Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255. This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
If you’re curious about encapsulated placenta, you’re not the only one: the practice has been gaining traction steadily in the western hemisphere, and the many testimonies in favor from mothers who have tried it are probably helping fuel the trend. And that’s why we are here: we will cover the reported benefits of this practice, a few useful pointers, and some of the best dehydrators out there so that your placenta encapsulation is a resounding success. Let’s get to it!
What Exactly Is Placenta?
Answer: an organ. It is, in fact, the only organ a human body creates and discards later (a feat which is, of course, exclusive to women’s bodies). It develops within your uterus at the onset of pregnancy, and it is responsible for providing your baby with nourishment and oxygen. As well as removing any waste generated by your little one. It is also a shield: it keeps your blood separate from your child, and acts as a barrier against any potential toxins or infections.
Additionally, the placenta is in charge of producing certain hormones that are important during pregnancy, such as estrogen, lactogen and progesterone. And when it’s almost time to give birth, this trusty organ delivers antibodies to your baby, as protection for the outside world.
Placentophagy (that is, the practice of ingesting one’s own placenta) is not completely unheard of, especially not in the animal kingdom: this behavior has been observed in species ranging from rats to primates, with two notable exceptions being camels and humans. It is believed that our species drifted away from the practice due to evolution, although it made a comeback as a remedy among certain cultures. Chinese traditional medicine, for example, relies on dehydrated human placenta to treat ailments related with impotency, infertility, insufficient lactation and more. The US specifically saw an increase in this trend starting in the 1970s, and it is becoming more and more common nowadays.
Does It Actually Work?
Depends on who you ask. Many women who have opted for this sort of treatment have reported positive experiences, with some of the benefits commonly mentioned being:
- More energy.
- Better, more stable mood; little to no postpartum depression.
- A boost in milk production.
- Less pain.
Most experts consider this evidence purely anecdotal, i.e., unsupported by scientific or statistical analysis; and much of the research done about this practice has been based on surveys or specialized literature. One example is this study from 2018, in which, among other things, it was found that the hormones present in the placenta that could potentially benefit mood, are degraded by steaming and dehydration and are also not properly absorbed when ingested orally; this could affect their effectiveness. Lactogen, on the other hand, which is responsible for boosting lactation, was found in higher concentrations, enough to potentially derive an actual effect if taken orally. Still, according to the researchers, the volume of testimonies related to a change in mood is such that, even if it were attributed to a placebo effect, it might make placenta ingestion a worthwhile practice with not very high risk.
What You Need To Find Out First
Certain hospitals will refuse, as a matter of policy, to surrender your placenta after birth; some times they might be precluded from doing so by state law. Therefore, you might want to check where your hospital of choice stands, well in advance of actually requiring its services. Furthermore, one should always be aware of the risks: after all, the placenta acts as a filter during pregnancy, and it is possible for it to contain toxic substances. Here are some of the factors that could make placenta infection more unsafe:
- Viral or bacterial infection in the mother, the newborn or both.
- Use of anesthetics, as the placenta may have absorbed certain agents.
- Smoking during pregnancy: this practice can increase cadmium concentration in the tissue.
- Mastitis or blocked ducts; this is due to the potential boost on lactation.
On How It’s Done
The technique varies somewhat between one source and another, as there is no established authority on the subject. This is a general outline of how most people go about it:
- The procedure should be tackled quickly, the sooner the better. If you absolutely have to wait, freeze the placenta until it is time.
- Wash your hands before beginning, with antibacterial dish soap, like this one from Palmolive. It is also a good idea to wear gloves, like these, which you can also use for regular household cleaning.
- Make sure to disinfect your work area before and after (wipes are a good tool for this), and keep paper towels handy for when you need to dry anything out.
- Rinse thoroughly, remove umbilical cord and sac, then steam the placenta.
- When steaming is done, cut the placenta into thin strips, which will then go into the dehydrator. A common choice for temperature is 118°F, although some have gotten good results going as high as 135. Expect to wait at least 6 hours, perhaps as long as 12.
