all this and just have your placenta pills delivered to you with some postpartum support, just contact us! We’re more than happy to pick up your placenta from you or your doula at the hospital or birthing center or at your home and return it to you within just a few days as a pretty jarful of pills.
Placenta encapsulation is one of those things that we genuinely believe in, support, and recommend to our clients, friends, family, and generally everyone we know. If this is the first you’re hearing about it, do a little research for yourself and see what all the placenta eating hubbub is about.
Thank you to Cornelia Enning for the recipe – if you are interested in placenta medicine, you should buy her book called Placenta: Gift of Life The Role of the Placenta in Different Cultures and how to Prepare and Use it as Medicine.