Extra Virgin Olive Oil
The olive tree (Olea europaea) is part of a large family, which includes Jasmine and Lilac. The tree has a thick trunk and gnarled, grey bark. It can grow fairly tall, but they are often pruned to a shorter height for ease of harvesting. The leaves of the tree have silvery grey undersides and are used for teas, decoctions and extracts.
The word ‘olive’ can be traced back to many ancient languages, its current forms rooted in Latin (oliva) and Greek (elaia). Olive trees are native to the Mediterranean region, Asia Minor and Syria, and can live for thousands of years.
The commercial producers of olive oil today are Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Tunisia and Australia. Harvesting usually involves shaking the fruits from the trees using poles, after which the best olives are selected and processed. Though laborious compared to mechanical labour, hand harvesting remains the popular method.
Extra virgin preserves the most flavour and nutrients and that beautifully green tint. Other grades include virgin, pure, 100% olive and others.
Olives and olive oil have been proven to have anti-tumour action and to protect against cancer. Olive leaf has also been discovered to contain similarly potent anti-cancer properties. Consumption of olive oil has been shown to regulate levels of bad cholesterol and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
The oil’s active ingredients are vitamin E (a fat soluble antioxidant), oleic acid (omega 9 monounsaturated fatty acid), hydroxytyrosol (plant polyphenol) and Squalene (an organic compound found in human sebum).
Hydroxytyrosol is a plant polyphenol found abundantly in olives and olive oil. It is thought to be one of the most powerful antioxidants in the world; some would say it claims the top spot! Squalene is often isolated from shark liver oil and used as a valued ingredient in many modern creams and ointments. Olives are one of the best alternative botanical sources, as they contain unusually high levels of the substance.
The oil’s composition makes it ideally suited to shield skin from free radical activity. It can help prevent discolouration and damage. Extra virgin olive oil is used in our Marilyn hair product, helping to increase the tensile strength of hair and gently treating the scalp.
Our Gorgeous face moisturiser has a high content of extra virgin olive oil, adding to the perfectly balanced formula of easily absorbed, yet nutritious ingredients. Dream Cream is rich in extra virgin olive oil, creating a non-greasy formula to care for your skin.
Extra virgin olive oil, which retains most of the active and health promoting properties, is used in our Lip Service lip balms with other tasty ingredients to make our balms lip-smackingly delicious and good for your pout, too.