olive tree fruits

Facts about olives

Facts About olives

The olive tree has been mentioned as being a holy tree across several religions, ancient myths and stories. Its precious fruit and magnificent oil are known, esteemed and used for its multitude of benefits as a food and in skin treatments the world over. This majestic evergreen tree has a positive and valuable impact on human health and overall well-being.

olive oil * olive origin: Mediterranean region * olive plant * oil production * skin care * olive oil properties * Hydroxytyrosol * Linoleic acid * Vitamin E * Chlorophyll * Vitamin A * Omega 3 * Oleocantha

The origin of the olive tree is not clearly identifiable, but the eastern Mediterranean is often cited as its motherland. However wherever its origins may lie, the Mediterranean region is certainly the home of the olive tree, since by far the largest percentage of the 850 million olive trees worldwide are rooted in its soil. Additionally, the first recorded mention of the olive in antiquity were found on clay tablets close to the city of Aleppo, Syria.

Today, the main producers of olive oil are Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Portugal, in addition to Syria, Tunisia and Morocco. The aforementioned countries produce over 95% of the world’s “liquid gold”. The climate of these countries lends itself well to the olive tree’s growth. The trees adore the typically dry summers and mild, humid winters of the Mediterranean basin.

In order for an olive tree to bear fruit, it takes about 10 years; however, under suitable conditions, an olive tree may grow to be several hundred years old.

A grown olive tree can produce 50-70 kg of fruit from which the oil is then extracted. The fruits harvested from a single tree can produce 5-10 litres of oil. The harvest usually takes place from the beginning of autumn until January of the following year, depending on the geographic location, variety of olive and weather.

THE ORIGIN OF THE OLIVE

Olive trees have been cultivated for over 5,000 years, which makes it the oldest crop in the world. Olives and the oil they produce have developed their reputation over time and in different contexts.

 The important cultural role that the plant plays is reflected in history and mythology:

In Greek mythology, Athena, the goddess of wisdom wins the favour of the inhabitants of Attica by giving them an olive tree. Thus, she became the patron of Athens.

In various religions, the olive tree is considered sacred. For example, in the Torah the olive is referred to as one of the seven species that the Eternal promises would be found in Canaan. In the Old Testament, it says that Noah sent out a dove to cross the sea and find land. This dove then returned carrying an olive branch, thus proving the existence of land and symbolizing reconciliation with God. Also, in the Qur’an the olive tree is mentioned several times, oaths are found on the olive tree, and the oil of this blessed plant is described as being almost lightening without being lit.

It’s no wonder why the olive branch is a symbol of friendship and peace between nations.

The name of the olive plant comes from the latin, “oliva”, and thus 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 of its use in human agriculture and the use of olive oil follows the trees dispersion.

THE PRODUCTION OF OLIVE OIL

Olive oil production has not changed much over the centuries. Firstly, the leaves and other debris is removed from the harvested olives. Then, the harvest is washed before being crushed in a mill. The pits remain in the fruits throughout this process, rather than being removed. This process of roughly working the fruit is designed to open up the cells of the fruit, so that the oil can more easily escape the vacuoles. Next, the resulting pulp is distributed across grass mats. These mats are then piled atop one another and pressed. The liquid that is released during this step is then allowed to rest. This allows the oil to settle on the surface and be removed.

Today, another method may be used instead of the traditional pressing. In this method, after the olives are minced by the mill then are spun in a centrifuge. This spinning allows the oil to seperate itself more easily from the other ingredients.

PROPERTIES OF OLIVE OIL

Olive oil is excellent for skin care. Due to structural similarities between olive oil and human skin cells, the rich oil is able to be easily absorbed. This helps support healthy cell function and a good moisture balance, making the skin smooth and leaving a soft, tender, pleasant feeling.

While olive oil is not a sunscreen, it can aid in defending the skin from UV radiation and has  an anti-ageing effect. The application of olive oil to the skin immediately after sunbathing, may even reduce the risk of skin cancer thanks to its antioxidant properties.

The natural compounds found in olive oil have many benefits. The following substances are just some of the ingredients in this nutritious oil that have a great impact on the skin and body:

Hydroxytyrosol

Has antioxidant properties and shields the skin from oxidative influences, such as UV light, environmental influences and irritants.

