Life and history of olive oil
There are quite a lot of civilizations that claim its discovery, associating the olive tree with fertility, victory, peace and eternity. All through the centuries several civilizations used olive oil not only as food, but also as a medicine. From ancient times, olive oil has been used in medical recipes: preparation of ointments, liniments, injections, etc.
It has also been used in natural beauty products: athletes in ancient times were already using olive oil to keep their muscles flexible and women made their bodies smoother, and they also made their hair brilliant. Present cosmetics use it for the preparation of creams and all kind of beauty products, including perfumes. Plinio, the Greek historian used olive oil as a recipe for longevity; in the Roman hot baths it was used for massages.
It was an essential element in the ointments of Eastern religions; and it is often mentioned in the Bible: Maria Magdalena honoured Jesus Christ by pouring oil over him; the good Samaritan used oil to relieve a man’s pain when he had been attacked by some thieves, holy oil was used to anoint kings, prophets, also altars and buildings, besides priests, popes and ill people. In present times, it is used in several Catholic religious ceremonies, including Baptism, Confirmation of the faith and Extreme unction.
Almost as late as at the end of the nineteenth century, oil was the main source of illumination in houses and cities; it is worth pointing out its use in the making of domestic soap, polish for furniture, a quick remedy for domestic burns and also as a laxative and a tonic. In the same way, it has been considered an effective remedy for poison, it decreases blood pressure and stimulates urine. If used with a great variety of medicinal plants, it can fight against several illnesses, such as asthma, stress, indigestion, influenza, poisoning, rheumatism, cholesterol, headaches or hypertension.