Alternative medicine: Olive
A diet rich in olive oil is effective in reducing weight, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and the risk of suffering heart failure.
Botanical: Olea europaea L.
Family: N.O. Oleaceae
Synonyms: Olea Oleaster. Olea lancifolia. Olea gallica. Olivier.
The olive is native to the Mediterranean region, tropical and central Asia, Chile and Peru, south Australia and various parts of Africa.
The olive tree is a small, evergreen tree, rarely exceeding 8 to 15 meters in height. It has pale grey bark and numerous small and creamy colored flowers.
The fruit is small, ovoid and filled with oil. It is a green drupe when unripe, and becomes blackish-purple when fully ripe. A few varieties are green when ripe and some turn a shade of copper brown. Olive oil ranges in color and flavor from green to gold and from very mild to very strong.
Part Used Medicinally:
Fruit, the oil of the fruit, leaves and bark.
Olives are a very good source of monounsaturated fats and Vitamin E.
Mannite is found in the green leaves and the unripe fruit.
Olive oil is rich in oleic acid, a monosaturated fatty acid, and phytochemicals oleurpein and hydrooxylorosol, potent anti oxidants.
The olive"s high content of monounsaturated fats and Vitamin E protects the cells from free radicals and therefore has anti-cancer and heart healthy properties.
Its anti-inflammatory properties help reduce the severity of asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
The vitamin E in olive helps reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flashes in menopause women.
Being rich in oleic acid, olive fights cancerous cells particularly breast tumor cells. It also contributes to the development of healthy brain and bones in children.
Olive contains many fenol-like substances, which are effective in preventing and treating thrombosis and arteriosclerosis.
Olive leaves are astringent and antiseptic. They are powerful herbal organic antioxidants.
Olive leaf extract is effective in skin care, fighting colds and the flu, boosting the immune system and energy, detoxifying and fighting infections, tackling chronic fatigue, certain viruses and herpes.
Olive leaves and bark have valuable febrifugal qualities.
Olive oil is a laxative and disperser of acids and a mechanical antidote for irritant poisons. It is often used in enemas. It also helps with abdominal chills, typhoid, scarlet fever and the plague.
Olive oil helps relieve pruritis, the effect of stings or burns and is a good hair-tonic.
Olive oil is the best of cooking oil and a valuable dietary item for individuals of all ages.
It also results in long-lasting weight loss compared to low-fat diets. Moderate amounts of olive oil can reduce abdominal fat when included in a diet high in vegetables.
A diet rich in olive oil lowers the risk of developing heart failure, as it prevents blood clot formation and platelet aggregation.
Regular consumption of olive oil lowers blood pressure and is also a good alternative in treating diabetes and delays the onset of the disease.
Olive oil has positive effects on the blood"s cholesterol and LDL levels. It reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and promotes longevity.
Olive oil plays a key role in fetal development during pregnancy. It also acts as a natural anti-oxidant and slows down the natural aging process.
It also contains a natural chemical that acts like a painkiller; 50 grams of extra-virgin olive oil is equivalent to one tenth of a dose of ibuprofen.
Olive oil protects against ulcers, gastritis and other gastrointestinal problems. It lowers the incidence of gallstone formation.
Olive oil has a protective effect on the development of colon cancer and tackles certain types of skin cancer.
Olive oil is extracted by pressing or crushing olives. Depending on its processing, its varieties consist of: Extra virgin (best quality, least processed from the first pressing of the olives), Virgin (from the second pressing), Pure (undergoes some processing, such as filtering and refining), Extra light (undergoes considerable processing and only retains a very mild olive flavor).
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By Patricia Khashayar, MD., Press TV, Tehran