Olea europaea Oleaceae
The olive tree is a plant that grows to about 10 meters with a grey twisted trunk. It has spear shaped leaves which are greyish green on top and silvery white on the bottom. Its white flowers grow in clusters, and its fruit (the olive) is oval shaped containing only one stone. The olive begins as a green fruit and ripens to black.
Evidence from Quran and Sunnah
The olive has been mentioned many times in the Qur’aan,it is one of the blessed foods of this world. From among the ayaat that mention the olive are the following:
"And it is He who produces Gardens trellised and untrellised, and datepalms, and crops of different shape and taste (its fruits and its seeds) and olives, and pomegranates, similar (in kind) and different (in taste). eat of their fruit when they ripen, but pay the due thereof (its Zakât, according to Allâh's orders 1/10th or 1/20th) on the Day of its harvest, and waste not by extravagance . Verily, He likes not Al-Musrifûn (those who waste by extravagance)" [6:141]
"And a tree (olive) that springs forth from Mount Sinai, that grows oil, and (it is a) relish for the eaters." [23:20]
"Allâh is the light of the heavens and the earth. the parable of his light is as (if there were) a niche and within it a lamp, the lamp is In glass, the glass as it were a brilliant star, lit from a blessed tree, an olive, neither of the east (i.e. neither it gets sun-rays Only In the morning) nor of the west (i.e. nor it gets sun-rays Only In the afternoon, but it is exposed to the sun All Day long), whose oil would almost glow forth (of itself), though no Fire touched it..." [24:35]
The olive has also been mentioned in theauthentic Sunnah:
On the authority of Abu Hurayrah, who said: that the Prophet (upon him be salah and salam) said: “Eat the olive and anoint (yourselves) with it, for indeed it is from a blessed tree.” Recorded by Tirmidhi 1853 and Ahmed 497/3.
This hadeeth has also been recorded by Haakim hadeeth #122/4 and Ibn Maajah hadeeth #3319 from Umar with slightly different wording.
All parts of the olive tree are used, its bark, its leaves, its fruit and its oil.
Olive leaves contain:
• secoiridoides (oleuropein in particular) which reduce blood pressure
Olive oil contains;
• Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids
• Vitamin E
Ibnu Qayyim said that olive is hot and wet in the first degree and that the quality of its oil depends on the tree that it is produced from, such that oil from unripe olives are cold and dry, while black olives produce hot and wet oil. He mentioned that olive oil is useful against poisons, loosens the bowel, ejects worms and strengthens the gums.
From amongst the other benefits of this blessed tree he mentioned was that olive oil mixed with salty water is useful against blisters resulting from a fire burn; and the olive leaves are useful against erysipelas (skin disease characterised by infection of the skin and underlying tissue), eczema, sores and urticaria (hives – elevated patches and severe itching caused by allergic reaction). Also all the types of olive oil soften the skin and slow down the aging process.
Studies carried out by Egyptian researchers in 2002 found that olive can lower blood pressure. The olive leaves are used to reduce blood pressure, dilate coronary blood vessels, lower blood sugar levels and regulate the heart beat. Spanish studies carried out in 1992 indicated that oleuropeoside lowered blood sugar levels in ‘in vitro’ models of diabetes thus it can be used in less serious non insulin dependent diabetes.
Studies to date confirm most of what Ibnu Qayyim said. Olive oil;
- is mildly laxative, it stimulates secretion and elimination of bile and can be used to treat gallstones.
- is also used in the treatment of stomach ulcers and to ease nervous tension.
- Softens and soothes the skin.
- is used in sun creams.
The olive plant can be used in more ways than one, its oil should be used liberally in cooking, and as an ointment for the skin. Some other ways to use it are as follows
1. for build up of wax in the ear place 3 to 4 drops in the ear morning and evening for a few days until the wax softens and can be removed easily.
2. For type 2 Diabetes and High Blood pressure boil about 20 dried leaves in 300ml of water, boil for 30 seconds and infuse for 10 minutes. Drink 3 cups a day during meals .
3. To prevent gallstones take 50ml of olive oil between meals.
4. To reduce the pain of already existing gallstones take 50-150ml of olive oil.
* The olive has no known side effects.
© F Khanom