Placenta Drip: Fad or Fantastic?

Afterbirth consumption risky, unproven to boost health
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Dec 30, 2008 2:47 PM CST
A woman enjoys a placenta-collagen face mask. The healing powers of placental molecules, becoming increasingly popular, are still uncertain.   (Shutter stock)
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(Newser) – Feeling tired? A Tokyo clinic offers relaxation drips containing human placental extract as a pick-me-up. Long used by the Japanese to treat liver disease and menopause symptoms, placenta—with its immune molecules and nutrients that sustain the fetus during pregnancy—is symbolic, if not utterly scientific. The idea of a fountain of youth springing from afterbirth keeps customers filing in for the risky drug, Slate reports.

The clinic's 10-minute intravenous "placenta pack" treatment costs $30 and promises to combat aging, fight fatigue, and treat insomnia. But scientific proof of the lining's healing powers is, er, thin. And consuming the rich compound—instead of isolating the beneficial chemicals in it—may cause unintended side effects, including blood clots and strokes.