Linoleic Acid

Helps reduce age spots. It counteracts skin irritation and light damage, as well as reducing the size of blackheads.

Vitamin E (Tocopherol)

Combines with free-radicals, thus rendering them harmless. Additionally, it aids cell renewal and is rejuvenating for the skin.

Chlorophyll

Helps the body with detoxification and the healing of wounds while also supporting cell regeneration.

Vitamin A

Present in olive oil in a mild, natural form. This helps tighten the skin and prevents excess sebum production.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids (Unsaturated fatty acids)

Slow down the aging process in human cells.

Oleocanthal

Discovered just 15 years ago, this ingredient of olive oil is said to have similar active components to the medicine “ibuprofen”.  It ensures inflammation mediation and platelet regeneration. Additionally,  Oleocanthal attacks and destroys cancer cells within 30 minutes. Its natural occurence in olive oil is harmless to the body.

For thousands of years, the olive has been cultivated not only has a nutritious food item, but also for its beneficial, nourishing and protective value in skin care. Keeping this well-tried tradition will keep skin shiny and healthy.

daphni and apollo myth mosaic

Daphni and Apolo Myth

Daphni and Apolo Myth

Daphni and Apolo

The stories of the Hellenistic and Roman authors of ancient times have inspired many artists today. One of the most popular stories that comes from Greek mythology is the myth of Daphne and Apollo.

Apollo was the Greek god of archery, medicine, music, art, poetry, and, of course, sound. It was also said that Apollo was a remarkable warrior. Apollo’s status as the god of archery led to conflict with the god of love, Cupid. Cupid believed that he himself should have been the patron of archery, due to his superior skill with the bow and arrow.

Apollo's love to Daphne
statue of Apollo and Daphne

In this myth, Apollo insults Cupid, who returns later to seek his revenge armed with two arrows: one made of gold that inspired love and one made of lead that inspired hatred. Cupid shoots Apollo with the golden arrows causing him to fall in love with a river nymph named Daphne. Daphne, on the other hand, is shot with the lead arrow, thus causing her to hate Apollo.

Despite Daphne’s hatred of him, Apollo’s love did not fade. In an effort to convince her of his love, he followed her, longing for her, but she continually rejected him and fled. Eventually, Cupid took pity on Apollo and intervened to help him catch up to Daphne, as the god, Apollo, was bound to her via the golden arrow and could not leave her be.  

In an effort to save herself Daphne called upon her father. “Help me, Peneus! Open the earth to enclose me, or change my form, which has brought me into this danger! Let me be free of this man from this moment forward!” And with Peneus answered her plea and “a heavy numbness seizes her limbs; her soft breasts were surrounded by a thin bark, her hair changed into the foliage, her forearms changed into branches; her foot, just now swift, now clinged because of sluggish roots.” She was turned into a noble laurel tree.

This, however, was still not enough to make Apollo’s love for her fade. He vowed still to honor Daphne forever.

“Always my hair will have you, my lyres will have you, my quivers will have you, laurel tree. You will be present to two Latin places when the happy voice will sing a triumph and they will visit the great ceremonies at the Capitoline Hill.”

Using his own godly powers of eternal youth and immortality, Apollo decided to render Daphne evergreen. And this is why the leaves of the bay laurel tree will never decay.

This myth shows the beauty and importance of the laurel tree in ancient history.

Additionally, it teaches us the delicate nature of the laurel and its importance.

This is the same way we should treat our body; using only the most natural products created out of the most natural and sustainable ingredients. Just like Apollo, we should love the laurel tree. And just like Daphne, we should use the delicate flower to treat ourselves in the best possible way.

Like in the old days, people still use laurel leaves (also known as bay leaves) for cooking. And we at Noble, produce and collect the best natural laurel oil from the fruits of the laurel tree in order to make our authentic range of natural handmade soap and other personal care products. With our products, we try to assure a rewarding personal care experience through a natural, sustainable cleansing treatment with love and appreciation for our bodies and for the environment. 

aleppo soap wall

Aleppo Soap

aleppo soap

More than 4,000 years ago, ancient Syrians began a practice that set the ground rule for beauty and hygiene products as we know them today: Aleppo soap. Even now, this great name stands for the very tradition of the original soap making procedure, as well as the outstanding refreshing, healing and cleansing properties found in its all-natural ingredients: olive oil, laurel oil and water.

