Have you ever practiced placentophagy?
The term, used to describe the act of eating the placenta, is a common theme with mammals in the animal kingdom. After birth, the organ — which nourishes the fetus through the umbilical cord — is no longer needed and immediately consumed. For humans, it's generally thrown away.
"Mad Men" star January Jones, however, has opened eyes (and sickened a few stomachs) by pulling back the curtain on the small percentage of mothers who eat their placentas.
“Your placenta gets dehydrated and made into vitamins,” she tells People magazine. “It’s something I was very hesitant about, but we’re the only mammals who don’t ingest our own placentas.”
The 34-year-old, who gave birth to her first child last September, says the pills give her mood a boost. "It's not witch-crafty or anything, I suggest it to all moms!," she added.
While studies confirming the benefits of placentophagy for new mothers are thin, MSNBC quotes one doctor who says the anecdotal evidence is worth looking into. “Mothers who believe in this practice report benefits such as a decrease in postpartum depression symptoms, an increase in breast milk production, and an increase in energy," says pediatrician Dr. Melissa Arca.
Dig a bit deeper online and you'll even find placenta recipes that include cocktails, lasagna, spaghetti, stew and even pizza.
According to one mother on the site MomLogic, the experience of eating the organ was actually "surprisingly tasteful."
Ready to give this a shot?! Check out some more sample recipes here.
Also on MNN: What are the benefits of human placenta consumption?