- History of Olive Oil
- Benefits of Olive Oil
- Cultivating Quality Olive Oil
- Extracting Olive Oil
- Uses of Olive Oil
- Olive Oil Varieties
- Contraindications for Olive Oil
- Referred to as “liquid gold” by the Greek poet Homer, Olive Oil was so respected that the cutting down of Olive trees was punishable by death, according to the 6th and 7th century B.C. Greek Laws of Solon.
- The Greeks began using Olive Oil in their religious practices as well as for culinary, cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and lighting purposes.
- The Greek name for the Olive tree was likely borrowed from the Semitic-Phoenician word “el'yon,” meaning “superior,” which was likely used in the context of comparing it with other vegetable or animal fats available at the time.
- The Romans developed the screw-press method of Olive Oil extraction, which continues to be used in some parts of the world.
- Olive Oil has traditionally been used as an antibacterial agent, a cleanser, a moisturizer, and a massage oil.
HISTORY OF OLIVE OIL
According to Greek mythology, the goddess Athena offered Greece the gift of the Olive tree, which the Greeks preferred over the offering of Poseidon, which was a salt water spring gushing out of a cliff. Believing that Olive Oil was essential, they began using it in their religious practices as well as for culinary, cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and lighting purposes. Olive Oil and the Olive tree have popular mention throughout religious scriptures and are often symbolic of divine blessings, peace, and offering an apology, hence the expression “extending an olive branch” as a way of conveying the desire for a truce. The cross-cultural symbol also represents beauty, strength, and prosperity.
Boasting a life span of up to 400 years, the Olive tree has been revered in the Mediterranean region for centuries. Although it is unclear where it originated, there is a belief that its cultivation began on Crete and other Greek islands around 5000 B.C.; however, the general consensus is that it originated in the Near East and, with the aid of the Egyptian, Phoenician, Greek, and Roman civilizations, its growth spread west toward the Mediterranean Sea.
In the 15th and 16th centuries, Olive trees were introduced to the West by Spanish and Portuguese explorers. In the late 18th century, Olive groves were established in California by Franciscan missionaries; however, the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, with their mild climates and ideal soils, continue to be the finest areas for nurturing Olive trees. Countries outside of the Mediterranean that are major producers of Olive Carrier Oil include Argentina, Chile, the Southwestern USA, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
Referred to as “liquid gold” by the Greek poet Homer, Olive Oil was so respected that the cutting down of Olive trees was punishable by death, according to the 6th and 7th century B.C. Greek Laws of Solon. Being highly valued, King David’s Olive groves and his Olive Oil warehouses were guarded 24 hours a day. As the Roman Empire expanded throughout the Mediterranean region, Olive Oil became a major article of trade, leading the ancient world to experience unprecedented progress in commerce. According to the historical accounts of Pliny the Elder, by the 1st century A.D. Italy had “excellent Olive Oil at reasonable prices — the best in the Mediterranean.”
The Romans used Olive Oil as a body moisturizer after bathing and would give gifts of Olive Oil for celebrations. They developed the screw-press method of extraction for Olive Oil, which continues to be used in some parts of the world. The Spartans as well as other Greeks moisturized with Olive Oil at the gymnasia, in order to accentuate the muscular forms of their bodies. Greek athletes also received massages that used Olive Carrier Oil, as it would avert sports injuries, release muscle tension, and reduce the buildup of lactic acid. Egyptians used it as an antibacterial agent, a cleanser, and a moisturizer for skin.
It is believed that the significant contribution of the Olive tree is evident in its Greek name, which is thought to be borrowed from the Semitic-Phoenician word “el'yon” meaning “superior.” This was a term used throughout the trade networks, most likely when comparing Olive Oil to other vegetable or animal fats available at the time.
BENEFITS OF OLIVE OIL
The main chemical constituents of Olive Carrier Oil are: Oleic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Linolenic Acid, Polyphenols, Vitamin E, Carotenoids, and Squalene.
