This post is in response to an article written by Nancy Redd for New York Times, whom claims a negative experience from her placenta pills. While I don't doubt she must have had some kind of experience, the obvious bias in her article saddens me. If her point were to simply share with other women her experience and offer advice of safe ways to obtain or take placenta pills, then her article wouldn't have been filled with such sensationalist remarks. Perhaps by being the one and only person who comes out to claim they regret eating their placenta, it will gain that person recognition, maybe furthering their career or selling more of their books? I would hope her attempts to deprive women of the benefits of placenta encapsulation as experienced by every other woman except for her, wouldn't just be an attempt at increasing her own fame.
There are several things from her article that I'd like to point out, the first being that she was a skeptic before she had her placenta encapsulated. Therefore, this makes the placenta pills an easy scapegoat for any negative occurrences, whether or not it actually resulted from the pills because she's biased. If you don't feel completely comfortable taking your encapsulated placenta, my advice is don't. No one is twisting your arm.
In Redd's article, she mentions "mysterious herbs" put into her pills. This is a problem. The placenta encapsulation should ideally take place in your home so you can watch the process and see exactly what goes into the pills. Wouldn't anyone with common sense ask what the herbs actually were and not just settle for the answer "mysterious?" If you're looking to hire having your placenta done, be sure the specialist is willing to come to your home, if not find someone else. The only two herbs used in the processing of the placenta are ginger and myrrh, and they do not go into the pills nor do they touch the placenta. However, if some of the herbs did make it into Redd's placenta pills, perhaps she was having a reaction to the herbs, an allergy maybe?
It is important for all women to be aware that there is nothing in the placenta that can hurt you. It is essentially a big piece of meat and most women willingly eat the meat of other species on a daily basis. The placenta has nutrients such as iron and vitamins, particularly the B's. It also contains hormones, which is why the capsules are believed to work so well because they are replacing hormones lost during birth. This drop in hormones is what has been shown to cause the baby blues. There's nothing else mysterious or harmful in your placenta. It can however pick up bacteria on the way out of the birth canal, which is why I use the TCM of encapsulating as opposed to the raw. The TCM method steams the placenta, therefore killing any potential bacteria (and if you think there's not bacteria in the meat you eat, guess again).
Another issue with Redd's article is that she claims all the evidence is anecdotal, likening it in the same category as alien sightings. Redd is incorrect, in that while we do have tremendously overwhelming anecdotal evidence, we also have scientific studies. Could we use more? Of course! But there are some studies, and most of us in the category of person who would consider taking her encapsulated placenta understand that many times nature has it right and science just needs to catch up. Saying we have no shred of evidence is a falsehood. Personally, if I had heard the stories of thousands of women who sang the praises of their placenta pills in lack of some scientific evidence, I would still feel comfortable taking the pills. If there's a chance I could have the same results, I would want them too. And if the worse case scenario happened and I didn't like how I felt, I could simply stop taking them! Which is just what Redd did... no lasting long term damage done. But again, if you don't feel comfortable, don't have it done!
Lastly, Redd sums up her article by likening the placenta to the appendix, which isn't fair. The placenta isn't diseased as an appendix would be if it needed to be removed. Nor is the appendix unnecessary or any other organs for that matter including the placenta. Yes, the placenta is designed to come out, but does that deem it unnecessary? Should we continue to throw it out as medical waste? We've just recently discovered stem cells in the placenta and are actually capable of taking them out (see my other article: http://phoenixplacentaencapsulation.blogspot.com/2012/09/harvesting-placental-stem-cells.html ) If every other mammal (except the camel) on this entire planet consumes the placenta after giving birth, could it simply be our cultural bias and predetermined notions, as maybe is the case with Redd, that doesn't allow us to be open to receiving the benefits nature has to offer? It's up to you to decide.
You can read the full article to which I am referring here.