Olive oil has a wide range of medicinal properties. It is said that massaging the body with the oil helps heal hemorrhoids, ulcers, anal fissures, intestinal inflammations, and gastrointestinal tract ailments. It allegedly cures 70 diseases, including leprosy, pleurisy, cold, cough, and tuberculosis. Hippocrates mentions 60 conditions that could be treated with olive, including skin conditions, dental ailments, and gynecological ailments. It is regarded as an exhilarant that treats baldness, boils, digestion, and intestinal parasites. When mixed with common salt, it remedies oral diseases. Olive oil was used to treat wounds, according to Isaiah (1:6).
The olive leaf is commonly used by herbalists for its antiviral property. It is believed to lower blood pressure and to treat severe fever and tropical diseases such as malaria. Crushed olive leaves were believed to be effective on boils, rashes, itching, and other skin diseases. Today, the olive leaf extract is available from natural health practitioners and taken orally in a tablet form.
Olive oil is a key ingredient in many skin healthcare products because of its ability to moisturize and nourish dry skin, strengthen weak and brittle nails, and restore luster to the hair and scalp. Hydration with a warm compress of the oil imparts a healthy look to the skin. Fatty acids and phenolic compounds such as tocopherols help prevent skin damage and have an antioxidant effect. This has led to extensive use of oil in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. Olive oil is a popular carrier oil and blends well with essential oils.
Many traditional uses of olive have been validated by modern scientific research. The American and British pharmacopeias mention it. Numerous studies have indicated that the oil, which is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, can be used by hypertensive patients. Several studies have validated that olive oil consumption helps prevent heart attacks and other cardiovascular ailments. Fatty acids in the oil seem to decrease cholesterol levels and have an anti-inflammatory effect.
In a study by the New York University Langone Medical Center, 232 people aged 25–60 with high blood pressure were randomized to receive olive leave extract (500 mg, twice daily) or a commonly used antihypertensive medication called captopril (12.5 mg, twice daily) for eight weeks. Both treatment groups experienced similar reductions in blood pressure levels.
Animal studies also weakly suggest that olive leaf might help control blood sugar levels in diabetes and reduce symptoms of gout. Oxford University’s Institute of Health found that olive oil may protect against colorectal cancer (Stoneham et al., 2000).
Additional reading on Olive trees:
Holy Herbs: Modern Connections to Ancient Plants