Japanese women ingesting placenta to stay young and beautiful.
Sound horrific, doesn't it? Hot, beautiful young-looking women shuffling in their Sailor Moon high-school uniforms moaning in excited pain and ecstasy as the search for the eternal life-giving powers of placenta.
Think zombies looking for brains. Think vampires drinking blood. Think I'm kidding about placentas?
Have you ever heard of FOSHU (Food for a Specific Health Use)? This relatively new food and drink category is always popular in Asia - which is where Japan is! And, since today's topic is about placenta, you can bet your bottom dollar that the Japanese had a yen for this fad.
We'll get to the heart of the story after I give you some information that will surely get your blood pumping - which may or may not excite some of you in ways I can not fathom. Actually, I can fathom pretty well because I'm deep.
Anyhow... some university level information... and, as you can tell, I probably partied a little too much there:
Anatomy 101: Placenta
|Human placenta. Oh, grow up!|
Biology 101: PlacentaPlacentophagy is the act of mammals eating the placenta of their young after childbirth. After my rottweiler Misty gave birth to five widdle pups, she snacked down on the placenta which not only helps the mother recover energy, it has high levels of prostaglandin, a chemical that helps the body shrink the stretched uterus after birth. It also contains low levels of oxytocin, which eases birth stress and causes the mammary cells to contract and eject milk.
Cultural Studies 101: PlacentaAs mentioned above, my dog ate the placenta. Animals eat the placenta, but despite being an animal, human beings do not traditionally eat their own placenta after giving birth. This is despite me suggesting to the midwife that my wife should eat it to quickly regain her strength after giving birth to our son. They seemed to think I was serious. I was not. You all know me as your friendly newshound idiot friend. That placenta was eventually incinerated at the hospital.
Regarding the disposal of the placenta, some cultures believe that beyond an animals nutrition, it is important:
- The Māori of New Zealand traditionally bury the placenta to connect the human to the Earth;
- The Navajo bury both the placenta and umbilical cord at a specially chosen site;
- In Cambodia burying the placenta is like a totem to ensure the health and welfare of the mother and child;
- In Costa Rica - same... protection for the mom and baby;
- The Aymara in Bolivia will, if the mother dies during childbirth, bury the placenta in a secret place so that the vengeful spirit won't come back to either take the baby with her to look after, or kill the baby for taking her life. I'm guessing it's the former;
- The Hmong, in what I think is the most awesome reasoning, bury the placenta under the central column of the house if it's a boy, and under the parent's bed if it's a girl - so that when the person dies the soul can go retrieve their first "clothing" and return to their ancestors to be reborn. Okay... I'm not sure of the location-thing, but the rest of it sounds great!;
- Canada's Kwakiutl of British Columbia bury girls' placentas to give the girl skill in digging clams, and expose boys' placentas to encourage future prophetic visions. Clam digging? What have I been using my penis for? Why didn't I foresee this? Wrong type of Indian, I guess;
- Some in Turkey believe the proper disposal of the placenta and umbilical cord will make a child more devout. I could believe that
- In Java, some believe the placenta has a spirit and should be buried;
- The Orang Asil of Malaysia say the placenta is a baby's older sibling;
- The Nepalese say it is a friend of the baby;
- Nigeria's Ibo believe the placenta is the twin of the baby and perform a full funeral for it.
There's more... but you get the idea. heck... even in Japan, if a woman cannot get pregnant, she is urged to borrow the petticoat of a pregnant friend and step over a newly buried placentav.
Pharmacy 101: PlacentaPlacenta has been an ingredient in traditional Chinese medicines for years. Dried human placenta is used to treat infertility, impotence, and wasting disease.
I'm not an expert in Chinese medicine, and do not want to cavalierly dismiss 1,000s of years of culture, but because human beings are better fed than our animal cousins, there is no need for a human to eat the placenta after birth... or after-birth.
