For thousands of years, Traditional Chinese Medicine has recognized the placenta as powerful medicine used to increase scanty lactation and tonify Qi, life energy, after the birth. Today, many women look to placenta encapsulation as a natural way to even their hormones after birth and avoid postpartum depression. We use traditional methods to gently steam, dehydrate, powder and encapsulate the placenta. We usually use several different herbs during the steaming process to enhance the warming and healing properties of the placenta. We will ask you a few simple questions about your birth and adjust the herbs accordingly.
Each placenta is different in size and substance so the amount of capsules it makes can vary from 90 to 140. The standard dosage is up to 2 capsules, 3 times a day for the first 2 weeks. After 2 weeks you can start to decrease the dosage down to 1 or 2 pills a day as needed. By ingesting your placenta in pill form you can reap the benefits of your placenta medicine without the aversion that some people feel about cooking and eating it after the birth. Additionally, you get a longer, sustained application over the first month postpartum than if it was ingested immediately after the birth. Some people even save some of their remaining placenta capsules and freeze them for later, knowing they can be useful during other physically/hormonally stressful times.
This form of placenta medicine is not as well known as the dried, encapsulated placenta. However, it is so easy to do and has so many potential benefits, that I always include it in my placenta preparation. I select a portion of the raw placenta, before I prepare the rest of it for encapsulation, and tincture it in alcohol. After steeping for a while, the placenta solids can be strained off to create a long lasting, pure placenta "mother" tincture which can have a multiplicity of uses.
This basic tincture can be used directly by the mother during times of transition, illness or stress after she has used all of her placenta capsules. From PMS, depression, or menopause, many women swear by it. The tincture can also be diluted in a bit of water and given to the child when he or she is getting sick or in a time of transition. We don't know why it works but it seems to bring the child back to a state of physical and emotional balance. What a wonderful gift to be able to give to your child that can last their whole life!
Honoring the Placenta through Art:
Placenta Prints and Cord Keepsakes
In addition to the medicinal uses, another way that we can bring back the tradition of honor and gratitude toward birth and the role of the placenta is to make artistically beautiful prints with it. I make your prints before I wash and prepare the placenta. They are printed with the natural placenta blood on acid-free artists paper. Some families frame them and display their prints as art or others choose to save them as personal keepsakes.
The prints are unique imprints that display the size, shape and general appearance of the placenta and also remind us why the placenta is often referred to as "The Tree of Life."
The standard placenta services package includes about half a dozen 14x17 sized prints of both the baby's and the mother's side of the placenta. For an additional fee, we can also make larger double placenta prints.