The Olive tree was mentioned as a holy tree in several religions, ancient myths and stories. Its precious fruit and magnificent oil are worldwide known, esteemed and used for its broad benefits in food and skin treatment. This majestic evergreen tree has a great positive, valuable impact on human health and overall being.
The origin of the olive tree is not clearly identified, but the east Mediterranean area is often described as her motherland. However, the Mediterranean region is certainly the home of the olive tree since the far largest number of the 850 million trees worldwide root in its soil. And the first records about the olive were found on clay tablets close to the city of Aleppo, Syria.
Today the main olive oil producing countries are Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Portugal, besides to Syria, Tunisia and Morocco. Mentioned countries produce over 95% of the world’s “golden liquid” fabrication. The climate of those countries is beneficial for its growth: the olive tree adores the usually dry summers and mild, humid winters of the Mediterranean basin.
For the olive tree it takes about 10 years to bear its first fruits, but under suitable conditions, the plant will become several hundred years old.
A grown olive tree carries 50-70kg of fruits, from which the oil gets then extracted. The harvest of a tree makes up about 5-10 litres of oil. Time for harvesting is from the beginning of autumn to January of the following year, depending on geographic location, olive variety and weather.
THE ORIGIN OF THE OLIVE
The olive tree has been cultivated for about 5,000 years, what makes it the oldest crop in the world. It enjoys its reputation through time and in different contexts. The important cultural role of the plant is reflected in history and mythology:
In Greek history, Athena, the goddess of wisdom, wins the favour of the inhabitants of Attica by giving them an olive tree. Thus, she became the patron saint of Athens.
In various religions the olive tree is considered sacred. In the Torah for example, the olive is referred to as one of the 7 species that The Eternal promises to be found find in the Canaan. In the Old Testament it says, that Noah sends out a pigeon over the sea, which then brings an olive branch back, as proof of land and reconciliation with God. Also, in the Qur’an the olive tree where mentioned several times: oaths are found on the olive tree, and the oil of the blessed plant is described as almost lightning without being lit.
Thus, the Olive branch has been always understood as a symbol of peace and friendship between nations.
The name of the plant comes from the Latin (“Oliva”) and has the meaning “oil tree“.
It is conceivable that the tree was named after its precious potential since the olive was used for oil production right from the beginning and the tree’s dispersion went along with the spread of the oil.
THE PRODUCTION OF OLIVE OIL
The way of producing olive oil has not been changed much over the centuries by concept perspective. In a first step leaves and remaining debris gets removed from the olives. After, the harvest gets well washed before crushed in a mill. Kernels will remain in the fruits and not been taken out. This process of roughly shearing the crop is used to open the pulp cells of the fruits, so that the oil can escape more easily from the vacuoles. In the next step the resulting pulp is distributed onto grass mats. These mats are stockpiled on one another and pressed all together afterwards. The released liquid then is needed to rest, so that the oil settles to the surface and can be taken off.
Today, another method is often used instead of pressing: The olives (minced by the mill) are spined in a centrifuge, what allows separation of the oil from the remaining ingredients.
PROPERTIES OF OLIVE OIL
The olive oil is excellent for skin care. Due to the similar cell structure of olive oil and the skin, the rich oil gets absorbed well. It supports the healthy cell function and moisturizes, it makes the skin smooth and leaves a soft, tender, pleasant feeling.
Olive oil is not a sunscreen, but it defends the skin from UV radiation and has antiaging effects. Immediately after sunbathing, olive oil applied to the skin should even reduce the risk of skin cancer because of its antioxidative properties.
The natural compound of the olive oil has many beneficial effects. The here listed substances are some of the ingredients the nutritious oil carries and that have a great impact on the skin and the whole body:
has antioxidative properties and shields the skin from all oxidative influences, such as UV light, environmental influences or irritants.
can help to reduce age spots. It counteracts skin irritation and light damage, also it reduces the size of blackheads.
combines with free radicals and in this way makes them harmless. It provides cell renewal and thus is rejuvenating the skin.
helps the body with the detoxification and wound healing, it also supports cell regeneration.
is present in olive oil in a low and natural form; It tightens the skin and prevents excessive sebum production.
Omega 3 fatty acids
(unsaturated fatty acids)
slow down the aging process of human cells.
is an ingredient of olive oil, discovered just 15 years ago. It is said to have similar active ingredients as the medicine “ibuprofen”. It ensures the inflammation mediation and platelet regeneration. In addition, Oleocanthal attacks cancer cells and destroys them within 30 minutes. Its natural occurrence in olive oil is harmless to the body.
Thousands of years and the Olive is used for the production of its oil to benefit from its nourishing value as a highly protective skin care item besides to being a nutritive food element. And keeping this well-tried tradition will keep the skin shiny and healthy.