OLEIC ACIDS (OMEGA 9) are known to:
- Maintain the softness, suppleness, and radiance of skin and hair
- Stimulate the growth of thicker, longer, and stronger hair
- Reduce the appearance of aging, such as premature wrinkles and fine lines
- Eliminate dandruff and thereby support hair growth
- Boost immunity
- Exhibit antioxidant properties
- Prevent joint inflammation, stiffness, and pain
LINOLEIC ACIDS (OMEGA 6) are known to:
- Moisturize hair and promote its growth
- Facilitate wound healing
- Be an effective emulsifier in the formulation of soaps and quick-drying oils
- Exhibit anti-inflammatory properties
- Soothe acne and reduce chances of future outbreaks
- Promote moisture retention in skin and hair
- Make oils feel thinner in consistency when used in an oil blend, thus being beneficial for use on acne-prone skin
PALMITIC ACID is known to:
- Have emollient properties
- Soften hair without leaving a greasy or sticky residue
- Be the most common saturated fatty acid
STEARIC ACID is known to:
- Have cleansing properties that purge dirt, sweat and excess sebum from hair and skin
- Be an ideal emulsifying agent that binds water and oil
- Help products remain potent when stored for long periods of time
- Condition and protect hair from damage without diminishing luster or making it feel heavy
- Have exceptional cleansing properties
- Soften skin
LINOLENIC ACID (OMEGA 3) is known to:
- Lessen inflammation
- Control blood clotting on the skin
- Soothe joint pain and ease stiffness to improve flexibility
POLYPHENOLS are known to:
- Contribute scent and antioxidant properties to Coconut Oil
- Soothe inflammation
- Repair dry, damaged skin
- Improve skin elasticity, especially for prematurely aging skin
- Enhance moisture levels in skin
- Protect skin against UV rays
- Enhance skin cell and hair growth
- Boost circulation to skin
VITAMIN E is known to:
- Exhibit anti-oxidant activity
- Delay the appearance of aging
- Repair and improve the appearance of damaged tissue such as scars, acne, and wrinkles
- Protect skin and hair against environmental toxins such as those found in air pollution
CAROTENOIDS are known to:
- Be antioxidant
- Prevent cellular damage
- Protect skin and hair against environmental toxins
- Repair skin damage and signs of aging caused by UV radiation, hormones, or acne
- Reduce hyperpigmentation caused by UV radiation, hormones, or acne
- Make skin appear to be exceptionally younger
- Stimulate the regeneration of skin
- Boost skin’s collagen and elastin production to increase thickness, elasticity, firmness, softness, and smoothness
- Hydrate skin by reducing water loss
SQUALENE is known to:
- Exhibit antioxidant properties that protect the body against the appearance of aging
- Be chemically similar to the sebum found in human skin
- Regulate the production of sebum
- Soften and protect the skin
- Have excellent moisturizing properties
The chemical composition of Olive Carrier Oil is dependent on the type and quality of the Olive fruit being pressed, the region in which the Olives are produced, the altitude, the weather during the growing season, time of harvest, and extraction process; however, the 3 main components of all types are Oleic Acid (up to 83%), Linoleic Acid (up to 21%), and Palmitic Acid (up to 20%).
Below, the differences between the varieties are outlined:
EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL: This variety is essentially natural olive juice. It is the least processed, as it is produced through cold-pressing and does not involve the use of chemicals to refine it. Due to the absence of high heat in this extraction method, the fatty acids and nutrients remain in the oil, allowing it to retain the highest amounts of natural components and their health benefits. Accordingly, this oil is of a premium standard. The “extra” in the name of this variety denotes that its quality is “above and beyond” that of other varieties.
VIRGIN OLIVE OIL: This variety is derived from the second pressing of the extra-virgin variety or from olives that are riper. Similar to the extra-virgin variety, Virgin Olive Carrier Oil is derived from the simple mechanical cold-pressed extraction of oil. The negative aspect of this variety is that it is generally made from a poorer quality of the Olive fruit.
ORDINARY VIRGIN OLIVE OIL: Like Virgin Olive Oil, this variety is derived from the Olive with the use of only mechanical means or other methods involving thermal conditions that do not alter the oil. It simply undergoes washing, decanting, centrifuging, and filtering. Oils derived by the use of solvents or re-esterification methods and oils that have been contaminated with oils from other sources are not categorized as Ordinary Virgin Olive Oil. Its Oleic Acid content is at a maximum level of 3.3%, making it of an inferior quality.
REFINED OLIVE OIL: This variety involves the use of chemical treatment wherein the acid content and undesirable traits such as strong scents are filtered out with the aid of chemicals or charcoal, which work to neutralize them. At EYO, the Refined Olive Oil does not undergo chemical treatment, but rather undergoes physical refinement only. Refined Olive Carrier Oil is sometimes labeled as ‘Pure Olive Oil’ or simply ‘Olive Oil.’
