In the long history of beauty and cosmetic treatments, there have been many examples of products or methods that might have been deemed a little bit out of the ordinary.
Consider the famous examples of Cleopatra allegedly bathing in milk to rejuvenate her skin, or even the current face masks containing snail slime as a beneficial ingredient.
Today, another star product that's gaining acclaim for its beautifying and health-boosting properties is something you might not immediately think of – the placenta.
What is the placenta and where does it come from?
During pregnancy, the placenta develops as a temporary organ, attached to the lining of the female womb, linking mother with her developing child. It connects mother and child via the umbilical cord and one of its roles is to keep the blood supply of the parent and child separate.
It is present in all mammals and plays a crucial role during pregnancy.
Throughout pregnancy, the placenta acts as a vital passageway for nutrients and oxygen passing through the mother’s bloodstream into the baby, and it also helps the baby carry out crucial bodily functions, such as the disposal of waste materials produced by the child.
When the baby is born, the placenta follows out afterwards – for that reason, it’s also commonly known as the afterbirth. In most Western countries it is disposed of soon after the mother has delivered the baby, along with the umbilical cord. However, the usefulness of the placenta to human beings doesn’t just end with the delivery of the baby.
Some Asian and European cultures (such as the Chinese, Italians and Hungarians) have been consuming placenta, as a means to confer medicinal benefits, for hundreds of years.
Traditional uses and modern science
In China, the preparation and use of the human placenta as a herbal medicine, has long been observed. Many traditional Chinese medicines were created with the view that placentas were a powerful ingredient, conferring nutritional and restorative benefits for people who consumed them.
Steam boiled and roasted placenta hominis (human placenta) has also been used for hundreds of years in China, as a way to treat anaemia. This specific practice wasn’t just confined to China, as historical evidence shows the use of dried placenta as a treatment for anaemia in Europe during the 1700s.
Today, scientific studies have investigated the health benefits of consuming placenta. The results might give you some extra motivation to consider adding this into your own diet.
A study published in the International Journal of General Medicine found that in the case of two patients with anaemia, the ingestion of placenta and other traditional Chinese medicines had more effective results than conventional therapy.
In Western countries, medical uses of placentophagy – the practice of eating the placenta – include treatment for certain blood cancers and also other disorders, such as bone marrow failure and metabolic disorders.
What can it do for my body?
The reason why placentas are making such waves in the medical world is because of the multitude of health-boosting properties they are believed to confer.
Further studies into the subject have found placentas to contain a wide variety of peptides (building blocks to proteins), steroids, hormones and other nutrients including iron, vitamin B6 and even oxytocin, the hormone that plays a crucial role in pair bonding, usually stimulated by activities such as breastfeeding.
In addition to this, some studies have also found placental and umbilical cord blood to be full of regenerative stem cells; the precursor cells that can give rise to any cell of the body.
With such a wide variety of nutrients, it’s no wonder the health world is starting to catch onto the benefits of placenta.
Now you can easily find placenta – typically sourced from animals such as sheep – in capsule form.
As a rich source of lipids, proteins, vitamins, minerals and growth factors it can assist in cell regeneration. In fact, the cosmetic industry has started catching onto the advantages of placenta for promoting an even tone and greater elasticity of the skin.
Along with the physical benefits, placenta has also been associated with boosting vitality, energy and immunity, it has even been shown to help improve circulatory health and promote the body’s hormonal balance.
BioBalance New Zealand Sheep Placenta supports smooth, hydrated and youthful skin. Placenta is also considered a potent energy tonic able to support the body in times of stress. Buy it now from our secure online shop.
We’d Love Your Feedback
Have you heard of any other traditional uses for the placenta?
Have you tried a placenta supplement, and if so what benefits did you experience?