Macerations: What they are and how to use them
By Josiah Groth
A traditional way to prepare several herbs and spices is by soaking them in a small glass of water overnight. This method of preparation is called a cold maceration. Doing so either softens some of the harder to digest spices and nuts, or it pulls some of the plant compounds into the water like a tea but without using heat.
Typically, the process is very simple. Place herbs or spices into a cup, and pour tap or bottled water over it. Cover with a small plate to keep airborne particles from falling into the cup while it sits on the counter overnight.
There are many ways to prepare herbs and spices. Many herbs have compounds that are harder to extract and, thus, require more intense processes than just a cold soak. Various levels of heat are often used, but crushing, pressing, oils, and alcohol extractions are sometimes needed to get at the crucial plant compounds. Cold macerations work easily, gently, and require little in the way of tools or preparation time.
1. Peppercorn Maceration: Pepper is a pungent spice that warms, dries, and stimulates digestion. By soaking five whole peppercorns overnight in water, they become easier to digest. Drink the liquid, and swallow the peppercorns whole like a vitamin. Use them to help burn up mucus or to awaken a sluggish digestive system.
Sometimes I will do this when I know I am going out for pizza. All that cheesy goodness is a bit hard to process. I will prepare my peppercorns in the morning and drink them before going out that night.
This is great for reducing mucus caused by colds as well. It is also wonderful for stimulating digestion if you are overeating. A few peppercorns help diminish some of the negative effects of overindulgence by enhancing the body’s ability to process all that excess food.
2. Almond Maceration: Almonds help to nourish, replenish, and ground us. They are high in protein, zinc, and good fats, and they are often recommended for calming the nervous system, smooth muscle health, and as a healthy snack option for weight loss. They are excellent for building up fluids in the body.
The practice would be to soak three to five almonds overnight and then eat them as a daily supplement. Both of these examples are very forgiving to beginners. Give them a try just for fun.
Josiah Groth is the owner of Back to Bliss Wellness. More information on his practice is available at backtoblisswellness.com.