“Since placentophagy is a phenomenon observed in all mammals in their natural state [excluding camels and aquatic mammals], we came to the conclusion that the opinions described above [maintain cleanness & hide birth from predators] are without foundation and that there must be some connection, so far unknown to us, between placentophagy and some phase of the generative process. It seems quite possible that this connection may concern two things: the involution and restitution of the uterus and the production of milk. Probably our attitude to these two important generative phases has been too organ-bound; we have tried to remedy their dysfunction by means – one-sided uterotonics and especially lactogogues – which were too simple and therefore of little or no use. We therefore decided that it would be worthwhile studying the effects of placenta administration in women, especially the influence of such administration on lactation. Our decision to try this experiment was made easier byzootechnical experience and also anthropologically in certain primitive tribes, occasionally even in civilized mothers. We wanted to help mothers, in those difficult first days after delivery, to overcome a bad start in nursing the baby; we were particularly concerned with those cases in which the enlargement and congestion of the breats is quite absent and in which almost from the beginning the baby has to be fed artificially. In one word, our aim was to make good nurses of our mothers. Since we did not know the effective substance, we decided to administer the placenta in the same way it is taken by other mammals, i.e. to give whole placenta per oswith as few changes as possible. This of course could not be done literally since it would be a most unusual form of medication’ moreover, the volume of the human placenta is relatively large. We therefore had to find some method of conserving the placenta so that the main substances, e.g. proteins and hormones, remained unaltered, and also to find some form in which it could be eaten. So far we can report on 210 women who ate freeze-dried placenta: 71 with very good results, 110 with good, and 29 with negative. Very good we call those results in which there is considerable increase, both subjective and objective, in size and tenderness of the breasts and in secretion of milk (30g and more for one feed); the milk also flows by itself. Good results are those in which the quantity of milk increases by at least 20g for one feed. In evaluating these results we of course make allowance for the physiological increase in milk during the first days after delivery. It should be borne in mind that the women who received this treatment were those in whom some trouble nursing was anticipated: women with flat or unglandular breasts or multiparae who after previous deliveries had nurses badly or not at all. One of the present authors also tried this herself 2 months after delivery. The quantity of milk increased by 20-30g per feed and remained at this level. Cows which devour their placenta after the birth of the calf yield one liter of milk a day more than those which do not have access to the placenta. This method of treating hypogalactiaseems worth noting since the placenta preparation is easily obtained, has not so far been utilized and in our experience is successful in the majority of women.” Placenta as a Lactagogon By Eva Soykova-Pachnerova, Vlastimil Brutar, Berta Golova, Eva Zvolska of Charles University, Prague 1954
“The afterbirth was taken to increase the secretion of milk, which in all the women had failed without obvious cause after previous confinements. The treatment is said to have been successful after other methods of stimulating the milk secretion had failed. The placenta was used in antiquity in the Middle Ages as a remedy in difficult labour, and in our own day the human afterbirth and that of the sow has been used in extracts given in pills and other vehicles to stimulate mammary function. In all parts of the world thereare many places where the women still hold by the old tradtion. In Morocco it is believed that easting the placenta prevents barrenness and hastens delivery. Preparations of the placenta hold a considerable place in Chinese therapeutics. It is regarded as the best remedy for chlorosis and as useful in cases of anemia following parturition. It is thought to be most efficacious when taken fresh, but is also given dried and in pills. Madame Louise Toussaint, a French midwife, quoted by Cabanes in his Remedesd’autrefois (Paris, 1905), speaking of women in labour, says, “ Notwithstanding the disgusted protests which will come to the lips of many of you, O accoucheurs and midwives in reading me, give them, believe me, some fragments of their own placenta and you will tell me what happens. You will see how much you will in this way promote rapid recovery and with what abundance and rapidity the milk with come on. Do not forget that even in non-pregnant women and in virgins the milk secretion may be made to appear by simple placental feeding” The same lady affirms, from her own experience, that there is nothing like the ingestion of sheep’s placenta, dried and then triturated with powdered sugar, for making the milk come abundantly in women who had none, and also for doubling the daily output in nurses. Cabanes tells us that at the fourth French Congress of Internal Medicine, held atMontpellier in April 1898, Dr. Iscovesco presented a communication on the therapeutic action of the placenta illustrated by more than a hundred cases of placenta tablets having a favourable effect on the secretion of milk. The treatment was also said to have brought about remarkable improvement in chronic metritis with hypertrophy of the uterus and concomitant catarrh even when the appendages were diseased, and in cases of abnormal involution of the womb after delivery.” The British Medical Journal, Vol. 1 No. 2928, February 10, 1917 page 203
Florence Beeson King of Indiana University published works on placenta as a galatogogue back in the late 1920’s and 1930’s.
