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Olive Oil
 

Most Americans are unaware that fresh olives are poisonous. They must be cured in order to be safely ingested. Today olives are an ancillary part of the average American diet, though they were once the economic foundation upon which ancient civilizations thrived. The ancient Greeks would judge a civilization on it's competence in it's cultivation of olives. They thought it had magical qualities, not only as a food or medicine , but also as an emollient that athletes would rub all over their bodies.

Starting in about the 5th century B.C. olive oil cultivation really began to flourish. Demand grew as more and more uses were found for the versatile olive. . It's value as an agricultural product was unmatched in the ancient world.


There are biblical references to olive oil as well. King David had guards protecting olive groves and warehouses filled with this precious commodity.

These ancient trees thrived on rocky Greek fields where other crops struggled to survive. So precious were the trees in ancient Greece that one could be condemned to death for cutting down a tree. It was the staple trading commodity of the time and special ships were built exclusively to transport it throughout the Mediterranean.

Culturally olive braches were paced in the home to ward off evil spirits. Olive leaves were worn to bring luck and prosperity to the wearer. When consumed they were believed to ensure fertility in women and sexual potentency in men Some of its uses included mixing it with other herbs to produce both medicines and cosmetics. Typically fennel, sesame, celery, water, cress, mint, sage, rose and juniper were used in the manufacturing of these compound products.

Ancient soap makers discovered when olive oil was mixed with lye induced waters from volcanic streams, it produced soapy bubbles and the origins of olive oil soap were formed. Through trial and error over the centuries olive oil was shown to make an excellent soap. Olive oil is rich in vitamin e which is a natural protector of the skin. Olive oil in handmade soap has a natural ability to mix with water and go deeply into the pores of your skin to give a wonderful cleansing that rarely happens with other soap.


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