What is olive oil?
There are several benefits to using olive oil – you can use it for your hair, skin, health, and even for religious practices. This article is here to provide a source of information about olive oil and its various applications.
Olive oil is the by-product of the olive fruit. It is grown mostly in a Mediterranean type weather. It is used a lot by Greeks and Italian – both in their cuisine as well as in their hygienic practices.
According to Wikipedia:
“Olive oil is a liquid fat obtained from olives (the fruit of Olea europaea; family Oleaceae), a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin. The oil is produced by pressing whole olives. It is commonly used in cooking, whether for frying or as a salad dressing. It is also used in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and soaps, and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps, and has additional uses in some religions. It is associated with the “Mediterranean diet” for its possible health benefits. The olive is one of three core food plants in Mediterranean cuisine; the other two are wheat and grapes.”
Grades of olive oil
There are various grades associated with olive oil:
- Virgin – this means that the oil was produced by using a mechanical method which did not involve any chemical processing. This refers to all terms such as extra virgin, virgin, ordinary virgin, and lampante virgin olive oil products. It must be noted that lampante virgin oil is not for human consumption unless further refined.
- Extra Virgin – is olive oil which is made from virgin oil processes and is of a higher quality and it contains no more than 0.8% free acidity.
- Refined – means that the olive oil is refined from any method which does not alter the initial glyceridic structure of the oil. In refining the oil, the process removes its color, odor, and flavor, resulting in a very pure form of olive oil that is tasteless, colorless, and odorless, as well as low in free fatty acids.
- Crude – crude olive-pomace oil – this is obtained when the olive pomace (leftover paste after pressing the olives) is treated with solvents or other physical treatments. The result is further refined and re-blended with virgin olive oil and the by-product is called Olive Pomace Oil.
Benefits of Olive Oil
Using Olive Oil for the Skin
One of the most often raved benefits of olive oil is its moisturizing property. It makes your skin supple and soft. You can apply olive oil without any additional product as a natural moisturizer for especially dry skin. You can also combine the oil with other oils, essential oils, according to your personal preference.
One of my personal favorites is Whipped Shea Butter
The ingredients are whipped together after allowing them to liquify at room temp or slight heating (in a warm water bath) a few seconds (in the microwave oven on low heat) before whipping. Once whipped, you then put in the freezer for about 15-20 mins, allowing the mixture to harden a bit.
The mix is then whipped for at least another 20 minutes until it is fluffy and has the appearance of a meringue pie. You can then bottle in clean glass jars and enjoy at least for a few months until you make the next batch. This is whipped shea butter which I lavish on my skin all over, including my hair.
Using Olive Oil for the Hair
As stated above, olive oil makes a great:
- moisturizer – for one’s body all over. I use it in my whipped shea butter mix and apply it as moisturizer and sealant to my hair.
- Pre-poo product – I also use olive oil as a pre-poo product. You simply apply some olive oil to dry or damp (using a spray bottle filled with water) hair, and then covering the hair with a plastic cap for an hour or maybe overnight. I would then co-wash my hair after this step.
- Rinse agent – I would sometimes use oil olive as an oil rinse to further soften and moisturize my hair. After this step, I do not rinse the oil off, unless it is excessive. I continue styling as usual. It helps to keep the cuticles closed and makes your hair shiny.
- Leave-in conditioner – as a leave-in conditioner, I simply add some olive oil to my favorite conditioner, mix with some water, then apply as a leave-in.
Using Olive Oil for Health
Anything in its natural form is a great addition to the interior health of the body. Olive oil is one oil that is touted to be the best for many culinary uses:
- Salad dressing – a simple salad dressing made using olive oil, apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar, a dollop of mustard, salt and pepper to taste, and this will provide you with a simple vinaigrette dressing for any healthy salad.
- Butter substitute – simply adding some olive oil on your bread while eating it, is a much healthier option than using butter. If you even add some salt and pepper on top of your bread, along with a glass of red wine, I think you will enjoy your bread even more!
- As a diluting agent – you can add a tablespoon of olive oil before eating as a coating for the lining of your stomach. This is said to help people with reflux acid. The coating before eating helps the other foods to minimizes the acidic effect that is sometimes produced once all the enzymes get together inside your body
Olive oil has also been said to help in helping certain health issues such as:
- breast cancer prevention
- strengthen bones
- aids in weight loss, and
- aid in constipation
Of course, you should do a thorough research before implementing any use of olive oil for these issues by consulting with your medical authority.
Using Olive Oil for Religious practices
In days gone by, the lowly olive oil was associated with healing, strength, and often used in consecration.
It was used in religious practices by Minoans. They often associated olive oil with wealth as well.
In Judaism, the olive oil is the only fuel allowed to be used in the seven-branched Menora in the earlier times and continues in current times. It was also used for anointing spiritual leaders.
In Christianity, the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican churches use olive oil for the Oil of Catechumens (used to bless and strengthen those preparing for Baptism) and Oil of the Sick (used to confer the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick or Unction).
My final thoughts
I simply love olive oil because of its versatility in providing such goodness to the body on the inside and on the outside. If there is something that I may have left out in this article, I would love your feedback.