What Is Placenta Encapsulation?

Placenta encapsulation is a growing trend in alternative health practices among postpartum women. If you are picturing a serrated knife and a bottle of A-1 Sauce, it might help to know that the ingestion of the placenta following birth is neither as primal nor as gross as it sounds.

In fact, it is about as big of a deal as taking vitamins.

If you are interested in why I decided to encapsulate my placenta in the first place, you can read all about it here. My experience with placenta encapsulation has been so positive that I find myself wanting to admit to doing something I once thought sounded pretty disgusting.

The entire process took place in my kitchen over the course of two mornings, and cost a grand total of $230. I asked my specialist (Jereka Hunt of Wombmart) for permission to take pictures and document the experience, and she was more than willing to let me do so.

The Process

Before everything, you must get your placenta home from the hospital and refrigerate it. My husband brought mine home the night I gave birth, double-bagged in those red biohazard bags, and then carried in a cooler. It stayed in the beer-fridge in our garage for only three days before it was made into pills, but I’ve read about women who freeze their placenta and wait to make the pills a full six weeks after giving birth.

Jereka, my specialist, arrived in my home with all the equipment she would need to cook, dehydrate, and turn my placenta into easy to swallow pills. I’d like to take a moment here to note that this woman was about as down-to-Earth as they come. Her appearance was as casual as her demeanor. She was very easy to talk to, and even admitted herself that there was a time she would have been turned off by the idea of consuming her placenta, but after reading about the benefits she finally tried it. She was so changed by the experience she decided to make a business of it. In short, the woman was cool. She mostly kept to herself while she worked, and she didn’t smell like patchouli.

MY kitchen, cleaned, prepped, and ready.

Also, I want to note that my specialist came with every piece of equipment she used, all the way down to the soap used to clean my sink and counters. All I did was stay out of the way.

First, she steamed the placenta with ginger, which is a warming herb. This is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that aids in returning the body to a warm flowing balance and can also include lemongrass and a spicy green pepper.

At this point, everyone wants to know what does it smell like?? To be completely honest, it doesn’t have a strong smell at all. If I thought about it, I might have told you it smelled like someone was cooking a roast in my kitchen, but without a lot of spices. There was just a very faint and pleasant smell like simmering meat. The smell didn’t linger when the cooking process was complete.

Placenta steaming on stovetop.

When the placenta was finished steaming and cooked through, she cut it up into small pieces and placed them in a dehydrator. The dehydrator sat on my kitchen counter and ran until one in the morning. During this time, there was no smell at all. In addition to dehydrating the placenta, this specialist dehydrates a small piece of the umbilical cord to be made into a memento. (I’m not actually sure what I will do with that. It is currently still sitting in its little bag in my junk drawer. Maybe I’ll hang it on my Christmas tree.)

Steamed placenta ready to be cut.
Cutting steamed placenta into small pieces for the dehydrator.
Umbilical cord memento on the dehydrator.

Once the dehydrator is running, Jereka cleaned everything up and packed up her stuff. Before leaving for the day, she prepared a small cup of warm broth, which is the ginger water the placenta was steamed with. It sat on my counter with a note that basically said it was up to me what I wanted to do with the broth, but that many women drink it and feel immediate and positive effects. I could drink the broth as is, add it to something else, simply take a few spoonfuls, or dump the entire thing down the sink.

I decided to drink it. I found it tasted like a very mild beef bone broth without any salt. It was warm and soothing and within an hour of drinking it, I had lost the urge to lay down and take a nap.

“Mother’s Broth” – weirdly calming, comforting, and energy-providing.

The next day, Jereka returned to finish the process. She worked so quickly, I almost forgot to take any pictures. Basically, she removed the dried placenta from the dehydrator and ground it up (in a Magic Bullet) into a fine powder.

She then put the powder into this handy little pill making contraption. She said that an average placenta makes about 100 pills. That week, one of her coworkers hit a new record and made 189 pills out of one placenta (lucky woman). Mine made 115 pills.

Dried, ground, placenta, put into vegetable glycerin capsules.

As an added (and free) benefit, my specialist also prepared a placenta tincture for me, which is made from 100 proof vodka and the powder from five pills. This tincture takes six weeks to come to full potency, and can be kept indefinitely if stored in a cool dry place. Once the pills run out, the tincture can be used for future hormone balance. Many women take a few drops one or two days each month to ease or eliminate symptoms of PMS. Other women use it to ease or eliminate side-effects of menopause.

Adding the powder of 5 pills into 100 proof vodka to create a tincture.

After just two mornings, I was left with a small jar of magic pills that are safely stored indefinitely in the refrigerator. I started by taking two pills, three times a day, for four days. Then I cut back to two pills twice a day for four days. I finished out the remainder of the pills taking two pills just one time a day. Again, see the link above to read about my very positive personal experience with this.

If you have personal experience with placenta encapsulation, I’d love to hear all about it. Feel free to post a comment below or ask any questions. I’m now open to sharing my story and my experience because I sincerely hope others can benefit from this in the way that I did.

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Placenta Encapsulation: How It Works

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