OLIVE POMACE OIL: This variety is derived from the pomace or the “mash” – the skins, pulp, seeds, and stems of the Olives – that remain after Virgin Oil has been obtained from the pulp of the Olive fruits. The oil that remains in this pomace is so slight that pressing the pomace will not yield a sufficient amount of oil, and it thus becomes necessary to use a combination of high heat and chemical solvents such as Hexane in order to extract it.
Used topically, Olive Carrier Oil can be applied in skincare for its ability to clean, moisturize, and eliminate bacteria by deeply penetrating pores without clogging them. In a massage, it can prevent sports injuries, relieve muscle aches and joint pain, and eliminate the buildup of lactic acid. Its antioxidant properties help prevent skin from showing signs of premature aging by restoring its smoothness, creating a protective barrier against harmful UV rays, and preventing skin damage caused by free radicals. Adding Olive Carrier Oil to abrasive ingredients can enhance their exfoliation properties to leave skin looking rejuvenated and radiant. Olive Carrier Oil’s purgative property makes it an effective makeup remover for even the most stubborn waterproof products. Its lubricating quality not only plumps the skin to make it smoother and softer, but it also makes Olive Carrier Oil an ideal substitute for shaving cream, as it allows for a closer, more refreshing shave. It can also be applied as an invigorating aftershave. It can be used in nail care to soften and moisturize the cuticles, and it can be used to create a natural facial mask. Those with acne-prone skin or with skin sensitivities such as dryness, inflammation, and itchiness can use Olive Oil to hydrate skin while eliminating and preventing acne-causing bacteria from forming. Used in hair, Olive Carrier Oil coats the hair shaft to protect it from environmental pollutants while repairing damage caused by heat and dyes. It leaves hair looking and feeling stronger, smoother, sleeker, and healthier.
Used medicinally, Olive Carrier Oil’s anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial phenols prevent skin from becoming inflamed or infected while impeding the growth of harmful bacteria. Soothing and healing, it offers relief to sore, dehydrated, bruised skin as well as joints and muscles affected by sprains or arthritis. It works to repair skin that is damaged by sunburns and enhances skin’s appearance to maintain a youthful, radiant complexion.
As illustrated, Olive Carrier Oil is reputed to have many therapeutic properties. The following highlights its many benefits and the kinds of activity it is believed to show:
- COSMETIC: Antioxidant, Emollient, Collagen Boosting, Skin Brightening, Cleansing
- MEDICINAL: Anti-inflammatory, Antibacterial, Detoxicant, Regulating, Stimulant
CULTIVATING AND HARVESTING QUALITY OLIVE OIL
Since the 8th millennium B.C., Olive trees have grown around the Mediterranean basin, the largest producers being Spain, Italy, and Greece. These evergreen trees have long lifespans and some have reportedly lived up to 1000 years.
Once an Olive tree bears a large crop of fruit, its depleted resources lead to a lighter crop the following year. For this reason, the trees are predisposed to alternate bearing, which allows the tree to produce shoot growth in one year followed by a heavy fruit load the next year. Although Olives are self-fruitful, meaning they pollinate themselves, the growth of their sets of fruits can be enhanced with the help of pollinator trees, especially in times of inclement weather.
Despite their modest needs for ideal growth – traditionally they were grown on steep hillsides or in areas with poor soil and a scarcity of water – Olive trees cannot tolerate much else in the way of rough growing conditions; their small branches can be damaged in temperatures below -5ᵒC (22ᵒ F) while large branches and trees will die, if exposed to temperatures below -9ᵒ C (15ᵒ F). Some varieties of Olive trees are more sensitive to the cold than others, but none of them are entirely resistant to cold temperatures. If kept in freezing temperatures before the harvest, the crop will be seriously damaged.
Olive trees can flourish in lean soil, that is soil with minimal amounts of nutrients, as well as in soil with adequate drainage. Though they can grow in a diverse range of soils with various pH levels that can fluctuate between 5 and 8.5, the optimal pH level is approximately 6.5. They will not thrive in deep, highly fertile soils, as this type of earth produces trees that are extremely robust, whereas Olive fruits require only moderately vigorous trees for optimum growth. Olive trees will die without proper drainage, as they cannot endure excessive moisture. Conversely, young trees require more water in order to reach full production in the shortest time possible.
During their blooming period, Olive trees require fairly dry conditions in order for their fruits to set well. Wet weather between the months of April and June can affect appropriate pollen distribution, as Olives are pollinated by the wind. For flower development, Olive trees do require some exposure to chilly temperatures below approximately 7ᵒ C (45ᵒ F), which is why Olives will not thrive in tropical or semi-tropical areas, as extreme heat will inhibit proper flower formation. The required chill temperatures differ depending on the variety.