British celebrity chef Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall, known for his series of River Cottage programmes, notoriously cooked and ate his wife's placenta on one of his programmes.
So... let's get to the main focus of the story: Japanese women searching for placenta to help them appear younger and healthier.
There are many companies in Japan touting the affects of placenta as a health and beauty supplement that one actually drinks.
"What flavor is your placenta, Yuki-chan?"
"I've got horse!"
Okay, perhaps that's a wee-wee-wee bit deceptive.
Farmacology 101: Placenta
Buta (Pig): This little piggie went to marketCompanies are selling blended pig placenta in a plethora of formats, including: drinks, capsules, topical skin creams, applied facial skin masks, and jellies with the consistency of a fresh yummy brain to eat.
These pig placenta-based products that can probably still be found in Asia are supposed to give 'tired, lackluster skin a non-surgical face-lift'.
People who like it, like it a lot, and say that along with regenerative, anti-aging benefits, it is supposed to help weight loss, provide a more natural cure to post-partum depression and be 'helpful' with menopausal symptoms.
Does it work? Should you smear pig placenta on your face in the hope you will look beautiful for your husband to start kissing you again. Sorry. The United States Food & Drug Administration does not believe it will and will not allow products of its ilk into the country (legally). For which husbands are grateful they don't have jellied pig placenta on their lips.
But... if you were to take a look around a pharmacy in Japan, this blog bets you would still be able to find pig placenta in some shape or form. If so... a 30-milliliter (1.0144 ounce) bottle costs approximately ¥1,000 (Cdn/US$12.95).
Now... according to the company, they didn't use the entire pig placenta - they used only the active ingredient of the high quality placenta. So... only good-looking pigs need apply. And what exactly is the active ingredient in a placenta? Japan - It's A wonderful Rife will guess the active ingredient in placenta is eggs, but we could be wrong.
Nihon-Sofuken's selling points were:
- Use only placenta where they have full control rearing of the pigs - so no higgeldy-piggeldy choosing pig placenta from random farms or arboreal forests;
- Fully examined against: arsenic, heavy metal, general bacterium, colon, genetic recombination, allergy, BSE;
- Safely produced using technology and know-how of the pharmaceutical manufacturer;
- They disintegrate/remove the hormone in the placenta that could cause harmful side-effect;
- Completely remove blood which cause bad smell and rot via a special extraction method;
- Extract the active element without destroying it. Not destroying the active ingredient is a good thing
- Contains 10,000mg (10%) of placenta;
- Erases the high-density animal smell of the pig placenta (it does not smell like, ham, bacon or pork chops!) with a peach or apple flavor.
How much is this stuff going to cost you?
100ｇ × 15 packs = ¥12,000
100ｇ × 6 packs = ¥4,800
Ah... but what price be immortality? Your soul or that of a pig?
Ma (Horse): Mama MiaNow... should you find the concept of sipping on a pig's placenta a tad disgusting, may we suggest you take it up a notch and savor the flavor of some thoroughbred horse placenta.
It's so fresh, the placenta still has marks from where the jockey was whipping it.
|It just looks big and disgusting. It's actually quite small.|
Why the long face? Placenta-Pro is supposed to: whiten skin (in Japan, having a tan implies you are a lowly laborer); cures headaches and canker sores; loosens stiff shoulders; reduces sensitivity to cold; enable you to run in the Kentucky Derby.
Okay.. we're not sure about that last one, even though that would be cool.
Of course, of course, should you think to try it, Placenta-Pro (don't use the knock-off Placenta-Amateur), a 35 milliliter bottle of the stuff will set you back ¥3,865 ($50). No bad, right? But the recommended dosage is one bottle per day. That's ¥1,410,637 ($18,250) a year! More if you want to run for the roses at the track.
I can't believe I wrote so much on a topic I know nothing about. By the way... that horse placenta drink... will that make anything else, uh, horse-like?
Somewhere eating chicken placentas and strips of swine flesh for breakfast,