In the lead up to Chanuka, the festival of light, the festival of oil, Sasson takes a look at some of the very special properties of the humble oil of the olive.
“But I am like a green olive tree in the house of G-d: I trust in the mercy of G-d for ever and ever.”(Psalms 52:8)
Olive trees and their precious oil are one of the 7 species of the land of Israel mentioned in the Bible. The oil was not only used for culinary purposes but was also used to oil the 7 branched menorah (candelabra) in the Temple in Jerusalem and to anoint the kings of Israel who were chosen by G-d to rule.
The olive tree olea europaea survived the flood in the time of Noah and the dove came back to the ark carrying an olive branch so that Noah knew that the flood waters had gone down. Olive trees have a very long lifespan. There are olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem that are thousands of years old.
Olive Oil for Beauty
If you regularly consume extra virgin olive oil, you will have healthy skin and beautiful hair. In fact wig makers claim the best hair comes from women living in countries where they consume a lot of olive oil. Olive oil is a major ingredient in soaps. shampoos and hair conditioners. The best shampoos for healthy hair usually contain olive oil and myrtle myrtus communis oil.
Protects the Heart and Blood Vessels
Olive oil is a most healing substance that protects against coronary heart disease by strengthening blood vessels and preventing arteriosclerosis. Mediterranean countries like Italy and Greece where olive oil makes up a major part of the diet have low rates of heart disease even in cases where blood cholesterol levels are not good.
If you are a smoker though the benefits of consuming extra virgin olive oil may be snuffed out by cigarettes.
Protects Against Stomach Ulcers, Gall Bladder Disease and Colorectal Cancer
Olive oil also helps to protect against stomach ulcers and the formation of gall stones. Studies have shown it can also protect against colorectal cancer.
If you want to stay healthy then use only extra virgin olive oil instead of butter or margarine on bead and on vegetables and for all your cooking purposes. Olive oil can also be used for frying but should be kept at a low temperature. You can start your day by dipping bread in olive oil. Crushed garlic or za’atar (a type of hyssop that grows wild in Israel) can be added to the oil.
Anti-Inflammatory Properties Similar to Ibuprofen
Massaging extra-virgin olive oil into the joints has been shown to relieve the pain and inflammation of arthritis. It contains an anti-inflammatory substance oleocanthal, that works in the same way as Ibuprofen, but without Ibuprofen’s dangerous side effects.
If you live In Israel and have olive trees, you can harvest them in the fall and take the olives to a place where they can be pressed to obtain oil. Olives from one whole tree may only produce one or two bottles of the rich oil on a first cold press.
About the author:
Born in London UK during the second world war and having lived in Canada and the USA, Jerusalem-based Sandra Josephine Levin is a writer, editor, blog writer and freelance journalist with BS degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She writes children’s books, plays and skits for children and has a drama and music background.
Sandra also studied herbal medicine for over 40 years and writes about alternative medicine, nutrition and wellness. Currently, she runs her own blog, Jerusalem Wildflowers, Herbs and Trees, at: http://homegarden2933.blogspot.co.il/