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Why plant a placenta? It makes a great lasagne

It is safe to say that actor Matthew McConaughey has not been restrained on the subject of his newborn son, Levi. Already he has told us about the "tribal" rhythms of his partner's contractions, and the Biblical origin of the baby's name (humbly enough, from his favourite verse in the book of Matthew), and now, this week, he has let us know precisely what he plans to do with Levi's placenta placenta (pləsĕn`tə) or afterbirth, organ that develops in the uterus during pregnancy. It is a unique characteristic of the higher (or placental) mammals. In humans it is a thick mass, about 7 in. : plant it.

"When I was in Australia, they had a placenta tree that was on the river," McConaughey began, "and all the placentas of all that tribe, all that clan clan, social group based on actual or alleged unilineal descent from a common ancestor. Such groups have been known in all parts of the world and include some that claim the parentage or special protection of an animal, plant, or other object (see totem). , whatever Aboriginal tribe that was, all the placentas went under that one tree and it was this huge behemoth behemoth (bē`hĭmŏth, bĭhē`–) [Heb.,=plural of beast], large, fanciful primeval monster, like Leviathan, evoking the hippopotamus mentioned in the Book of Job.  of just health and strength."

In the west, placentas are usually incinerated, but placenta-planting ceremonies are becoming more common. They are considered a fitting manner in which to commemorate the birth, and help to enrich the soil - at Harleyford Road Community Garden in London, for example, placentas from local births help fertilise the plants. Placenta-planting has long been part of other cultures: the Maori believe it reinforces our bond with the earth; the Navajo, native Hawaiians This is a list of notable Native Hawaiians:
  • James Aiona, politician
  • Daniel K. Akaka, politician
  • Eddie Aikau, famous surfer
  • Jesse Kuhaulua, sumo wrestler
  • Akebono, sumo wrestler
  • D. G. Anderson, politician
  • S.
 and Costa Ricans do the same.

McConaughey was not the first Hollywood actor to share his placenta-plans with the world; in 2006, Tom Cruise let it be known that he planned to eat his daughter Suri's placenta. Eating the placenta is known as "placentophagy" and some claim it is beneficial to the health of the new mother. Accordingly, a host of placenta recipe websites now offer step-by-step guides to everything from roast afterbirth afterbirth /af·ter·birth/ (af´ter-birth?) the placenta and membranes delivered from the uterus after childbirth.

af·ter·birth
n.
 to placenta lasagne.

Finally, if you are at a loss with what to do with your placenta, why not consider a spot of placenta art? You'll need a sheet of quality watercolour watercolour

Painting made with a pigment ground in gum, usually gum arabic, and applied with brush and water to a surface, usually paper. The pigment is ordinarily transparent but can be made opaque by mixing with a whiting to produce gouache.
 paper, one placenta, some blood and amniotic fluid amniotic fluid
n.
The fluid within the amnion that surrounds the fetus and protects it from injury.


Amniotic fluid
The liquid that surrounds the baby within the amniotic sac.
. "Many parents have found this to be a fun activity as well as giving them a unique, artistic keepsake of their pregnancy," notes one website. Reports that Brangelina have sold exclusive rights to their twins' placenta pictures are unconfirmed at time of going to press.
Copyright 2008 guardian.co.uk
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Author:guardian.co.uk
Publication:guardian.co.uk
Date:Aug 12, 2008
Words:355
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