Olive, that tasty little item that we enjoy popping in our mouths at parties has many other uses, and in this article, we will explore some of them.
Historical record of the medicinal uses of this attractive tree has been confirmed back as far as the ancient Egyptians, and further. The Egyptians considered the branches a symbol of everlasting power and it has been discovered that olive oils were used in many mummifications of their leaders. The ancient Greeks used woven crowns of young olive branches to celebrate the winners of the first Olympic events. Mankind has cultivated the olive for at least 6000 years.
Medicinal Uses of Olive
Olive, known also by its Latin name of Olea europaea, has a myriad of medicinal uses, both the leaves and the oil. We will start with the leaf. It has been used since the times of the ancient Greeks to cleanse wounds. They are shown to be mildly diuretic, which can aid in treating gout, and research has shown that they have the ability to assist in lowering blood sugar levels, as well as effective in helping to lower high blood pressure. The leaves have been shown to have significant antimicrobial action, and are effective against many strong strains of fungi (which includes yeasts such as Candida), viruses and bacteria. Olive leaf extract has been shown effective in inhibiting the HIV virus, herpes viruses, and all flu viruses. It is applicable in any chronic infection situation. However, it is an herb that should be used under professional guidance if you have any of the immunodeficiency diseases, such as HIV+, AIDS, Lupus, etc. Olive leaf extract is generally considered to be a bit too strong to use internally during pregnancy or while nursing.
Olive leaf has been used for centuries to treat wounds, hemorrhoids, to cleanse the liver, to reduce fever, and as a general antiseptic. Some modern uses for olive leaf extract include treating chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, coughs, psoriasis, malaria, prostate difficulties, and parasites. It also treats things such as athlete's foot, botulism, encephalitis, lice, hepatitis, pneumonia, bladder infections, warts, and a long list of other afflictions, all related to the cause of bacteria, viruses, etc. Of course, in private clinical practice, it is being used to treat a wide variety of problems, either on its own or in association with other herbs, and these treatments are reported in many reports and books by professionals who are making use of it. Olive leaf is used in Bach flower remedies to treat those who are exhausted, either physically or emotionally.
It has been noted that for many people, olive leaf extract is so strong in its attack on internal invaders that it can cause several flu-like symptoms for a few days after the first doses. This is usually attributed to the die-off of the invaders, and after that initial period is over; the patient usually reports a rapid upswing in energy levels and over-all well being.
Oleuropein, one of the active constituents, has been shown in laboratory studies to be a very effective antioxidant that assists in recovering from arteriosclerosis, as well as enabling damaged tissue to better utilize vitamin E. Olive contains at least three other antioxidants: hydroxytyrosol, vanillic acid, and verbascoside. Lab work is also being done to test the effectiveness of both the extract and the oil in treating rheumatoid arthritis.
Much of the laboratory research and case study is being done with olive leaf extracts in Europe with very promising results, and hopefully one day soon our own researchers in the United States will be able to show our government agencies just how effective this plant is for healing or aiding in healing a wide variety of illnesses that plague mankind as new resistant viruses and bacteria are discovered.
The bark of the olive tree was used in ancient times to make an infusion to treat wounds.
Olive oil, cold pressed from the fruit, is used to improve the balances of fats in the blood, is protective to the digestive tract, soothes dry skin externally, and is a good carrier oil for any essential oil. It keeps the heart and arteries healthy and flexible, and regular use is shown to prevent a buildup of cholesterol in the arteries. As a monounsaturated fat, it helps lower the bad (LDL) cholesterol numbers. It has been used since Biblical times to keep skin soft and supple. Olive oil rubbed daily into patches of eczema, dandruff, and psoriasis can reduce itching and speed healing.
The oil is an excellent alternative to butter or margarines. A tasty way to use it is to infuse your favorite herbs and spices in it for a few days, and use that on your bread, salads, in sauces, etc. It should be used in place of any other oil in cooking for those with heart difficulties or cholesterol problems. Olive oil can be stored in a cool, dark cabinet for up to 6 months after opening, or up to a year if kept refrigerated after opening.
Spiritual Uses of Olive
Olive is the universal symbol of peace, and is associated in spiritual workings with bringing happiness, purity, and harmony. Olive was considered sacred to Athena, as she caused olive to spring from the ground at the foundation of her city, Athens, in Greece. Olive oil has been used for centuries to light lanterns in temples and churches of many different religions, and is used for anointing as well. It is also what the dove brought back to Noah to indicate that the floodwaters recorded in the Bible were receding. Moses referred to it as "the Tree of Life". Italians have been known to hang an olive branch over the doors of their homes to ward off evil.
Other Uses of Olive
Of course, most all of us are familiar with the fruit of the Olive tree. The green olives are the immature fruit, and the black olives are the fully ripe fruit. Both are delicious and have their own flavor. The richly grained and beautiful wood of the Olive is carved into many things, and is often used in fine cabinets and religious items.
The Olive tree is native to the regions of the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and southern Russia. It is now being cultivated in some South American countries, as well as in Australia and California. It needs a temperate climate to thrive. It grows to heights of 30 feet and is evergreen. The leaves are harvested all through the year, and the fruit ripens in late summer. They are relatively slow-growing, and there are some specimens in the world that are dated at near 1000 years old, because the tree itself contains compounds that make it extremely resistant to disease.
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants by Andrew Chevalier
Herbs of the Bible: 2000 Years of Plant Medicine by Dr. James A. Duke
A Modern Herbal by Mrs. M. Grieve
The Green Pharmacy by Dr. James A. Duke
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Natural Remedies by Dr. C. Norman Shealy
Prescription for Natural Healing by Phyllis A. and James F. Balch
Antimicrobial Attributes of Olive Leaf Extract, M. Walker in The Townsend Letter
Olive Leaf Extract by Dr. Morton Walker
Copyright 2001 by Rev. Dr. Lisa Waltz, ND, DD, CNC