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Olive Tree

Olea europaea

When Hercules returned to Greece from the Northern countries after completing his labors, he brought with him the wild olive tree and planted it in Olympia. From this tree, the Greeks made the wreaths for the winners of the Olympic Games.

The bat he was holding was a wild olive tree that grew on a coast of the Attica. When he went to Troezen and found in front of the statue of Hermes, leaned his club to the statue and that sprouted and grown root. When Pausanias found in Troezen, reports that he saw the wild olive tree that had sprouted from Hercules bat.


Another Hercules, Kouretis or Idaios, brought the wild olive from the North or from his native Crete and was first planted it in Olympia. Hercules Idaios, had four younger brother, Paionaios Iasis, Epimidis and Idas and their five a day raced for fun in Olympia. This was the first race ever and the winner crowned with a branch of olive tree that had been planted there by the older brother. Since then winners of the Olympic Games are crowned with wild olive.


Aristaios was the son of Apollo and Cyrene, daughter of Ipseas, king of the Lapiths. Born in Libya and given by Hermes to Gaia and the Hours to raise him. When raised, the Muses, trusted him to graze their flocks in Fthia and the taught him divination and medicine. Nymphs, taught him to cultivate the vine and the olive, beekeeping and cheese making. He was a famous healer and expert in dealing with epidemics.

Aristaios taught the arts to humans and spread the olive. He traveled to Greece, went to Arcadia, Crete and the Cyclades. Diodorus Siculus recounts over Aristeos from Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily. There, he honored and worshiped as a god protector of farmers and growers.


Anios, son of Dionysus and Ariadne, when the descendants of Minos distributed Cyclades, became the lord of the sacred island Delos. From Dorippi acquired three daughters, Oenoforos, Elais, Oino and Spermo whom their grandfather Dionysos endowed each one with a unique gift: "create oil, wine, and wheat from the land". When the Achaeans in their return from Troy, stoped in Delos, they wanted to steal Oenoforos. Dionysus to protect her, transformed the three girls in pigeons so, their arts spread throughout the world.


Athena and Poseidon claimed for the protection and name of Athens and King Cecrops invited them to compete, setting their judges ten other Olympians.

Neptune first, gave the rock a blow with his trident from which sprang seawater, forming a small salt lake, the "Erechthida" sea.

Athena planted an olive tree on the barren rock, which flared and filled olives, taught them the cultivation of olive tree and they in gratitude, gave her name to the city. This sacred tree was preserved for many years later, although when in 480 BC the Persians conquered Athens burned it, but the other day one, sprouted again to live even several centuries until the late Roman period.


Olive is the foundation of the Mediterranean cultures, symbol of wisdom, peace, fertility, prosperity, victory. In the Old Testament, a dove brought Noah an olive branch to show him that the flood is over.

All peoples have a place for it in their mythology. From Isis, Prometheus, Astarte, Zeus, all major Mediterranean gods are mythological related with Elia.


It's first growers believed were the Sumerians in 5000 BC and the Phoenicians were those who trafficked and spread it to the Mediterranean countries. In ancient Egypt they used it in the mixture of embalming the dead.


Dioscorides, Diocles, Anaxagoras, Empedocles extensively studied the medicinal properties of olive. Aristotle wrote about the science of oil production. Solon legislated the prohibition of cutting more than two trees a year from the Athenian olive groves to protect olive.


Hippocrates recommends after a painful miscarriage a rub with olive oil. He also proposes coating of clothes with olive oil for preventive and therapeutic purposes.

• The first official report on the use of olive leafs in medicine comes from 1854, in the Pharmaceutical Journal review, stating a simple recipe for the aqueous extract of olive leaves as an antipyretic.


• Since the beginning of the 20th century, we can find several references in the literature on the effect of olive leaves. In particular, it indicates the antioxidant, antimicrobial, antihypertensive, vasodilator and hypoglycemic activity of leaf extract.


• Clinical data on the use of olive leaves in the treatment of hypertension are from the 1950s.


• During the last 40 years, pharmaceutical formulations based on olive leaves are widely marketed in Germany with evidence in support of the cardiovascular function, stabilized sugar levels, the regulation of cholesterol and to protect vessels from atherosclerotic plaques.


• It has mild diuretic action, useful in cases of fluid retention and premenstrual syndrome. Auxiliary regulate kidney function, patented by Greek researchers to the European Medicines Agency, from 2011, while French researchers characterize olive leaf as important antipyretic and antibiotic.


• The simultaneous presence of oleuropein with vitamin E present in abundance in olive leaf (double that available in a comparable amount of sesame oil), inhibits platelet aggregation, contributing significantly to addressing cardiovascular events and prevent dangerous clots.


• In the United States and Japan, olive leaves have decades of approval of Medicines Agencies for their use in pharmaceutical formulations.


• Extract of olive leaves and oleuropein has been found to have potent bactericidal activity against many pathogens including influenza virus, herpes, fungi, and bacteria, and contribute to the overall strengthening of the immune system.

In the form of the extract is used in traditional medicine as antineoplastics.

• Nevertheless, scientific research is in progress to find the antioxidant activity of the phenolic compounds contained in olive leaves. "Already, there are research data on the oleuropein, an antioxidant found in the leaves and fruit of the olive tree and in which owe their bitter taste and hydroxytyrosol. These substances, known for their antioxidant properties, are those that give the tree a great resistance to insects and bacteria.

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