Eating the placenta is known as placentophagy. It is practiced by most mammals in the animal world, including many primates. This excludes the majority of humans.
However, there are some that proport that eating the human placenta can help with ailments from postpartum depression to postpartum hemorrhage. There are some midwives and doctors who use the placenta medicinally in the early stages of postpartum because it is high in progesterone and has small amount of oxytocin. This supposedly helps stem bleeding after birth and causes the uterus to clean itself out. Some forms of Chinese medicines also contain parts of human placenta.
While eating one's own placenta doesn't really pose any serious health risks, with the exception of spoilage, eating someone else's placenta can be a hazard to your health. In today's world of illness transmitted by blood like Hepatitis, HIV and AIDS to name a few, you must know that these are potentially carried through the placenta as it is full of blood.
How to Cook Placenta
There are many ways to cook the placenta. How people choose to eat it varies greatly. Some choose to use dishes that would normally contain beef or liver, using the placenta to replace the meat. This might include a stew, a lasagna or even patties.
These types of recipes assumed you will prepare the placenta as the meat. This may mean you will ground or tenderize the placenta. Some choose to cube it. However you cook it, be sure to remove the membranes and umbilical cord first. Some recommend that you do not use the fetal side of the placenta.
- Various Recipes, including Lasagna and Spaghetti
- Recipes and info on dehydrating your placenta
- To eat or not to eat?
Everyone I know who has done this, and we're only talking a handful of people out of the thousands of women I've helped, have done so because they believe in the health benefits of eating the placenta.
Some families choose to commemorate the birth and celebration of the placenta by burying it under a tree or with art projects like a placenta print. One scientist mom I know of actually kept her placenta in a jar of formaldehyde!