Origin: Native to Asia Minor, Olive spread from Iran, Syria, and Palestine to the rest of the Mediterranean basin 6,000 years ago. The oldest acknowledged cultivated trees in the world, Olive has been grown before the written language was born. By 3,000 BC, it was cultivated on Crete, Greece's largest island.
The Phoenicians unrolled Olive to the Mediterranean shores of Africa and Southern Europe. Egyptian tombs, from 2,000 years B.C., stored Olives. As the Romans extended their empire they brought Olive with them.
The use of Olive oil is mentioned across varied religions and cultures. It is an integral part of special ceremonies as well as advised for general health. Around 1,400 years ago, the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, guided his followers to apply olive oil to their bodies. He himself used Olive oil on his head.
As per Herodotus, Apollodorus, the city of Athens got its name from the fact that Athenians regarded Olive oil essential and offered it to the goddess Athena (an olive tree).
During baptism in the Christian church, the holy oil that is used for anointment is often olive oil. The Christian missionaries carried the Olive tree with them to California.
The early kings of Greeks and Jews used Olive oil to anoint. As per The Greeks culture, the winning athletes were anointed with Olive oil. In some cultures, the dead are anointed with Olive oil.
Scientifically: Olive oil is high in monounsaturated oleic acid. It is also loaded with powerful antioxidants that are biologically active and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
Olive oil contains nutrients like oleic acid as well as the antioxidant oleocanthal that fight inflammation. Several studies demonstrate that people who consume Olive oil have a lower risk of stroke as it carries monosaturated fat. It lowers blood pressure, protects “bad” LDL cholesterol particles from oxidation and improves the function of blood vessels, hence beneficiary for heart health.
Olive oil may help remove beta-amyloid plaques from the brain that is the main cause of Alzheimer's. The Antioxidants in Olive Oil have anti-cancer properties.
Olive oil reduces joint pain and swelling from arthritis. It has antibacterial properties and has been found to be particularly effective against Helicobacter pylori, a type of bacterium that can cause stomach ulcers and stomach cancer.
When applied on the skin, it prevents premature aging. In a study, scientists applied Olive oil to the skin of mice that had been exposed to harmful ultraviolet rays. The results indicated that tumor growth was significantly lower in the mice that had olive oil on their skin paralleled with those who did not. Another study suggests this valuable oils ability to control bacteria on the skin.
The vitamins A, D, E, and K in Olive oil are beneficial for the skin. It works as a natural make-up remover and a moisturizer. When it is mixed with sea salt is an excellent chemical free exfoliator.
The antioxidants in Olive oil promote scalp health, it enhances the blood flow to the hair follicles doubling hair growth. In addition, it combats dandruff whilst softening your hair. This therapeutic oil is used to remove excess build-up of sebum.
Usage: Olive oil is an integral cooking oil in countries surrounding the Mediterranean. It is mostly used as a salad dressing. It is also used with foods to be eaten cold. Olive oil is prominently used for massaging infants and toddlers.
Olive oil is also a natural and safe lubricant that can be used to lubricate kitchen machinery. Some cosmetics also use Olive oil as their base. It is often used as a substitute for machine oil. The cosmetic industry has been using this humble oil in various skin and hair care range.
Below are some DIY masks with Olive oil:
- Take 1 Tablespoon of Olive oil, 1 tablespoon of warm honey and 1 egg (beaten). Whisk it all together until it is emulsified. Apply the face mask on your face. Wash it off after 15-20 minutes.
- Take a tablespoon of warm olive oil and apply on the scalp. This helps in promoting hair growth.
- After taking a shower, apply a few drops of olive oil on the body and massage it. This keeps the body moisturized throughout the day.
- Apply some olive oil on the cuticles to improve the nail health.
- Take 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 3 tablespoons of yogurt. Mix them together and apply on the hair. This makes hair smooth and frizz free.
- Take a tablespoon of olive oil and one teaspoon of lemon juice. Mix them with a pinch of sea salt. Gently massage your face with this concoction. Leave it on for 5-7 minutes and then rinse. This helps in improving the skin texture and delays the signs of aging