Placenta Consumption: The Cultural Context Series 2

Let us take a look at the consumption of placenta in Africa and Europe. In the African cultures, “zan boku” means “the place where placenta is buried”, normally under the trees to symbolize ongoing life. This is obvious by the Ibo of Nigeria and Ghana where they treat the placenta as the dead twin of a child. The Kikuyu of Kenya bury and cover it with grains and grasses in the field, while other cultures bury it in the dirt floor of the family’s house. On the other hand, some African nations wrap the placenta in the blanket and bury it beneath a tree. As for Mali, the placenta is believed to affect the baby’s temperament or even make it ill. Therefore, the placenta is washed, dried before being placed in a basket to be buried by the father.

In Europe such as France, the placenta is commercially used as cosmetics. However, in 1994, Britain banned the collecting of placentas in the Government after they found out placentas were sold to be exported to France. They used it to make a protein, albumin, for burns and to make enzymes to treat rare genetic disorders. Hence, placenta consumption and rituals differ from one culture to another.

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Placenta Consumption: The Cultural Context Series 1

The consumption of placenta is not a new habit but has been practised for many centuries in various cultures. In China, Emperor Qin ShiHuang, the first emperor of a unified China, has proclaimed placenta as having health properties about 2,200 years ago. Even Empress Dowager CiXi was believed to consume placenta to keep herself young.

This is not surprising as placenta encapsulation is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine techniques, where the placenta is considered as a powerful and sacred health supplement full of “life force” to boost health.

The classical medical text from Ming Dynasty (1,368 – 1,644) described placenta as highly nutritional and if taken for a longer period, it can help achieve longevity. The consumption of placenta has become obvious as pills containing placenta powder are legally available in Chinese pharmacies. Even in maternity hospital in eastern Nanjing, it was reported that 10 percent of new parents consumed their own placenta after childbirth.

Apart from China, Vietnam also views placenta as a life-giving force of good health. Placenta is dried and made into unique formulation to increase a person’s energy and vitality. In fact, TCM practitioners believe placenta is a tonic to fortify the “qi” or life force and enrich the blood.

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Placenta Ingredients Series 2: Enhancing the Efficacy of Placenta Products.

We have highlighted three ingredients, such as fish liver oil, aloe vera and avocado oil previously. As mentioned before, there are many other ingredients used in the formulation of placenta products that help further boost the efficacy of the placenta product.
Let us take a look at the other ingredients here.

· Lycopene (Tomato Extract)
Lycopene can be found in tomato extract and is a strong antioxidant which is good for the heart, preventing heart-related diseases, improving its blood vessel and elasticity as well as enhancing the body’s defense mechanism by protecting enzymes, DNA and cells.

· Astaxanthin (Red Algae)
Dubbed as the King of Antioxidant, red algae is a carotenoid antioxidant that is so tiny that it is able to absorb into the tiny blood vessels, from the eyes to the brain. It acts as an anti-inflammatory, pain reliever and helps reduce fatigue.

· Silk Amino Acid
This extract is taken from the cocoon silk worm and is a strong property in stimulating new cell synthesis and making skin smoother, silkier and supple. It also helps reduce body heat and acts as a natural moisturizer.

· Grape Seed Oil
For many centuries, grapes are known for its medicinal and nutritional value. The grape seeds have high concentration of Vitamin E, flavonoids, linoleic acid, oligomeric and proanthocyanidin complexes which all help in strengthening the immune system as well as act as powerful antioxidant.

These are just some of the many ingredients used in the formulation of placenta products. With the combination of these ingredients, it helps maximise the full potential and benefits of the product.

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