SCIENTIFIC NAME: OLEA EUROPAEA (OLEACEAE)

It is now thought that the leaves of olive trees are the most highly concentrated with active nutrients compared to the rest of the plant, so we will focus on olive leaf as well as [extra-virgin] olive oil – the benefits are similar.

NUTRIENTS

  • Vitamin E, K,
  • Healthy balance of Omega 3 and 6 (8:1)
  • Powerful antioxidants (eg. oleoropein, oleocanthal)
  • Monounsaturated fatty acids (eg. oleic acid, palmitoleic acid)

HEALTH BENEFITS

  • Cardiovascular support: the fatty acids help decrease bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase good cholesterol (HDL) in the blood. Maintaining healthy blood is great for preventing coronary artery disease and strokes.
  • Neuroprotection: helps fight against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease by protecting the central nervous system and brain
  • Immune system support: helps fight illness incl. viruses,
  • Antifungal and anti-bacterial: helps fight infections esp. in the ear, urinary tract, as well as preventing against skin, nail, and hair infection.
  • Cancer preventative: studies have shown that oleuropein can reduce tumor growth esp. in the breasts, bladder, and brain.
  • Increased energy levels
  • Anti-inflammatory properties: helps eliminate pain from arthritis
  • Stabilizes blood sugar levels: eg. for diabetes
  • The powerful antioxidants help fight against cancer, inflammation, coronary artery disease, degenerative nerve disease, diabetes, etc.
  • Antiatherogenic: (atherogenic is the formation of fatty plaques in the arteries)
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Supports strong bones: stimulates development of osteoblasts (the bone building cells)
  • Improves the function of the circulatory system
  • Improves balance of fats within the blood
  • Protective on the digestive tract
  • Useful for dry skin
  • Improves absorption of calcium and magnesium

COOKING TIPS

With a smoke point at about 450 degrees F, it is recommended to not bring it up to this temperature, as that is when the oil is destroyed nutritionally, and can develop unhealthy components.

QUICK REMEDIES

*Tip: herbal remedies are often more effective when smaller doses are taken more frequently throughout the day, rather than larger doses once or twice per day.

  • Olive leaf capsules: these can be taken by themselves when you’re experiencing a cold, flu, even strep throat. There are claims that when taken over the course of one year may cure herpes (people have gone from breaking out every month, to not at all).
  • Acne: mix 1 cup of olive oil with 10 drops of essential lavender oil and massage your face with it daily.
  • Treat gallstones: take in teaspoon doses olive oil mixed with lemon juice throughout the day each day until healed
  • Stretch marks: mix 1 Tbsp olive oil with 1 Tbsp of wheat germ. Massage over stretch marks each day until improved, but you must be consistent!
  • Constipation: 2 Tbsp of olive oil in the morning before eating each day until cured.
  • Hair loss: massage scalp with olive oil and cover with a towel for two hours, then wash with shampoo and water. The oil helps to relax the hair follicles and increase blood flow.

HOW TO GROW

PLANTING

Olive trees do better in warmer climates (zone 8 or better) and will die if temperatures can freeze where you are. They can survive in a pot indoors for a short time, but don’t thrive very well this way. If you do choose to do this, there are dwarf varieties that may do better.

  • At least 6 hours of direct sunlight
  • Well drained soil or a sandy mix
  • Fertilize with a basic fertilizer 1x per month in the cold months, 2x per month in the warm months

CARE

Indoor trees may catch a bug called scale which can be taken care of with an insecticidal soap.

To actually produce fruit, the tree will need a drop and rise in daily temperature, and 2 months of temperatures below 50 degrees F.

If planting outdoors, you will achieve a larger harvest by planting a second tree nearby for cross-pollination (not necessary for a successful crop however).

Between moving it indoors and outdoors, try to let it acclimate slowly to the changing light levels by putting it in shade for a week.

Repot after about a year, one size up. Feel free to prune as needed to keep the size you like, and keep the center open so the whole thing can get air and light.

If you can plant it in the ground, when it starts to flower, fertilize about every month going by the directions on the package.