Aleppo soap * Ghar * olive oil soap * laurel oil * natural soap * handmade soap * soap bar * hand soap * hands and body wash * soap manufacture * skin and soap * beneficial herbal soaps

Natural soap that is handmade from olive and laurel oils is called “Ghar”. Its history traces back to the Syrian city of Aleppo. This is why it is known internationally as “Aleppo soap”. Aleppo soap is considered to be the forefather of all hard bar soaps which exist today in their many different forms and varieties throughout the world.

“Ghar” has been a vegan product since it’s development and has had a striking cultural impact as a natural antibacterial soap, thanks to it’s herbal oils.

  The traditional manufacturing of this product remained in Aleppo and its surrounding , as well as areas with significant olive cultivation. Although discovered around 2,400 BC, this all-natural soap is still made in the same style, using that have barely changed since the very beginning. Soap-making is a skilled and deep-rooted craft that is dependent upon its quality ingredients, expert artisans and extreme attentiveness during the phases of production in order to manufacture quality soap.

Both in antiquity and today, Aleppo soap is made from natural components which take care of the skin and keep it in balance. The pure oils act beneficially on sensitive and weary skin and thereby this soap is suited for use as a soft cleanser even on damaged skin or by those suffering from conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

PREPERATION

soap-stamping-scaled

The production of Aleppo soap is limited to the cold months from December to March, after the olive harvest. It is still made in the same simple way that it always was; by cooking the olive oil and adding the desired amount of laurel oil. The amount of laurel oil will later determine the value and price of the soap. The quality, however, depends on all of the ingredients collectively, as well as, the manufacturing process.

In more detail, the procedure is as follows:

  1. Olive oil is poured into a special vessel and mixed with sodium carbonate. The sodium carbonate originates from certain desert plants. This mixture is then heated to almost 200℃. Continuous movement allows from the breaking down of the oil and the release of the glycerin. This process is called saponification and happens prior to the laurel oil being added.
  2. Subsequently, the mixture is poured into a basin where it is left to chill and harden, in order for the soap’s elements to properly bond together. When the basins are newly filled with the liquid, shiny, silky soap, they are reminiscent of swimming pools full of sappy green.
  3. Once the soap is congealed and becomes more firm, it is cut by hand with special tools. Now, each individual bar of soap receives a signet by hand with a metal stamp. Now the soap bars are ready to be stored to dry.
  4. The bars are stacked, one over the other, always leaving space between ear bar to encourage air circulation throughout the chamber so that each piece of soap dries well on all sides. This process takes 8 to 12 months.

As a natural bar soap, the color will begin to gradually change from an intense grassy green to a light yellow and then a golden brown. The inside of the soap, however, remains green. The thickness of the yellow surface indicates the age of the soap. Cutting the soap with reveal its age and original color.

ALEPPO SOAP BENEFITS

aleepo soap, noble soap co

Aleppo soap is nourishing, refreshing and protective for skin of all ages and various characteristics. That is why the number of people interested in Aleppo soap has been growing around the globe. The soap may be use for hands or body wash, in addition to facial cleansing. As well, it may be used in the shower in place of a shower gel or even shampoo. It is also a good addition to a hammam or sauna since it is a multipurpose cleanser suited for sensitive skin and skin conditions like dandruff, eczema, fungal infections and blemishes.

Aleppo soap helps with its pure herbal oils:

Laurel oil is known for its antiseptic qualities. All skin types benefit from its refreshing  effect and its natural ability to activate blood circulation. It also aids with the healing of wounds and has antifungal properties in the case of damaged skin.

Olive oil softens and protects the skin while providing penetrating moisture due to its large amount of natural glycerin. At the same time, olive oil has the ability to protect the skin from outside influences, even sunlight. Olive oil also contains many antioxidants which help the skin detox and supports cell regeneration keeping the skin young and fresh.

Overall, this totally natural soap can be used by all regardless of age or skin type, which explains its popularity. Even when used with very hard water, Aleppo soap is extremely effective in its cleansing capabilities.

