The Placenta Blog

The beauty of birth

October 8th, 2009

This is a beautiful video of an elephant giving birth. It is graphic (meaning it shows everything and is an accurate portrayal of a real birthing event). It gets a bit dramatic after the baby is born, as she’s not breathing right away. The mother’s love is evident from the very beginning.

I wish they had shown the delivery of the placenta, and what the mother did with it afterward!!

There is an awesome family event coming up this weekend at the Orange County Fairgrounds, and PBi will be there to share the benefits of using placenta for postpartum recovery!

If you are anywhere in the area, Kidsfaire is an event not to be missed. Stop by the PBi booth in the Babyville section of the fairgrounds - we would *love* to see you!!

Kidsfaire - America’s Family Expo
October 3-4
Orange County Fairgrounds
Costa Mesa, CA

I just read a great article on the Postpartum Progress blog. She has put together a fabulous resource for women suffering from PPD.

I’m just going to summarize here, but please read the full article as she gives so much more information:

1. How long did you suffer from PPD before you reached out for treatment?
2. How severe is your illness?
3. How effective is the treatment you have been using?
4. How effective is the doctor or therapist you are working with?
5. What is your current life situation and how may it be affecting your recovery?
6. What have you been doing to follow your treatment plan and take care of yourself?

This last one is my favorite. We often get so busy taking care of our children, partners and homes that we put ourselves last on the list. Mothers tend to be the primary caregiver in the home and are depended on to complete a huge variety of tasks throughout the day; often we feel there is an expectation to do this all with a spring in our step and a song on our lips.

But if we as mothers are the foundation of the family, then we owe it not just to ourselves but to our family to make sure we take care of ourselves. This includes eating regularly and mindfully, taking brief moments throughout the day to rest and recharge (even if it is hiding in the bathroom with the door locked to read a few pages from a book or magazine; ignore those little fingers poking under the door and find your own space), and letting your partner handle some of the load.

There is a light at the tunnel. Children get older and you will eventually get more time to yourself, and more sleep. Know that there is help out there; do not be ashamed, and reach out.

Ginger Reduces Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy and Relieves Menstrual Pain

by Barbara Minton, Natural Health Editor
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(NaturalNews) Ginger, that aromatic root that has livened up food for centuries, is a treasure chest of health benefits that keep bodies lively too. Recent research has found ginger to be effective for reducing the nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy, and the pain associated with menstruation. It has also shown ginger to be effective against colon cancer and the devastating effects of liver cancer.

A daily dose of ginger makes pregnant women feel much better

Sixty-seven women receiving prenatal treatment at a clinic were the subjects of a study reported in the March 15 edition of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Each had complained of nausea and vomiting as a result of pregnancy. The women were randomly assigned to either an experimental group or a control group. The experimental group received 250 mg capsules of ginger to be taken four times a day for four days, and the control group received placebos with the same prescriptive form and direction. Effects of treatment for nausea were evaluated twice daily for four days by a before-and-after treatment questionnaire. The ginger users demonstrated a higher rate of improvement compared to the placebo users (85% versus 56%). The decrease in vomiting times among ginger uses was also significantly greater than among the women who received the placebo (50% versus 9%).

Ginger halts menstrual pain as effectively as drugs

Another study compared the effects of ginger, ibuprofen, and mefenamic acid (another NSAID typically used to treat menstrual discomfort) on women with primary menstrual pain. This was a double blind comparative clinical trial conducted over a six month period. Participants were 150 students, aged 18 years and older, who were divided into three equal groups. Students in the ginger group took 250 mg capsules of ginger rhizome powder four times a day for three days from the start of their menstrual periods. Members of the other groups received 250 mg mefenamic acid capsules or 400 mg ibuprofen capsules on the same protocol. A verbal multidimensional scoring system assessed the severity of their menstrual pain.

Severity of disease, pain relief, and satisfaction with treatment were compared between the groups after one menstruation period. At the end of treatment, severity of pain and discomfort decreased in all groups and no differences were found between the groups in degree of pain relief or satisfaction with the treatment. No severe side effects occurred. The scientists concluded that ginger was as effective as the NSAID drugs in relieving menstrual pain. This study can be found in the February 13 issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

Ginger has a distinguished career as a spice and a healer

Spicy ginger comes from the underground rhizome of the ginger plant, known botanically as Zingiber officinale. The edible rhizome is usually yellow or white in color and covered with a thin brown skin. After being peeled, the firm textured rhizome can be minced and sprinkled raw on salads, vegetables dishes, and beans and legumes. It adds a tantalizing taste sensation that some refer to as being hot. Ginger has been favorite addition to Asian cuisine for several centuries.

