Human placentas (Zi He Che) in Chinese Medicine

Human placentas

Chinese: 紫河车

Pinyin: Zǐ Hé Chē

Parts used: Dried placenta of a healthy women

TCM category: Tonic herbs for Yang Deficiency

TCM nature: Warm

TCM taste(s): SaltySweet

Meridian affinity: HeartKidneyLiverLung

Scientific name: Hominis Placenta

Use of human placentas (Zi He Che) in TCM

Please note that you should never self-prescribe TCM ingredients. A TCM ingredient is almost never eaten on its own but as part of a formula containing several ingredients that act together. Please consult a professional TCM practitioner, they will be best able to guide you.

Preparation: After a healthy woman gives birth, the placenta is kept and dried instead of being discarded.

Dosage: 1.5 - 4.5 grams

Main actions according to TCM*: Tonifies the Liver and Kidneys and assists the Essence. Tonifies the Qi and Blood.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which human placentas may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Infertility Impotence Tinnitus Chronic lower back pain Seminal emission Vertigo Fatigue Chronic cough and wheezing Low milk supply Dyspnea Anorexia Tidal fever Dizziness

Contraindications*: The use of human placenta is very safe but should be used with caution when there is Heat from Yin Deficiency and for prolonged use.

Key TCM concepts behind human placentas (Zi He Che)'s properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), human placentas are plants that belong to the 'Tonic herbs for Yang Deficiency' category. Tonic herbs are used for patterns of Deficiency, when one lacks one of the 'Four Treasures' (Qi, Blood, Yin and Yang). Yang Tonics are generally used in combination with a small amount of Yin tonics. If Yin is deficient, neither Qi nor Yang herbs alone will be effective. The most common symptoms associated with Yang Deficiency are low libido and impotence. It is worth mentioning that another very effective remedy against Yang Deficiency is regular exercise.

Furthermore human placentas are plants that are Warm in nature. This means that human placentas tend to help people who have too much "cold" in their body, although with less effect than a plant that would be Hot in nature. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Those who have too much cold in their body are said to either have a Yin excess (because Yin is Cold in nature) or a Yang deficiency (Yang is Hot in Nature). Depending on your condition human placentas can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Human placentas also taste Salty and Sweet. The so-called "five elements" theory in Chinese Medicine states that the taste of TCM ingredients is a key determinant of their action in the body. Salty ingredients like human placentas tend to have a draining effect in the body because they clear accumulations, remove phlegm and soften hard lumps. On the other hand Sweet ingredients tend to slow down acute reactions and detoxify the body. They also have a tonic effect because they replenish Qi and Blood.

The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what organs and meridians they target. As such human placentas are thought to target the Heart, the Kidney, the Liver and the Lung. In addition to regulating blood flow, in TCM the Heart is believed to be the store of the "spirit" which basically refers to someone's vitality. The Kidneys do not only regulate the urinary system but also play a key role in the reproductive system and the growth and aging process of the body. The Liver is often referred as the body's "general" because it is in charge of regulating the movements of Qi and body fluids. It also takes a leading role in balancing our emotions. In addition to performing respiration, the Lungs are thought to be a key part of the production chain for Qi and the body fluids that nourish the body.

Use of human placentas (Zi He Che) as food

Human placentas are also eaten as food.