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. When we do this, we are either looking to soften some of the harder to digest spices and nuts or we are looking to pull some of the plant compounds into the water like a tea, but without using heat. Typically the process is very quick. Place your 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 your 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 plant compounds we seek. Cold macerations work simply, 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 you make them 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 to diminish some of the negative effects of overindulgence by enhancing our body’s ability to process all that excess food.
2: Almond Maceration – Almonds help to nourish, replenish, and ground us. Almonds are high in protein, zinc, and good fats and if you’re interested in learning more about their benefits they are often recommended for calming the nervous system, sexual depletion, smooth muscle health, and as a healthy snack option for weight loss. They are excellent for building up fluids in the body, including male sexual fluids. In that vein they are often recommended for men that are trying to conceive. The practice would be to soak three to five almonds overnight and then eat them as a daily supplement to replenish sexual fluids specifically, but also to nourish and restore the body in general.
Both of these examples are very forgiving to beginners. Give them a try just for fun!