“It has been shown that the feeding of desiccated placenta to women during the first eleven days after parturition causes an increase in the protein and lactose percent of the milk... All the mothers were receiving the same diet, and to the second set 0.6mg of desiccated placenta was fed three times a day throughout the period. Certain definite differences in the progress of growth of the two sets of infants are to be observed. It is evident that the recovery from the postnatal decline in weight is hastened by the consumption of milk produced under the influence of maternally ingested placenta.” McNeile, Lyle G. 1918. The American Journal of Obstetrics and Diseases of Women and Children, 77. W.A. Townsend & Adams, original press: University of Michigan
“A paper by neuroscientists at the University at Buffalo and Buffalo State College suggests that ingestion of components of afterbirth or placenta -- placentophagia -- may offer benefits to human mothers and perhaps to non-mothers and males. Mark Kristal, PhD, professor of psychology and neuroscience at UB, directs the graduate program in behavioral neuroscience, and has studied placentophagia for more than 40 years. He is recognized as a principle expert in the field. Kristal's article "Placentophagia in Human and Nonhuman Mammals: Causes and Consequences," was published in the March 30 issue of the journal Ecology of Food and Nutrition, which was devoted to the subject of placentophagia. Kristal's co-authors are Jean M. DiPirro, PhD, associate professor, Department of Psychology, Buffalo State College, and Alexis C. Thompson, PhD, research associate professor, UB Department of Psychology and a research scientist in the UB Research Institute on Addictions. They point out that the benefits of placenta ingestion (as well as the ingestion of amniotic fluid) by non-human mammalian mothers are significant. It provokes an increase in mother-infant interaction, for instance, and increases the effects of pregnancy-mediated analgesia in the delivering mother. It also potentiates opioid circuits in the maternal brain that facilitate the onset of caretaking behavior, and suppresses postpartum pseudopregnancy, thereby increasing the possibilities for fertilization. "Human childbirth is fraught with additional problems for which there are no practical nonhuman animal models," says Kristal, citing postpartum depression, failure to bond and maternal hostility toward the infant. "Whether or not we learn why humans do not do this, it is important for us to search for the medicinal or behavioral benefits of components of afterbirth for the same reasons that we search for plant-based medicinal substances," Kristal says.” University of Buffalo Press Release, March 2012
According to a study performed by the National Institutes of Health, "During the last trimester of pregnancy, the placenta secretes so much CRH that the levels in the bloodstream increase threefold. However, it was also discovered that postpartum women have lower than average levels of CRH, triggering depressive symptoms. They concluded that the placenta secreted so much CRH that the hypothalamus stopped producing it... After childbirth, the hypothalamus doesn't immediately receive the signal to begin producing CRH again, which can lead to postpartum depression. Eating the placenta will raise a mother's CRH levels therefore, reducing postpartum depression."
A 1961 study on the Iron Content of Placentas and Cords by Bonnie McCoy, M.S, Roberta Bleiler, Ph.D, and Margaret Ohlson Ph.D states, “"Data obtained on the fifty placentas and cords were expressed as milligrams of total iron and milligrams per 100 grams of the wet weight of the sample. The total iron content of the samples averaged 75.5mg and ranged from 34.5 to 170mg, excluding one value, 396.7mg which was 6 standard deviations from the mean. The latter total iron value was also omitted in the calculation of the iron concentrations in placentas plus cords which ranged from 7.1 to 34.8mg with a mean of 13.6mg per 100gm of the wet weight of the sample. The weights of the placentas and cords averaged 560gm but varied from 385 to 880 gm.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 9, September-October 1961
“Daniel Benyshek, a UNLV medical anthropologist, and Sharon Young, a doctoral student of anthropology, asked 189 women who consumed their placentas after childbirth why they did it, how they preferred to have the placenta prepared, and if they would do it again. The results were published online Feb. 27, 2013 in the journal Ecology, Food and Nutrition. The survey found most women who participated in the practice, called placentophagy, were American, Caucasian, married, middle class, and college-educated and were more likely to give birth at home. Overall, 75% of participants said they had very positive experiences, 20% reported positive experiences and 4% were slightly positive. The most commonly reported negative aspect of placentophagy was the placenta’s appeal — the taste or smell of it was simply kind of icky. But most reported positive placentophagy experiences. “Our survey participants generally reported some type of perceived benefit from the practice, felt that their postpartum experience with placentophagy was a positive one, and overwhelmingly indicated that they would engage in placentophagy again after subsequent pregnancies. In fact, both of the  participants who selected negative or very negative to describe their placentophagy experience also indicated that they would engage in placentophagy again.” the authors write. According to the survey, the top three positive effects of placentophagy were improved mood, increased energy and improved lactation.” University of Nevada Las Vegas, February 2013
"Giving placenta to a new mother following birth has become standard protocol among a growing number of midwives in the United States. By nourishing the blood and fluids, endocrine glands and organs, Placenta will reduce or stop postpartum bleeding, speed up recovery, boost energy and relieve postpartum blues." Homes, Peter. 1993. Jade Remedies, Snow Lotus Press, 352.