What was the olive oil used for?

This post is about different uses of olive oil. As everybody knows olive oil is really tasty and it has a wide use to prepare delicious recipes. But apart from this, it has numerous positive attributes that make the olive oil a multifunctional product.

The olive tree has always been considered as a sacred tree and popular beliefs have endowed olive oil with healing, restoring and anti-inflammatory properties. Nowadays the properties of olive oil have been more than scientifically proven and it is used to make all kinds of skin products, moisturizers, exfoliants, cleansers, tonics, soaps and makeup.

Archeology has found evidence of the use of cosmetics in Ancient Egypt, about 4,000 BC. It is believed that the first cosmetics were moisturizing oils that were used as protection from the sun. Also, ancient hunters used vegetable oils to make themselves up and mimic the environment when stalking their prey.

The Mesopotamians used mainly oils for purification ritual where the goal was to create an environment in contact with the gods. In Egypt, priests were responsible for making and distributing perfumed oils, which confirms the magical-religious-medicinal importance of the oils, and the olive oil was among the most appreciated. They used it to clean pores of the skin, to prevent the appearance of wrinkles, to moisturize the skin, to give shine to the hair, etc.

The Assyrians, the Sumerians, the Babylonians, the Egyptians, the Greeks, and the Romans, in addition to using ointments for purification rituals, they used them for their hygienic practices.

In the Odyssey you can also find that olive oil was used for stiffening, smearing the thread in order to give luster, firmness, and polish to the fabrics.

Also, we should not forget that the very origins of medicine are mainly based on the use of ointments on the body and the drinking of concoctions. And these ointments were often made with olive oil. Doctors recommended olive oil to soothe colic, treat ulcers and reduce fever.

In lighting also its use was very widespread because it had a low percentage of water and burned very well. The lamps were filled with the worst quality olive oils and a strip of linen or papyrus was used as a wick. It is also known that the instruments of Jewish temples were anointed with olive oil. The Temple lamp was lit using olive oil, and it was a custom in the synagogues to donate “olive oil to light”.

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Olive oil has always been present in our culture, in our daily life since ancient times, offering us multiple uses and that is why for us it has so much value.

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