Ginger is mentioned in ancient Chinese, Indian and Middle Eastern writing, and had been prized throughout several millennia for its culinary and medicinal properties. It is traditionally used by the Chinese and Mediterraneans when preparing seafood because it acts as a detoxifier to prevent seafood poisoning. Drinking ginger tea has been regularly recommended by Chinese physicians as a way to retain vitality.

Ginger offers potent cancer protection

Gingerol, the main component of ginger, is responsible for its distinctive taste. It is believed to be the reason why eating ginger confers powerful protection against cancer and why ginger has been a research star against colon cancer. Scientists at the Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii recently measured the bioactivity of 6-gingerol and ginger extract in two key aspects of colon cancer biology: cancer cell proliferation, and the ability of cancer cells to establish and maintain their own blood supplies. They found that these selected bioactive compounds from ginger had a direct effect on cancer cell proliferation, and an indirect effect on endothelial cell function either at the level of endothelial cell proliferation or through inhibition of endothelial cell tube formation. The scientists concluded that 6-gingerol has two types of antitumor effects. It directs colon cancer cell growth suppression, and inhibits the blood supply of the tumor via the angiogenesis process. Their study was published in Phytotherapy Resources, December 31, 2008.

Gingerol can also kill ovarian cancer cells by inducing programmed cell death and self-digestion. In a study reported in The World’s Healthiest Foods report on ginger, scientists examined the effect of a whole ginger extract containing 5% gingerol on several different ovarian cancer cell lines. Exposure to the ginger extract caused cell death in all the cancer lines studied. In the presence of ginger, a number of key indicators of inflammation were decreased in the ovarian cancer cells.

Chemotherapy also suppresses these inflammatory markers, but cancer cells frequently become resistant to the drugs. As a result of this, ginger may be of particular benefit to cancer patients. For anyone wishing to prevent cancer, frequent use of ginger may be a good idea.

Ginger has shown anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects with liver cancer cells as well. Researchers evaluating the effect of ginger extract on the expression of cancer promoting NFkappaB and TNF-alpha, found that the ginger extract significantly reduced the elevated expression of these markers in rats with liver cancer. They concluded that ginger may act as an anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory agent through these pathways. These finding were reported in the December, 2008 edition of Clinics.

Ginger relieves motion sickness

Ginger is effective at preventing the symptoms of motion sickness and seasickness. Researchers have found it to be superior to the drug Dramamine at reducing all symptoms including dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and cold sweats.

Ginger relieves arthritis

People with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis experience reduction in their pain levels and improvement in their mobility when they use gingerly regularly. In two clinical studies involving patients who responded to conventional drugs and those who did not, physicians found that 75% of arthritis patients and 100% of patients with muscular discomfort experienced relief of their pain and swelling. Knee pain patients experienced significantly less pain in movement when they consumed ginger regularly.

Ginger’s anti-inflammatory magic seems to come from the free radical protection provided by 6-gingerol. In a test tube study, 6-gingerol was found to inhibit the production of nitric oxide, a highly reactive nitrogen molecule that forms dangerous free radicals. Rats exposed to radiation were prevented from having an increase in free radical damage to lipids after they were treated with ginger. It greatly lessened depletion of their stores of glutathione, one of the most important antioxidants naturally produced by the body. Ginger has also been shown to suppress pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines produced in the lining of the joints and cartilage.

Use the freshest ginger you can find

Choose fresh ginger over the dried form whenever possible. It is not only superior in flavor but contains higher levels of gingerol and other compounds that inhibit inflammation. Fresh ginger can be found in the produce department of many grocery stores, or at health food outlets. Unpeeled fresh ginger can be stored in the refrigerator for about three weeks. However, buying a smaller piece each time you shop will yield the freshest ginger.

Ginger is high in potassium, so necessary for heart function, and in manganese, a mineral that builds resistance to disease and protects the lining of the heart and circulatory system. Healthy skin, hair, teeth and nails are promoted by ginger’s high silicon content. It contains Vitamins A, C, E, and the B complex, along with magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, iron, zinc, calcium, and beta-carotene.

Ginger makes drab dishes come alive

Add ginger to rice dishes by sprinkling grated ginger on top along with sesame seeds. Use it in salad dressings combined with tamari, extra virgin olive oil and garlic. Sprinkle bits of ginger on sweet potatoes and vegetables. Use it in fresh vegetable or fruit salads. Add it to stir fry dishes and marinades. Sprinkle ginger on fish or chicken before baking.