The traditional method of cultivating Olives is through dry farming, which avoids the use of irrigation and is a technique commonly related to drylands. Alternatively, irrigation facilitates fruit-bearing much sooner; if irrigated, a tree can begin to bear fruit within 8-10 years rather than 20-30 years. Irrigation can also prevent the need for an alternate bearing. Table Olives, that is Olives meant to be eaten, require generous amounts of water to increase their fruit sizes, but Olives that are produced mainly for their oil benefit from lesser amounts of added water.
In mid- to late-October and sometimes past December, Olives can be harvested either manually, mechanically, or by a combination of both methods. Mechanical harvesting can be done with the aid of a trunk shaker, which secures its arms around the Olive tree’s trunk and shakes the tree to force it to shed its mature Olives, although Olives can be picked from trees at any stage of ripeness. All mature Olives turn black eventually, but being entirely green is also indicative of maturity. There is a vast spectrum of Olive Carrier Oil colors with most being a mixture of green and ripe Olives, and these are made from fruits that are harvested as they change colors. Ripe green olives can be picked at the stage of development when their juices change from clear to milky. Olives that are meant to be used for oil are usually left on the tree until they have undergone some degree of a change in color. Ripe black olives can be allowed to ripen on the tree, or they can be picked when green and allowed to turn black during processing. Greener Olives yield an oil that smells bitter, pungent, peppery, and herbaceous whereas riper Olives have a milder, buttery aroma.
The younger Olives must be manually beaten or raked to detach them from their branches, at which point they are caught in a net that looks like an inverted umbrella and prevents them from hitting the ground, which could affect their aroma. After landing on the net, they fall into a collection device. Though beating the fruits could cause them to become bruised and possibly oxidized, which could also affect the oil’s aroma, their oxidation is prevented when they are sent to the mill within an hour of being dislodged from their branches. Processing of the Olives ideally begins within 24 hours of the fruits leaving their trees, otherwise, they begin to deteriorate if left to sit in bins or piles past this period; they heat up and begin to decay, which causes a defect in the oil called “fustiness.” This makes the oil smell musty.
HOW IS OLIVE OIL EXTRACTED?
In the extraction process, the Olives first have their stems, leaves, twigs, and any remaining debris removed before they are washed to eliminate dirt and pesticides among any other contaminants. Next, they are ground to a paste or a “mash” with either a hammermill, a stone mill, or a metal tooth grinder. This tears the Olive flesh to make it easier for the vacuoles to release the oil.
The next step is malaxation, in which the paste is stirred slowly for up to 45 minutes inside a warmed tank. This crucial step allows the oil droplets to combine into bigger drops. Next, the oil is separated from the solid matter and the fruit water. Traditionally, this method involved smearing the Olive paste onto grass mats, stacking them on top of each other, and then pressing them to separate the liquids from the solids, hence the terms “first press” and “cold press.” The modern method uses a centrifugal decanter, which rapidly spins and thereby separates the oil from the solids and the water. A second centrifuge removes any remaining impurities from the oil. Before being bottled, the oil is left to settle inside tanks or barrels. This is called “racking,” and it allows gravity to do one final separation, if necessary. Lastly, the resultant oil can be filtered further; however, this step is optional.
As with all other carrier oils, Olive Oil will deteriorate with age and when exposed to heat, air, and light. For longevity, it should be stored in a dark glass bottle away from light. The oil’s polyphenol content also largely contributes to its shelf life, as a higher level of these constituents makes the oil more stable with their antioxidant properties. Oils derived from Olives that have been harvested earlier will have a higher level of these components and will thus last for approximately 2 years. An oil made of Olives picked in a late harvest, will have a lower polyphenol content that will cause it to undergo rancidity sooner. If it remains unopened and well-stored, it can last for up to 1 year.
To further refine Olive Carrier Oil, it can be processed to reduce its acidity with the use of caustic soda or by steam processing. The oil can be bleached with either diatomaceous earth, activated carbon, or a synthetic silica treatment to reduce chlorophyll, carotenoids, residual fatty acids, and pesticides. Processing the oil with activated carbon removes or reduces odors.
USES OF OLIVE OIL
The uses of Olive Carrier Oil are abundant, ranging from medicinal to cosmetic. Its many forms include oils, gels, lotions, soaps, shampoos, and candle making.
