Mammals do it, Tom Cruise says he is going to do it …

Do what? Eat a placenta, that is … why do I find the idea of recycling nutritious placenta parts so repugnant???

Maybe, it’s because it’s something that nature designed to be expelled (not unlike being exceted) out of the female body, so it would be unnatural to ingest it?  If mammals eat it, should we? Well, scavengers and pigs eat anything, but we don’t do we?

Still on medical and healing grounds, it appears there may be some reason for doing it…see “NUS’ team’s new chemical may speed up healing” – that new chemical is a combination of aloe vera and stem cells-from-umbilical cord extract smeared on a mesh bandage.

Is it safe to eat a placenta? (by Daily Mail) Excerpts below …

Tom Cruise says he plans to eat the placenta of his new-born child. The Hollywood star, whose fiancee Katie Holmes has just given birth, told a US magazine that he expects it to be ‘very nutritious’.

“I’m gonna eat the placenta. I thought that would be good,” he added.

But what is the placenta for and why is the Hollywood actor considering eating it?

What is the placenta?

The term ‘placenta’ originates from the Latin word for ‘flat cake’. It is also referred to as the afterbirth.

The placenta is an organ within the uterus which acts as an exchange system between the mother and the baby.

The baby gets its oxygen, amino acids and vitamins and minerals from the mother through the placenta and cord. The baby gets rid of its carbon dioxide and other waste materials through the placenta and into the mother’s circulation.

The placenta filters out some harmful substances. However, alcohol and some chemicals associated with smoking cigarettes are not filtered and can damage the unborn baby.

The placenta also produces hormones such as progesterone which is important in maintaining the pregnancy.

n the UK it is common for the umbilical cord to be clamped and the placenta to be treated like surgical waste and bagged and binned.

In other cultures, such as China, it is believed that the placenta has an emotional or spiritual affinity with the baby, and must therefore be disposed of in a suitable way. This might involve burial in a safe place.

“If someone wants to take their placenta home to eat or burry under a rose bush they would need to ask the midwife to keep it for them,” Claire Friars, midwife for Tommy’s Baby Charity said.

Who eats the placenta?

In the wild, mammals bite through the umbilical cord and eat the placenta straight after the birth.

In Chinese medicine, the placenta is known as a great life force and is highly respected in terms of its medicinal value. It is not cooked, but usually dried.

However, eating the placenta is considered taboo by many. “It is very very rare in the UK for people to eat their own, or other people’s placentas,” Ms Friars said.

“A certain taboo does exist around it. Midwives may be surprised by such a request but are aware that this ritual does happen.”

In 1998, chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall cooked a placenta on his Channel 4 programme and served it at a dinner party.

He devised the recipe with mother Rosie Clear for a party to celebrate the birth of her daughter Indi-Mo Krebbs. The placenta was fried with shallots and garlic, flambéed, puréed and served as a pate on focaccia bread.

Channel 4 was severely reprimanded by the Broadcasting Standards Commission as a result, although the practice is legal.

Are there any health benefits?

“There was some suggestion that a mother could avoid postnatal depression by eating her placenta but no evidence has backed this up,” Ms Friars said.

“Some people also believe that because the placenta provides the baby with the vitamins and minerals it requires the placenta would be full of these when eaten. Again there is no evidence for this.”

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