Olive Information, Uses and Health Benefits

olive benefits

The botanical name of Olive is Olea europea, which means “European olive”. Olive word is derived from Latin oliva. It is a species of family Oleaceae. It is small plant found in the Mediterranean Basin. It is found from Portugal to the Levant, the Arabian Peninsula and southern Asia as far east as China. It is also found in Argentina Saudi Arabia, Java, Norfolk Island, California, and Bermuda.

Another variety, known as Olea europeana sylvestris is a subspecies which is a small tree bearing similar fruit.  Olive fruit is obtained from olive tree. It is one of the core ingredients in Mediterranean food.

Olive tree is an evergreen tree or shrub. It is short mainly 8-15 m or 26-49 ft in height. It is small white feathery flowers. Its fruit is small 1-2.5 cm long. Olives are harvested in the green to purple stage. It is seen that canned black olives are artificially blackened. It may contain a chemical ferrous gluconate to improve its appearance.

Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Clade: Angiosperms
  • Clade: Eudicots
  • Clade: Asterids
  • Order: Lamiales
  • Family: Oleaceae
  • Genus: Olea
  • Species: O. europaea.

 Olives Which Are Used by Us

Green olives which are picked when they are of full size, but before the ripening begun. They are green and yellow in colour.

Semiripe or turning colour olives are gathered before the beginning of the ripening cycle. Its colour change began from green to multicolour shades from red to brown.

Black olives or ripe olives are collected at full maturity when fully ripe. They are purple to brown or black in colour.

Olive oil is a part of Mediterranean diet. Through research it was found out that the Mediterranean diet is related to low rates of conditions like Cardiovascular disease. It protects against certain types of cancers. It increases life expectancy.

Types of Olive Oil

Olive oil is classified, in part, according to acid content, measured as free oleic acid.

It is produced by crushing olive fruit.

It is said that this oil should not be used by heat and other chemical as it affects the quality of the oil.

Varieties of Olive Oil

Extra virgin

It is considered to be higher quality. It is prepared from first of pressing olives. The oil is extracted by the traditional cold-pressing method. In this method no chemicals and only a small amount of heat is applied. It contains a maximum of 1% free oleic acid.


In this type of oil is produced from second pressing of olives. It is also extracted from the second-best grade of olives by cold pressing, without use of chemicals and use of little heat. It contains 2% free oleic acid. This type of olive oil is most useful as it contains polyphenols.

Olive oil

It is also marketed as “pure” olive oil. This is non-virgin type. It is a commercial type of olive oil. It is considered to be pure olive oil as it consists only olive oil. It is a inferior oil as it obtained as a result of subsequent pressings after virgin oil has been extracted. It is obtained from lower-quality olives. Oil is then undergoing a refining process which involves heat, chemical solvents, high pressure and filtration treatment. Oil so obtained is then mixed with a small quantity of virgin olive oil to restore colour and flavour.

Light and extra light

It is obtained from the last pressing of olives. It is of lower quality than other grades. It has very less amount of natural olive flavour and colour.

Refined olive oil

It is produced from a low-quality olive oil that undergoes a refining process that removes most of the free fatty acids. It is tasteless, colourless and odour less.

  • Light olive oil refers to refined olive oil.
  • Ordinary olive oil contains 3.3 % free oleic acid.
  • Unrefined olive oils with more than 3.3% free oleic acid are considered “unfit for human consumption.

Common Uses of Olive Oil

  • It is considered to be as “cleanser” or “purifier” as it boosts healthy bacteria in our intestines.
  • It is used as a cooking and salad oil.
  • It is used as ear wax.
  • It is used in pain in ears.
  • It is used stretch marks due to pregnancy.
  • It is used to make soaps and commercial plasters.
  • It is used to treat jaundice, intestinal gas and swelling of the abdomen due to gas.
  • It protects the skin from ultraviolet damage after sun exposure.
  • Olive oil which mixed with ozone is known ozonated olive oil. It is used from been stings and insect bites. It is also used in skin infections.

Olive Tree Leaf is used in following conditions:

Olive leaf is used for treating viral, bacterial and various infections including influenza, swine flu, common cold, meningitis, Epstein-Barr virus, encephalitis, herpes, shingles, HIV/ARC/AIDS and Hepatitis B.

  • Bacterial infections in blood stream
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Dengue
  • Fever
  • Gonorrhoea
  • Infections following surgery
  • Infections in the teeth, ears and urinary tract
  • Malaria
  • Pneumonia
  • Severe diarrhoea
  • Tuberculosis
  • Water extracts of olive fruit pulp are used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis

Health Benefits of Olive Oil

Adding generous amounts of extra virgin olive oil to the diet and continuing with the usual treatments for high blood pressure can improve blood pressure over 6 months in people with high blood pressure. In some cases, people with mild to moderate high blood pressure can actually lower their dose of blood pressure medication or even stop taking medication altogether.

  • If a person takes olive oil daily for 2 months, it reduces the frequency and severity of migraine headaches.
  • It acts as anti-oxidant and prevents oxidative damage.
  • It helps in platelet activation.
  • It helps to reduce total cholesterol levels in people with high cholesterol.
  • It increases high density lipoprotein (HDL).
  • It is effective to reduce pain in children to ear infections.
  • It is effective when used to soften earwax.

It is said that adding olive oil to the diet seems to prevent a first heart attack. Some research shows a high dietary intake of olive oil (54 grams/day; about 4 tablespoons) can reduced the risk of first heart attack by 82% when compared with a low intake of 7 grams of olive oil or less per day.  Including 1 litre per week of extra-virgin olive oil in a Mediterranean diet for around 5 years also seems to help prevent heart attacks and strokes in people over age 55 who have diabetes.

It is said that applying a mixture of honey, beeswax and olive oil on skin improves red itchy skin in eczema.

It is said that use of olive oil can reduce risk of hardening of the arteries in people with diabetes.

It is suggested that women who consume more olive oil in their diet have lower risk of developing ovarian cancer.

It prevents against various disease like blood pressure, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis and immune function.

It prevents us from various kind of cancers like breast, colon, lung, ovarian and skin cancer. It consists a compound known as phenolics. It prevents against free radicals and prevents oxidative damage.

It reduces chances of heart disease by decreases the level of triglycerides, total and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.

Research suggest that it is useful in treatment for ringworm, jock itch, yeast infection of skin.

When taking olive oil by mouth is effective for reducing constipation.

According to research amount of olive oil to be used


30 ml of olive oil is used for constipation.

Hypertension, heart diseases

  • 30-40 grams per day of extra virgin olive should be used for high blood pressure.
  • 400 mg of olive leaf extract 4 times daily can be used for high blood pressure.
  • 54 grams per day (about 4 tablespoons) should be used for preventing heart disease and heart attacks.

Tips to Retain Quality of Olive Oil

  • Always keep it in dark as light will decrease the quality of olive oil. Keep in cool and dark place.
  • Fresher the oil, the better it tastes. The flavour and nutritional value will decline over time.
  • Once opened, make sure the container is sealed properly after use to reduce the chance of oxidation.
  • Store it properly. Always buy olive oil in dark glass bottles or tin. It should be kept in mind that once opened store the oil properly.

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