The West didn’t pay much attention to placentas as much as the Asians. However, the commercial use of “placenta extract” found in some cosmetics, such as facial cream, is sold in France. In 1994, Britain banned the practice of collecting placentas in hospitals from unsuspecting mothers, after it was learned that 360 tons of it were annually being bought and shipped by French pharmaceutical firms. They used it to make a protein, albumin, for burns and to make enzymes to treat rare genetic disorders.

Whether this should be a legal thing — or, more specifically, whether specialists should be allowed to prepare placenta-based foods for others, for a fee, it has become a debate subject in the United Kingdom. In Swindon, England, a lady was with a notice that her business preparing capsules of dried placenta for newly delivered mothers posed “serious risk to human health.”

She challenged the notice in court, and won the right to continue business while local health officials prepare a formal inspection. The case comes months after the European Food Safety Authority ruled placenta-based products a “novel food,” meaning that vendors have to produce extensive and expensive documentation to sell them legally in the European Union.

Countries can individually exempt foods from the ruling. Placenta advocates have asked Britain to do this. So for food safety agencies in Europe. Europe’s novel food ruling was originally intended to control the sale of genetically modified foods in the continent.

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The American continent see a big responsibility in placenta for some of its communities. In the North America, it is customary that the Navajo Indians bury a child’s placenta within the sacred four corners of the tribe’s reservation as a binder to ancestral land and people. Apart from it, they will also bury objects together with it to signify the profession they hope the child will pursue.

The Hopi tradition in North America holds that a baby’s true parents were the earth (as mother) and the corn plant (as father) with their human parents acting as surrogates
who help to usher in the new life.

The Hawaiians treat placenta with care. Normally, it is washed after brought home, and then buried with the tree planted on it following a religious ritual. It is believed this will help bind the child to the homeland. They called the placenta of new born child “iewe” and it is considered sacred. Hence, it must be handled in a sacred manner to ensure the child is fit and healthy.

In the South America region, placenta is burnt after birth to neutralise the environment. It is usually planted in the ground to protect it from evil spirits. For the indigenous Bolivian Aymara and Quecha community, they believe the placenta has its own spirit. Therefore, the father of the child will wash and bury the placenta in a secret and shady place. The ritual must be performed according to the tradition in the proper manner. Otherwise, they believe that the mother or baby may fall very ill and may even die.

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Africa is a continent steeped in tradition. It has a population of over 3,000 tribes, all of which are varied in terms of culture and language. Although times have changed, the tribal influences and beliefs still play a dominant part in this continent.

For the Ibo of Nigeria and Ghana, they treat placenta as the dead twin of the live child and give it full burial rites. In many African cultures, “zan boku” means “the place where the placenta is buried” and usually, they bury the placenta under a tree.

The Kikuyu of Kenya places the placenta in a field which is not uncultivated and then, cover it with grains and grasses. But for some other cultures, the tribes bury it in the dirt floor of the family’s house.

Each tribe has its own way to treat placenta. Some swaddle the placenta in blankets and bury it beneath a tree as a tree is believed to symbolise ongoing life.

In Mali, it is thought that the placenta can affect the baby’s mood or even make the baby ill. The placenta is washed, dried, placed in a basket and buried by the father.

Whatever it is, Africa has so many tribes and it is not surprising, placenta is revered and treated as an important part of their culture.

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Last week, we talk about the overall placenta in Asia. Today, we shall zoom into one of the oldest known civilisations in the world, the Hmong people. Currently, the Hmong people mostly live in Northern Thailand, Southern China, Northern Lao, North West Vietnam and Myanmar.

In this traditional tribe, the placenta holds a very important position until it needs to be buried inside the family home where the birth of a child takes place.

The Hmong people believes that the placenta connects the living world and the spirit world. This means there is a sense of deep belonging and connection of one’s placenta all through the life and therefore, it should not be ignored and disposed. The word used by the Hmong people for placenta actually means ‘jacket’ and they believe that the soul of a person actually goes back to the place where his or her placenta was buried in order to collect its ‘placenta jacket’.

By successfully doing so, only then will the soul move on to the spirit world where it can meet its ancestors. In other words, collect the jacket and travel in the spirit world so that the soul will be reincarnated and sent back to the world as a new baby.

However, if the soul and jacket are not reunited, the soul will remain in a state of unease and wander for eternity. It is full of misery, alone and naked as it could not collect its placenta jacket. The males will be buried right below the main post of the house to connote them as the main strength of the family, and serve as the performer of rituals and spiritual carrier of the household. On the other hand, the female placenta is buried under the bed of their parents.

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Ancient civilisations in the region of Asia treated placenta differently according to their own culture. For China and Vietnam, placenta is seen as a life-giving force. That is why the people there took placenta and dried them and even formulated their own placenta recipes to boost their energy and vitality.

In Indonesia, placenta is viewed as the baby’s twin or elder sibling or the baby’s guardian throughout their life. To ensure their children were healthy, the fathers wrapped, and buried the placenta on the day of the birth. For the Filipino mothers, they buried the placenta with books, so their children became smart. In Korea, the placenta was burned and the ashes kept. During illness, the ashen powder is given in a liquid to help heal the child.

The Hmong culture treated placenta as “jacket’ as it is defined that way. Placenta is considered an infant’s first and finest clothing. They buried the placenta outside as they believe that after death, the soul will go back to the buried placenta and await rebirth.

