Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Traditional Chinese Method Vs. Raw Encapsulation

There are two methods of preparation for placenta encapsulation. My hope here is to give a brief description of both including my preference of when to use one over the other.

Raw placental encapsulation is less popular than the Traditional Chinese Method. In fact, I don't typically offer this method of preparation in my business, unless a client feels strongly about this method. There are several reasons why this method is favorable to some. People with a raw food approach like this method because it leaves out the steaming process and goes straight to the dehydration of the placenta. The belief behind this method of preparation is that by choosing not to steam it, essential nutrients are not damaged due to the steaming. The placenta is then not heated over 118 degrees F and the integrity of the nutrients is left intact.

This is not the method I prefer for several reasons. I believe the steaming process included as part of the encapsulation has specific benefits. Firstly, there is bacteria in the vaginal tract that the placenta will contact as it is birthed. Some women test positive for Group Beta Strep, a particular kind of bacteria that can cause illness to the mother or the baby. Also, there is an issue of some babies who pass meconium, the first stool, while still in the womb. When these issues are present, raw preparation should not be used. If the placenta is steamed, any bacteria present would be killed, and it is a safe method of preparation for any issues that may arise.

The Traditional Chinese method of preparation is based on thousands of years of ancient wisdom. The Chinese have very specific beliefs about warming and cooling methods of the body. Childbirth is a cooling or yin process for the body because once the baby leaves the womb, it leaves a lot of open space. Raw placenta is considered very cool and therefore, in the Chinese philosophy, not suitable for long term use postpartum. This is why the process of steaming and warming herbs are added to aid the the warming of the body with yang energy to bring the body back into balance.

I do not believe essential nutrients are lost during the steaming process. Raw foodists believe proteins are denatured when food is heated. I don't believe this is necessarily the same for the vitamins and hormones that are in the placenta. What I do know, however, is that when using the TCM method, the benefits women experience are no less than women who use the raw method. The TCM method yields many benefits and I do not believe the effectiveness is diminished in any way. I believe the steaming process is an important component to the preparation process.

While I don't favor the raw method, there is some benefit in immediately (within several hours to a day) consuming small pieces of raw placenta, either fresh or frozen. Tinctures are also beneficial and are made from raw placenta. Raw placenta can help in the immediate postpartum hours to revitalize and increase energy. It also helps decrease the chance of a postpartum hemorrhage. It is thought, however, not to be used in the long term, which is one of the reasons why encapsulation is so popular.

If you would like more information on this subject, here are two references I used and enjoyed:

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