Placenta pills become a business for Saskatoon woman

A Saskatoon businesswoman is making a folk remedy for new mothers a little easier to swallow.

Placenta in pills

11 years ago
Duration 1:50
A Saskatoon woman has a home business preparing placenta in pill form, David Shield reports.

A Saskatoon businesswoman is making a folk remedy for new mothers a little easier to swallow.

Although its common for mammals to eat placenta after giving birth, the practice is rare in human culture.

But in Saskatoon, Marlese Assman is churning out capsules made from human placenta, also called afterbirth.

Marlese Assman is processing placenta for clients who want to ingest it in capsule form. (CBC)
Assman was busy this week inserting blue gel capsules into a special holder and filling them with a brownish powder.

The powder is placenta that has been steamed, dehydrated and ground up. The client ordering the capsules provides the placenta for Assman to process.

Eating the actual tissue is done in some parts of the world.

But in Regina, Holly Andris found capsules a more palatable way to ingest it.

She believes the compounds contained in placenta help ease post-partum symptoms.

"It's definitely a concept that's a little too far out there for some people," she said. "I really like to try different things. It just really felt like something really good that I could do for myself."

Proponents say ingesting placenta can also boost energy, promote healing, fight insomnia and stimulate breast milk production.

Assman first heard about placenta capsules on a pregnancy podcast.

"Initially there was a 'What?' or an 'Ick!' factor," she said, but she was intrigued. "It was enough to make me look into it further."

Soon other mothers were calling her to ask about it.

"I thought, 'What better way to help new moms?'" she said.

Now her cottage industry is generating revenue of a few hundred dollars a month.

Some in the medical community say there's no proof the product is effective.

Assman concedes the evidence of any therapeutic qualities is, so far, anecdotal. But she's optimistic a study underway in Nevada will provide more solid evidence.