Comparing the TCM and Raw Methods of Placenta Encapsulation
At North Bay Placenta Services, we use the terms "steamed", "partial-steam", and "un-steamed" to differentiate between the different methods of encapsulation. However, the language used online and in the community is Traditional Chinese Medicine method (TCM) and Raw method. As a placenta encapsulator, I am often asked which method is better. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t exactly straight-forward.
This is because scientific studies on placentophagy (consuming your placenta after birth) are scarce. And while the anecdotal evidence shows women benefit from consuming their placentas after birth, there are many specifics we don’t know about placenta encapsulation.
Lets talk about the differences between the two processes and then benefits and drawbacks of each method.
What is the difference? The main difference between a TCM placenta pill and a raw placenta pill is that the TCM placenta has undergone an extra step of steaming before dehydration. Within Chinese Medicine, it is thought that the postpartum woman is left with a lot of yin, or cold energy, after birth. Steaming the placenta with warming Chinese herbs helps counteract and heal this yin and yang balance. The TCM placenta is dehydrated after being steamed at a higher temperature for a shorter amount of time as the raw placenta, which is dehydrated on a lower temperature for a longer amount of time.
So, how to make a decision?!
Well, if you already practice Chinese Medicine, or if you vibe with the philosophies of eastern medicine, go with the TCM method. Conversely, if you adhere to a raw diet or question actually how many vitamins you are getting when you eat your steamed veggies, the Raw method may better suite your needs. Because the TCM method involves steaming, raising the placenta up to a high temperature, it is arguable that some of the hormones and nutrients that you want may be killed or damaged in the heating process. At the same time, any bacteria on your placenta, maybe from hospitals or expelled from birth, are also destroyed. In the Raw method, the placenta is never heated over 118 degrees and this in theory would helps retain most of the beneficial hormones, vitamins and minerals. Because of this, it could have more intense effects than the TCM pill. It is important to note that some people experience a decrease in milk supply after taking their Raw capsules.
At the end of the day, and until we know more, the decision is yours. I love that I can offer both methods and support women making their own informed decisions. If you have further questions or need more information to make your decision, please don’t hesitate to reach out!
North Bay Placenta Services
Serving San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma County, East Bay, and Marin