Used topically, Olive Carrier Oil can be applied directly to the skin or a few drops can be added to a moisturizer of personal preference to hydrate the skin and boost the effectiveness of the moisturizer. Skin that is dry, irritated, or inflamed will benefit from Olive Oil’s soothing properties. A small amount of Organic Olive Carrier Oil applied to the face and neck makes an ideal bedtime serum. For a daytime serum, Olive Oil can be applied like a mask and left on the skin for 15 minutes before it is washed off. This moisturizer is also beneficial for use on skin that has been overexposed to the sun or even sunburned.
For an effective shaving cream and aftershave substitute, Olive Carrier Oil can be applied to the skin before and after a close shave. On the face, Olive Oil gently removes makeup by attaching itself to other oil-based products on the skin to wash them away along with dirt, pollutants, and blackheads. For a mini steam facial, Olive Carrier Oil can be combined with equal parts of Castor Oil, rubbed onto the face, and rinsed with a warm cloth to cleanse the pores. To remove makeup naturally while softening the skin, pour 1 or 2 drops of Extra Virgin Olive Oil onto a cotton pad and swipe it across the face, applying gentle pressure. This is reputed to remove even the most stubborn makeup. Olive Carrier Oil can also be applied as a pre-cleanser, then washed off with warm water and a face wash of personal preference.
To exfoliate the skin with Olive Carrier Oil, it can be mixed with a small amount of natural sea salt and massaged into areas of skin that are dry and scaly to reveal a newer, younger complexion. For an alternative to salt, sugar can be mixed with Olive Oil and rubbed into the skin. The sugar will remove dead skin cells while the oil will penetrate the skin to leave it looking polished and radiant.
Used in hair, Olive Carrier Oil smooths frizz and split ends while reducing dandruff. For a hair treatment mask, Olive Oil can be mixed with an egg yolk and a small amount of lemon juice before being applied to the hair from root to tip. After leaving it on for 15 minutes and washing it out with shampoo and conditioner, hair will be soft, silky, and lustrous. Alternatively, the Olive Carrier Oil mask can be applied directly without the addition of an egg yolk and lemon juice by simply heating the oil and leaving it in the hair for an hour before shampooing and conditioning.
Used on the nails, Olive Carrier Oil keeps cuticles supple to prevent them from drying and cracking, which allows bacteria and fungus to form under the nail. A single drop applied to the cuticles before bed will keep them healthy and hydrated while facilitating the growth of stronger nails. Nails can also soak in gently heated Olive Carrier Oil for up to 20 minutes twice a week to enhance their strength and gloss.
For all-over relief, Extra Virgin Olive Oil can be added to a warm bath to repair the skin, boost elasticity, and slow the look of aging with its antioxidant properties. Alternatively, Olive Carrier Oil can be massaged into the skin just before the body is immersed in a warm bath. Skin will look and feel softer and smoother. For a body lotion to use after bathing, Olive Oil can be applied all over the body while skin is still moist.
A GUIDE TO OLIVE OIL VARIETIES & THEIR BENEFITS
|OLIVE VARIETY & BOTANICAL NAME||COUNTRY OF ORIGIN||BENEFITS OF OIL|
Olive Carrier Oil - Pomace Grade
Olive Carrier Oil – Refined
Olive Carrier Oil (Extra Virgin)
Olive Organic Carrier Oil (Extra Virgin)
CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR OLIVE OIL
As with all other Essentially You Oils products, carrier oils are for external use only. For those with sensitive skin or conditions such as dermatitis, Olive Carrier Oil might not be the ideal choice of carrier oil, as it could worsen the condition. It is highly recommended that a skin patch test be conducted with a dime sized amount of oil on a small area of the inner arm to check for allergic reactions before applying it to more sensitive areas such as the face. An absence of an allergic response within 48 hours indicates that the oil is safe to use.
Using Olive Carrier Oil on infants should be avoided entirely, as studies have shown that natural oils such as Olive Oil may contribute to the development of eczema, especially in individuals with a family history of the skin condition. Those with asthma, atopic dermatitis, or hay fever should also avoid using Olive Oil, as there is a higher than usual chance of experiencing an allergic reaction.
Due to the heaviness of Olive Carrier Oil, it is recommended that any excess oil be wiped off of the skin after application in order to avoid clogging pores and trapping bacteria.
IMPORTANT: All Essentially You Oils products are for external use only unless otherwise indicated. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, and it should not be used by anyone who is pregnant or under the care of a medical practitioner. See Disclaimer.