ADVANTAGES OF NOBLE ALEPPO SOAP

On our skin there are many microscopic beneficial bacteria  that are vitall for our health. Our skin provides an ideal environment for the reproduction of these microbes. In turn, these microbes protect the skin from foreign influences, which is why they are called beneficial bacteria. As well, beneficial bacteria strengthen and promote our epidermal immune system by provoking an immune reaction while being all-in-all harmless to our bodies.

By washing our skin with aggressive cleaning agents, we not only remove all kinds of germs from the skin, but we also disturb the natural acidic nature of the skin which had been promoting the growth of the resident helpful germs. Since the nutrient source of the beneficial bacteria has been disturbed, it is difficult for them to recolonise and protect the skin from harmful germs.

Speaking about Noble Aleppo Soap Benefits should start by addressing the fact that Noble Aleppo soap Contains and only olive and laurel oils besides to water and according to the aunitic production ritual of Aleppo city any other use for any other vegetable oil is considered to be out of the tradition production ritual.

Nevertheless when using vegetable oils for washing, bacteria will still be washed off, but the oily acids of the herbal oils will be beneficial for the regrowth of beneficial microbes as the herbal oils are a good food source for these crucial bacterial so that the microorganisms can quickly multiply and coverthe skin, thus helping the skin to regain its natural mild acidity.

And when using Noble Aleppo Soap we are treating the skin with the nutritious olive oil that support healthy skin cell function and a good moisture balance, making the skin smooth with a soft, tender, pleasant feeling. And the laurel oil will be the the refresher and the natural anti bacterial cleanser.

kurier Image founder

The soap maker in Vienna

The soap maker in Vienna

kurier Image founder

In an Interview with Kurier dated back in 2016, Mr. Nabil Andoura the founder of Noble Soap Co. speaks about the beauty of Damascus and his 20 years journey in the natural Aleppo soap Production, following an old family tradition in soap manufacturing, and speaks about war and how hard the decision of leaving was.. Today they the family of Noble Soap are taking new steps in rebuilding their Business from the stylish city of Vienna where this interview looks place.

https://kurier.at/wirtschaft/karriere/der-seifenmacher-aus-dem-krieg/190.005.649

Laurel-Fruits-noblesoap.com

About The Laurel

About The Laurel

Laurel Fruits, noblesoap.com

The laurel tree can be found throughout the Mediterranean, colonizing coastal shores and bringing together the essence of the sun and salt with its rich, eucalyptus-fresh fragrance. Not only does laurel add flavor to soups, but it has also been recognized and used as a strong medicinal plant for thousands of years. Its oil promotes circulation and is an anti-inflammatory agent.

Since the dawn of civilization, laurel has been perceived as a “noble” plant and its oil as a “magic” oil. Old stories speak the glories of famous women, like Cleopatra and Queen Zenobia, who used laurel oil to keep their hairy shiny and how laurel leaf smoke was used to enhance magic formulas and purify the body. The laurel tree has been admired since antiquity, occupying a semi-mystical position in Greek life and mythology. And, as at the end of battles, a laurel leaf was placed on the brow of the winner of the Olympic Games as a symbol of victory and glory, which gave origin to the expression “winning one’s laurels”. Not only athletes and warriors were worthy of laurel. Laurel was also placed on the heads of poets and even Zeus, the chief Greek god, was always crowned with laurel. Those are just a few examples among many demonstrating the importance of the plant. As a modern example, the word “baccalaureate” (from which bachelor derives) means “laurel berry”. 

laurel tree

The burning of laurel leaves was commonly thought to purify, bless, and protect spaces from negative influences — a practice that can still be observed during religious and spiritual occasions today. Bay, as laurel is also known, was generally thought to sharpen the mind, however, excessive use could cause changes of consciousness. Moreover, the Oracle of Delphi, sitting in her sanctum, would munch a few leaves before she began to give her prophecies.

 Today, it is known that laurel has a strong anti-inflammatory effect and that its fragrance is concentration-enhancing. It is also said to promote patience and self-control and is, therefore, known as a “diplomatic agent”.

Bay leaves are also a common flavoring, especially in Mediterranean cuisine, where it is used in soups, stews, sauces, pickles, and many fish dishes. French cooking cannot be conceived of without a trace of laurel, which is also one of the main ingredients in the “bouquet garni”.