- When every piece snaps when bent, it’s ready to be pulverized, which can be done in the blender; then all is left is to encapsulate. A capsule machine, like this one, can greatly simplify this step, with vegetarian capsules in size 00 being a popular choice.
The Best Picks For The Dehydrating Step
Two things are important: that it be affordable, and that temperature can be adjusted to the value we need. With that in mind, here are some great prospects to take home:
While you do have to occasionally check your progress, the included timer function might provide additional peace of mind in that you don’t have to stay near it so constantly as with other options in the market; the unit will shut off on its own when the time runs out. Operation is through the digital LED display, which enables adjustment of temperature and drying time. Your temperature range is 95 to 158°F, which adequately covers the level required for placenta dehydration.
Unit comes with 6 trays, and it is unique in that you cannot purchase additional trays to expand capacity; rather, you only get to adjust the height of the existing ones, which is intended to allow you to dehydrate slightly bulkier stuff. The trays are transparent, which facilitates checking status. Also included: fine mesh sheet and solid sheet for drying fruit rolls and herbs.
- Easy to check progress.
- User friendly.
- Capacity can be expanded only slightly.
Its price tag is not overwhelming, and it still delivers quite a bit: temperature can be adjusted between 95 and 160°F, and its capacity can be expanded from 5 to a total of 12 trays (sold separately), should you ever need the space. The fan at the top pushes heated air down through the chamber, then horizontally across every tray, which eliminates the need to swap trays for thorough drying. Almost every part of it is dishwasher safe, the powerhead being the sole exception.
It’s not wanting in terms of accessories, either: jerky spices, jerky gun, fruit roll sheets and recipe book are included, which means you don’t have to stop using this little guy after your placenta goes through it.
- Fan at the top preserves it from any drippings.
- More than enough added value to justify further use.
- Can be put through the dishwasher.
- No timer function.
The front panel is where you interact with the unit, housing the buttons you need to adjust temperature and time. And the display that provides you with all pertinent information. This one goes a little wider than most other similar appliances with its temperature range: 90-165°F. Timer can run for up to 48 hours.
6 trays are included with this unit, and you can purchase more to expand your available capacity to a total of 12. You won’t have to swap any trays around, as this one is designed to provide steady air flow.
In order to provide you with the means to dry more varied stuff, the package comes with 2 fine mesh sheets and 2 fruit roll sheets. Additional sheets, as well as jerky gun and seasoning, can be purchased separately. Trays and cover are dishwasher safe.
- Decent starting capacity.
- Variety of accessories available separately.
- Loud when working.
There are no actual buttons on this one, as the panel is controlled by touch. The digital screen displays time left and current temperature level. With the unit allowing you a minimum of 95°F and a maximum of 165. Timer can go for as little as 30 minutes or keep track of as many as 48 hours. 5 trays are included, and they are the only part of the appliance that can go into the dishwasher.
There are a couple of perks worth mentioning: the first is, temperature can be adjusted by one-degree increments, which allows you to set it exactly where you want it; the second is its memory. The unit will always remember your last settings for time and temperature, as long as it stays plugged in.
Included: recipe book, mesh screen and fruit roll sheet.
- Temperature can be set by one-degree.
- Able to remember last settings used.
- Parts are not dishwasher safe.
At The Top: Nesco FD-61WHC Snackmaster Encore
It’s true that you do have to keep an eye on it since it does not have any way to automatically to shut itself down but, in truth, you might have to observe closely even if you have a timer option since your placenta will take a varying amount of time to reach the desired point. Beyond this, it’s a pretty solid option: its already decent capacity can be doubled, nearly all of its parts are dishwasher safe, and for a fairly reasonable asking price you get a good bulk of accessories that should prove useful should you fancy more forays into dehydrating in the future. This trusty appliance is not likely to let you down! Now, you’re ready to tackle this important process. May you and your little one stay happy and healthy!