How to Cook Placenta Recipes

Placenta Recipes

The Human Placenta After Birth
Photo © AzmanL/Getty Images

Eating the placenta is known as placentophagy. It is practiced by most mammals in the animal world, including many primates. This excludes the majority of humans.

However, there are some that proport that eating the human placenta can help with ailments from postpartum depression to postpartum hemorrhage. There are some midwives and doctors who use the placenta medicinally in the early stages of postpartum because it is high in progesterone and has small amount of oxytocin.

This supposedly helps stem bleeding after birth and causes the uterus to clean itself out. Some forms of Chinese medicines also contain parts of human placenta. Some also believe that using the placenta in any form after birth can help alleviate pain.

While eating one's own placenta doesn't really pose any known serious health risks, with the exception of spoilage, eating someone else's placenta can be a hazard to your health. In today's world of illness transmitted by blood like Hepatitis, HIV and AIDS to name a few, you must know that these are potentially carried through the placenta as it is full of blood. There is also concern about the fact that the placenta can potentially trap and filter harmful elements away from the baby in pregnancy, and potentially expose those who eat the placenta to large concentrations of harmful substances that had been filtered in pregnancy.

How to Cook Placenta

There are many ways to cook the placenta.

How people choose to eat it varies greatly. Some choose to use dishes that would normally contain beef or liver, using the placenta to replace the meat. This might include a stew, a lasagna or even patties.

These types of recipes assumed you will prepare the placenta as the meat. This may mean you will ground or tenderize the placenta.

Some choose to cube it. However you cook it, be sure to remove the membranes and umbilical cord first. Some recommend that you do not use the fetal side of the placenta.

The only people that I know personally who have eaten their placentas have chosen to dehydrate the placenta. This leaves it in a beef jerky like format. It can then be eaten in this form or ground up using a mortar and pestle to either sprinkle it over other foods or place in capsules to take, this is known as placental encapsulation. Everyone I know who has done this, and we're only talking a handful of people out of the thousands of women I've helped, have done so because they believe in the health benefits of eating the placenta.

Placental Encapsulation

More commonly these days is this type of placental preparation. This can be done by the mother or family, but more often, there are people who are using services of a placental encapsulator. The mothers, both in surveys and in online forums, suggest that their reasons are to prevent postpartum depression and get other benefits from the placenta.

The research on this is very thin, but more is currently being done.

Some of the questions include: Do the properties of the placenta actually provide any benefit to a postpartum woman? Would the hormones in the placenta thought to cause benefit actually survive the process of encapsulation? What benefits would someone get from consuming a placenta? Is it dose dependent? Are there risks to consuming the placenta?

One thing that should also be discussed is the training and process of encapsulation. There are multiple training programs available on how to encapsulate a placenta, but since this is not a regulated industry, you are taking risks of contamination, including the potential contamination of others' placentas in your capsules when you use a service.

This is why some families chose to do this themselves. While the risks of consuming your own placenta are theoretical, consuming the biomaterial from another person, with whom you are not familiar with their medical record, is much more risky.

Other Things to Do With a Placenta

Some families choose to commemorate the birth and celebration of the placenta by burying it under a tree or with art projects like a placenta print. One scientist mom I know of actually kept her placenta in a jar of formaldehyde! So, even if you do not choose to eat or consume your placenta, there are many ways to celebrate the tree of life, as it's often called. This also includes sending it away with the medical waste, if that's your choice.


Coyle CW, Hulse KE, Wisner KL, Driscoll KE, Clark CT. Placentophagy: therapeutic miracle or myth? Arch Womens Ment Health. 2015 Oct;18(5):673-80. doi: 10.1007/s00737-015-0538-8. Epub 2015 Jun 4.

Selander J, Cantor A, Young SM, Benyshek DC. Human maternal placentophagy: a survey of self-reported motivations and experiences associated with placenta consumption. Ecol Food Nutr. 2013;52(2):93-115. doi: 10.1080/03670244.2012.719356.

Schwartz S. Maternal placentophagy as an alternative medicinal practice in the postpartum period. Midwifery Today Int Midwife. 2014 Summer;(110):28-9.

Young SM, Benyshek DC. In search of human placentophagy: a cross-cultural survey of human placenta consumption, disposal practices, and cultural beliefs. Ecol Food Nutr. 2010 Nov-Dec;49(6):467-84. doi: 10.1080/03670244.2010.524106.

Young SM, Benyshek DC, Lienard P. The conspicuous absence of placenta consumption in human postpartum females: the fire hypothesis. Ecol Food Nutr. 2012;51(3):198-217. doi: 10.1080/03670244.2012.661349.

Young SM, Gryder LK, Zava D, Kimball DW, Benyshek DC. Presence and concentration of 17 hormones in human placenta processed for encapsulation and consumption. Placenta. 2016 Jul;43:86-9. doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2016.05.005. Epub 2016 May 10.

Continue Reading