Leaves and berries of the wild-grown plant have been chiefly used in the past and are still used today is dried form or processed into an oil. 

THE ORIGIN OF THE BAY TREE

Western Asia is pinpointed as the origin of this evergreen plant. From there it spread throughout the entire Mediterranean region and to other parts of Europe. This shrub is also found in the mountainous north-west of North American, where it found its home in parts of the the moist forests.

It is unclear where its botanical name, Laurus, comes from, but its name in ancient Greek, “daphne”, shows a clear connection to the mth of the nymph, Daphne, who turns into a bay tree. The nymph begs her father to transform her body, which he then enchants into a tree. The reason for her request is to escape continuous harassment from Apollo who has fallen in desperate love with her after being struck by Eros’ (Cupid’s) arrow. After Daphne turned into a laurel, Apollo, filled with grief, began to wear a wreath of bay leaves as a sign of his unrequited love.

This legend has produced some of the finest Greek sculptures of the nymph, being half laurel. Additionally, the names give to the bay tree in Hebrew, Turkish, Albanian, Bulgarian and Romanian are notably similar to the name used in old and new Greek (“daphne”/”dafni”) and thus all make reference to the Greek myth about this nymph.

THE PLANT

Laurel Plant

The laurel shrub thrives best in lime and nutrient-rich soil; preferring a sunny spot to grow, but being sensitive to strong winds and frost.

Under natural conditions, the plant may grow to be 12m high and 10m wide. Its leaves are hard, leathery and curled at the edge. When the leaves are rubbed or broken they give off a fragrance that is particular to the laurel.

The laurel is a dioecious plant, meaning that each plant has only female or only male flowers. It blooms in spring, often around mid-April and has white to yellowish blossoms. However, berries are produced exclusively by female plants. The olive-like fruit grows in clusters, is black to blue in colour with one large pit in the center, and is harvested in autumn (November to mid-December). Since only the female plants produce berries, the yield of fruit is quite low.

THE PRODUCTION OF LAUREL OIL

Laurel oil (oleum lauri) is made from the berries of the female shrub. The process of oil extraction is complicated and done by hand, following a traditional procedure that has been passed down from one generation to the next.

The first step is to harvest the berries from the wild shrubs by hand. In order to release the precious oil, which is hidden in the fruit’s pit, the berries are heated in a very small amount of water — as little as possible–. This heating causes the pits shell to break so that the oil is set free. This particular moment can be recognized due to the sound made by the pits splitting open. In order to collect the laurel oil, a large amount of water has to be added to the berries right as the oil is released. The recently released laurel oil settles on the surface of the water from which it is collected. The oil has a thick texture and is dark green to brown in colour.

The yields are not very high with 10kg of fruit producing only 600-1000 ml of oil. This is what increases the value of laurel oil.

PROPERTIES OF LAUREL OIL

Laurel oil has an intense fragrance that is reminiscent of eucalyptus.  It has various effects on the human body including stimulation of blood circulation and wound healing, in addition to its exhilarant, anticonvulsant, digestive and diuretic properties.

 Due to its olfactory intensity, it is also used as a repellent against insects and some parasites. Additionally, the oil is used to free the airways and strengthen the immune system.

 The purifying effect, which has been attributed to laurel oil for thousands of years, still holds true today. The natural oil is said to have a strong antiseptic effect and is often used in cases of fungal infection and superficial inflammation. Even eczema can be treated with this noble oil that cleans and heals the damaged skin in a natural way.

Laurel oil is also used for medicinal purposes. It can be found in use for bruises, sprains, hematomas and rheumatic issues. Also, it is very helpful for aching joints and muscles.

Moreover, laurel oil has a notable impact when used as an ingredient in cosmetics with which hyperfunction of the sebaceous glands can be regulated. Thanks to its balancing character as well as its anti-inflammatory abilities, laurel oil helps treat blemished skin and acne.  Dandruff may also be diminished by the inhibition of sebum overproduction. Additionally, the oil’s general enhancement of blood circulation acts positively on dandruff reduction.

The bay tree is glorious and extensive in its applications. With its versatile benefits, it is an old-fashioned, yet undoubtedly modern personal care product. Indulge and crown your body with laurel for a healthy and nourishing experience.