In Cambodia, the placenta is attentively wrapped in a banana tree leaf and placed beside the newborn baby for three days and then buried. The Thais, on the other hand, buried the placenta under a tree that fitted well to the symbol of the Asian year and month of the child’s birth.

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China has a rich history of over 2,000 years association with placenta. A

classic medical text from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) said placenta – which lines the uterus and is key to the survival of the foetus – was “heavily nutritious” and “if taken for the longer term basis, longevity will be achieved”

Human placenta has also been an ingredient in some traditional Chinese medicines,[10] including using dried human placenta, known as “Ziheche” (simplified Chinese: 紫河车; traditional Chinese: 紫河車; pinyin: Zǐhéchē), to treat wasting diseases, infertility, impotence and other conditions.

Hence, placentophagy – the practice of eating one’s placenta after birth – is relatively common in China, where it is thought to have anti-ageing properties and other health benefits.

Qin Shihuang, the first emperor of a unified China, is said to have designated placenta as having health properties some 2,200 years ago, and during China’s last dynasty, Express Dowager was said to have eaten it to stay young.

Traditional Chinese medicine experts believe that placenta eating is the finest means of celebrating birth and contains all of the nutrients required to keep postnatal depression at bay, including replenishing insufficient milk and lactation.

In short, the Chinese believe the health benefits of placenta are quick recovery after childbirth, postpartum depression, insufficient lactation, achieving longevity and eliminating excessive fatigue and infertility.

In our next posting, we will explore ancient practices and beliefs of placenta by other countries in Asia.

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The including Malaysia and Indonesia has always been a region that has high regards to placenta. Placenta is considered as pure symbol of spirit, life and individuality.

The Indonesians believe placenta is the elder sibling or the twin of a newborn baby. For them, the placenta is there to serve as the baby’s guardian all through the baby’s life. Hence, according to the traditional beliefs of the Malay Indonesians, placentas need to be buried and not disposed other ways. As a matter of fact, prayers and rituals may even be conducted when burying the placenta. Before this, the placenta needs to be placed in a clean bowl and properly washed. If not, the baby will fall ill.

In Malaysia, the mother, baby and placenta have a special place in the Malay culture. The placenta must be handled with proper care and needs to be buried with the umbilical cord together at the doorway of the child’s house. Prior to this, both the placenta and the umbilical cord will be cleansed thoroughly and then placed in the clothe with several spices, salt, tamarind, onions and even needles, books and pencils! This is done to ensure the child will grow up to be a hardworking and smart person.

The burial must be conducted before or after the 12 noon mark. If these items are buried at 12 noon sharp, tradition holds that the new born baby will grow up to be very stubborn. On the other hand, the placenta must not be buried too deep as burying it deep within the ground will delay the child’s speech learning.

In our next posting, we will share the ancient culture of China regarding the treatment of placenta.

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Many people tend to think eat less fatty foods and have a healthy habit like exercising is good enough to stay healthy. But the truth is you need more than that – a balanced diet.

A balanced diet focuses on providing all the key nutrients your body needs such as macronutrients like protein, carbohydrates and fat along with micronutrients like vitamins and minerals. Each nutrient has a different role in maintaining the various body functions.

Top up your day with placenta is one of the good ways to complement a balanced diet. Placenta is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, iron and protein which is vital for maintaining good health and beauty. It has the wholesome goodness of vital stem cells which is good for the protection and recovery of cardiovascular health.

Other nutritional properties include nucleic acids, amino acids, mucopolysaccharides and multivitamins like Vitamin A, B, E and K. Each vitamin has its own key functions. For instance, Vitamin A is fat-soluble property and good for vision, skin and bone. Vitamin B helps ease stress and memory. Vitamin E is strong in antioxidant which helps remove free radicals while Vitamin K reduces blood clotting and prevents osteoporosis. In short, placenta with its rich nutrients is perfect as a health supplement for a balanced diet.

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Have you ever find yourself hard to sleep at night? If you have such problems like frequent wake-ups during night, waking up too early in the morning, daytime sleepiness, difficulty to stay focus, anxiety disorder, mood disorder breathing related sleep disorder and restless legs syndrome, you may have insomnia.

Insomnia may be a symptom of another disease as well. A lot of insomnia comes from hormonal imbalance, anxiety, stress and more. So does consuming placenta help provide the remedy to insomnia? Well, it depends on your body condition. Placenta provides a powerful antioxidant, and hence, increasing the level of serotonin in your body, and thereby increasing positive moods. This means it helps reduce stress and anxiety. At the same time, it improves hormonal imbalance, and therefore, enabling your body to rest well, and keep your stamina, energy level and vitality in good stead. In short, placenta does help enhance better quality sleep in you and in return, keep you in good health.

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There are lots of ways to feel fresh and bring out the vigour in us. Some people may smoke, some drink coffee or drinks that contain caffeine, and some go for isotonic or energy drinks.

Do they help? Yes but you may face unwanted health risks and even addictions. But with placenta products, you have the much needed benefits to boost your energy without being addicted about it. Placenta helps replenish vitamins and minerals especially Vitamin B complex which helps to boost up body metabolism to produce energy.

It also improves blood circulation and oxygen supply and this helps to keep our mind clear and alert throughout the day. This is important especially when we need enough energy and focus for work during the day.

Placenta contains biological elements (vitamins, minerals and hormones) that are unique to your body. A natural adrenal enhancer, placenta replenishes your energy, as well as your emotional and physical reserves.

​All in all, placenta which is rich in nutrients and minerals boosts energy and doesn’t make one become an addict like some energy-boosting products.

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