Drinks can be spiced up with ginger. It makes a great addition to fresh mixed vegetable juices or smoothies, and added to lemonade. Enjoy brewed ginger tea served hot or cold. One third of a teaspoon of grated fresh ginger root added to your food or drink every day will provide optimal benefits.


About the author
Barbara is a school psychologist, a published author in the area of personal finance, a breast cancer survivor using “alternative” treatments, a born existentialist, and a student of nature and all things natural.

Be bold!

September 17th, 2009

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it.  Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”
— Goethe

This is a fabulous quote. We all have dreams and aspirations, but we stop ourselves from even trying, mostly because of fear. Consider: what is the absolute worst thing that can happen if you try and fail? Then consider: what could happen if you SUCCEED??

Karen Angstadt from Expectations Radio is a great host and interviewer. I had a fabulous time talking with her, and it was a great interview. Listen to the recorded show on Placenta for Postpartum below, and be sure to check out Karen’s show weekly on Expectations Radio.

Karen Angstadt from Intentional will be interviewing me this Monday, September 14, on her internet radio show, Expectations Radio. It’s a live show, so check out the link for the details and the call-in number. I would love to talk to you!

Listen to Expectations Radio on Blog Talk Radio

Dr. Weil recently posted about using placenta for postpartum recovery on his site, in response to the TIME magazine article on placenta encapsulation. He holds a rather dim view of its effectiveness - his main argument is that even if placenta does hold beneficial properties, they will be removed through the process that occurs to create the capsules.

I have heard this very argument numerous times. For one thing, I would like to clarify that the placenta is not “freeze-dried” as Dr. Weil erroneously describes. The PBi method of placenta encapsulation uses timeless techniques perfected over centuries of use in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Dried placenta, or Zî hé chē, is one of TCM’s most powerful tonifying medicines. It is used for a variety of issues, and is only used when a very strong medicine is needed. Two of these issues, which are relevant to postpartum recovery, is insufficient lactation and fatigue.

The efficacy of increasing milk production with dried placenta has been backed up with scientific research, which gave women dried human placenta vs. placebo (dried beef). The results were that the dried placenta significantly increased milk supply.

Fatigue is a major indicator for the development of postpartum depression. There is a strong correlation between iron deficiency anemia, which affects many postpartum women, and fatigue. The placenta is an incredible source of natural iron, which has a much greater bio-availability than a manufactured supplement. Research has shown that increasing iron levels through supplementation lowers the risk for postpartum depression. So by providing adequate iron via a natural source, such as the placenta, we can keep women from becoming iron deficient, which can help avoid postpartum depression.

Dr. Weil suggests a quality fish oil, which provides high levels of Omega-3. Omega-3 has been shown to help with depression, and I agree that this is a beneficial supplement for postpartum women. However, to discount a whole spectrum of beneficial nutrients from the placenta in favor of a single supplement is irresponsible. To suggest that Omega-3’s alone will do just as much good as placenta is oversimplifying the problem and suggesting that the issue of postpartum depression is easily solved.

I acknowledge that there is a lack of research in this field. To remedy that problem, I have teamed up with researchers at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV). We are conducting research into this very issue at this moment. I am excited to see what nutrients are present in the placenta in its natural state, and at what levels they remain after our method of preparation is concluded.

However, despite the lack of scientific studies, the fact remains that the placenta *works*. It has worked for centuries in TCM, and it has helped hundreds of women have a more positive experience as new mothers.

Pregnancy and birth are extremely taxing on a woman’s system. Besides the potential loss of essential nutrients, such as iron, there is a huge hormonal fluctuation that occurs after the birth. The placenta contains the very elements that the mother’s body is lacking. By reintroducing these elements into her system, her body more readily returns to balance and homeostasis. Beyond the benefits of hormonal balancing and mood enhancement, the placenta is worth its weight in gold for the increase in energy alone.

Mothers need all the help they can get to keep pace with the demands of our society as women and mothers. The placenta is one way to help. To have an M.D. discount all the beneficial properties of placenta is doing women a huge dis-service and perpetuating the myth that women can do it all - just with the help of a little fish oil.

This video was created by Jules Johnstun, a midwife and PBi Placenta Encapsulation Specialist in Albuquerque, NM.

See more videos on our YouTube channel!

A nurse practitioners blog put together a list of the Top 50 Post-Partum Support Blogs, and our very own Placenta Blog came in at #16, under Best Post-Partum Support Blogs by a Mother.

Thanks for the mention! I think it’s great that a site promoting nurse practitioner training has The Placenta Blog listed as a resource. We’re bringing placenta for postpartum further into the mainstream every day!

Author: Jodi Selander

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