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After birth uses of the after-birth

Let’s dig a little into this placenta face cream business. It was the newest sensation many years ago, when Tyra Banks called out Eva Longoria for using some version of it to keep her skin fresh. It was her “anti-aging secret” (I’m using quotes here because there is no such product that literally stops you from aging, although Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins tells of a couple who prolonged their lives thousands of years – not with placenta, and of course that is FICTION!).

The placenta is also called the after-birth. It is an organ formed specific for pregnancy and is essential for normal fetal growth and development. It is the interface between the mother and the baby – it is a barrier and transporter, an eliminator of waste, processor of healthy nutrients, and stabilizer for the growing baby.

So, using my medical library sources, I tried to find legitimate research showing the placenta could have another function – a face cream. I couldn’t come up with anything. I’ll need to scour the internet and more dermatology books to give you the answer. In fact, the only article I found was this one:  “Placenta Rituals and Folklore from Around the World”

These are my highlights:

  • Cambodia: The placenta is called “the globe of the origin of the soul”. It is buried to protect the baby.  The burial site is protected by spiky plants, and if it is disturbed – by a dog, to share the example that was used in the article – the mother is at risk for mental health issues.
  • Turkey: the placenta is thought to be the friend or comrade to the baby. It is also buried. The umbilical cord is a different story (I love the way this is written):  “if the parents want their child to be well educated, they may throw the cord over a school yard wall. ” I only hope the parents avoid doing that during recess.
  • An Egyptian pharaoh was preceded in procession by his actual placenta, fixed to the end of the pole. The placenta was believed to be a source of power and magic.

So those are the placental lessons for the day. I’m in the middle of investigation in this facial placenta business so my “back from Hawaii, here’s what I brought you” presents aren’t a total bust.

Article: Buckley, Sarah J. “Placenta Rituals and Folklore from Around the World.” Mothering August 2005.  


Jul 15, 2012

Original post published: 

* Content reviewed annually for accuracy 

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