Olive Oil Overview
What are the benefits of olive oil for your skin?? I used to use olive oil every night before going to sleep. Then, I felt I had to use more fancy moisturizers because of the beauty industry, but is this true? I use olive oil on my hair once a week though, and it has proven itself to be one of the best oils for my hair.
Today I want to explore the history, origins, olive oil in mythology and benefits on olive oil. If you’d like you can jump directly to the benefits section. However, if you are interested in reading about the use of olive oil in ancient times, the history of it and expansion then go ahead and read through the whole article.
People from different places have been using olive oil for centuries as it proved itself by providing people with different benefits for their hair and skin. Olive oil isn’t only one of the healthiest oils to cook with, but it’s also one of the best oils you can use in your hair and skin care routine
Let’s explore the benefits of olive oil for skin together.
Many researchers have been trying to find the origins of olives. However, turns out the origins aren’t super precise. Most people think that olives originated in the Mediterranean but some research shows that the actual origin of wild olive trees is Syria or Sub-Sahara Africa.
Olive trees did thrive in the Mediterranean though. And some researchers believe it was domesticated in the Mediterranean 8000 to 6000 years ago.
In 2013, Scientists found the earliest known remains of olive oil in Ein Zippori, Israel. They were widening the road when they found an Early Chalcolithic site. The scientists found pottery shards that contain some of the oil. They have not yet decided what species of olives were used as there is much debate among archeologists. Also, its not clear when exactly olive oil was known and used in the Levant region. The oil that scientists found are very similar to the oil we produce today.
Olive trees are tricky to grow, if you grow olive trees by planting the seed it could take 10 to 16 years to bear the olives, and it does not resemble closely to its mother tree. So, researchers believe that people grew olive trees by vegetative propagation. They also believe Olive oil became popular when vegetative propagation became a popular way of planting.
Vegetative propagation is when you plant a fragment of the mother plant to make a new plant.
Olive oil became the liquid Gold of the era. Ancient documents show that it was 5 times more expensive than wine in Syria. And two and a half times more expensive than other seed oils.
It also was an important export product in Greece between 1450 and 1150 BC. They traded with the Phoenicians often. The oil continued to get a lot of attention and was very important even when the Romans conquered Egypt, Asia Minor and Greece. Trade started to increase and so did the cultivation of olives.
Researchers believe that in those times olives were put in woven mats and squeezed to extract the oil.
In ancient times, people considered olive oil as a symbol of wealth, victory, wisdom, and peace. And it was very important in art, culture, trade, and economy. Olives and their oil were very important in the daily life of people who lived in the Mediterranean.
Olive trees in mythology and the benefits of olive oil
In Greek Mythology, Athena the goddess of Wisdom and Poseidon the god of the sea had a contest. Whoever won the contest would become the protector of the newly built city in Attica. People would name the city after the goddess or god who won. The contest was about giving people the most divine, precious and useful gift.
Poseidon struck a rock and water rushed out of it and a spring of salty water was formed. While Athena Struck a rock with her spear and formed an olive tree. The people chose Athena’s gift and named the city after her.
The first Olympic games started in 776 BC. Athletes who won the games would be given olive oil and a crown made from olive leaves.
Another Greek Myth talks about Hercules. Hercules killed the lion of Cithaeron by his own hands using a stake made from olive trees. He also used clubs made of olive trees to trap his enemies which he then killed with his bare hands. People associated olive trees with strength and power because of these popular stories.
In Roman Mythology, the story mirrors the Greek story. The goddess of wisdom Minerva and the god of water Neptune were in a contest of giving. Neptune gave them salty water while Minerva gave them the olive tree. The people chose the olive tree.
The romans improved olive farming, olive pressing and storage. The Roman empire expanded and spread olive cultivation throughout southern Europe. People valued the oil so much, they accepted it as a payment of taxes.
Olive trees and olive oil inspired so many different legends, traditions and cultural motifs. It became part of classical works of world art, literature and architecture that will inspire future generations.
The uses of olive in ancient times and the benefits of olive oil
People used olive oil in cooking, and they also used it for religious ceremonies, as a medicine and for cosmetic purposes.
In ancient Greece, people used olive oil in religious ceremonies on the Island of Crete. The Greeks also used it to anoint bodies before burial.
Jews considered this golden liquid of high status. When the Jews were trying to escape Egypt the only oil they could use to light the Menorah was olive oil. Nowadays people still prefer olive oil to light candles during Hanukkah.
In Israel kings were Anointed with olive oil. And in the Christian orthodox church the priest used this amazing oil to anoint leaders and kings and still does. While Catholics used olive oil in different ceremonies.
In Islam considers olives a blessed fruit. In one of Islams religious texts it says to eat olive oil and use it on the skin and hair as it comes from a blessed tree.
Hippocrates an ancient Greek physician mentioned more than 60 uses of olive oil in traditional medicine. He even called it “the great healer”.
Greek athletes applied the oil on their bodies before performing in sports or games.
Egyptians, Romans and Greeks used olive oil in their skin care.
Benefits of Olive oil for Skin
Olives are rich in vitamins including vitamin E, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin K and antioxidants. Studies link olive oil to its anti-aging properties, anti-inflammatory properties and its skin conditioning properties. You can use it on its own or in soaps and lotions, Meaning you do not need to put olive oil directly on your skin to enjoy its benefits, but you can also enjoy the benefits of virgin olive oil by using products containing it as a main ingredient.
Soaps made with olive oil help in cleansing and removing any makeup and sunscreen traces as olive oil can breakdown the makeup and sunscreen particles.
Olive oil helps lock in moisture and is rich in fatty acid such as oleic acid, palmitic acid , and linoleic acid. So, it helps treat dry skin as well as sensitive skin. Additionally, it softens the skin and gives it a smooth look and feel.
Polyphenol is a compound that has anti-inflammatory properties. Olive oil contains polyphenol, meaning when you use it directly or in products, it can act as an anti-inflammatory ingredient. If you experience inflammation after shaving, using a soap with olive oil can help fight the inflammation.
We can’t forget to mention one of the most important benefits of olive oil. Olive oil has antioxidants that help fight against skin damage from UV light, and free radicals. This means it may help fight against premature aging.
If you suffer from an uneven skin tone olive oil could help. It stimulates circulation and gets rid of toxins so it can help boost the quality and health of your skin.
After exploring the history, origins, myths and benefits associated with olive oil. We can see how important it is in forming our history. We can also see how beneficial olive oil is in our skincare routine due of its amazing properties. Olive oil is great for every skin type.
If you are interested, you can read about the benefits of coconut oil for your skin here!
We make our liquid hand soap using organic extra virgin olive oil as one of the main ingredients.
You can also check our other natural soaps here!