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Olive oil: Health Benefits, Uses, Dosage and Side Effects

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By NS Desk 19-Dec-2020

Olive oil

Olive oil is pale yellow, dark green oil and is called 'jaitoon ka tel' commonly. It is a liquid fat obtained from Olives (Olea europaea) produced by pressing them to extract it. It is a major part of the Mediterranean diet, and it's primarily known for its antioxidant properties. The fat's main constituent is monosaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), which are considered healthy fat by medical experts.
Olive oil's commercial production has made it one of the most common vegetable oils in the world.
 
How did ‘Olive oil’ come to being?
Olives have a history dating back to almost 6000 years in the past. The Mediterranean society revolved around the cultivation and use of the plant, and it was a regular part of their vegetable diet. When the people back then developed stone grinders and thumps, they learned to press wheat to get flour, press leaves of medicinal plants to get extracts, and thus, one-day olives were pressed manually yielded an extract that shared a resemblance and characteristics similar to oils.
 
Historical uses of Olive oil
Due to its Mediterranean habitat, much of the history of olives and olive oil occurred in those parts of the world. Olives were a symbol of wealth, fame, and peace, and it played a primary role in culture, trade, arts, and the economy. Olive oil was used in both cooked and uncooked dishes such as cakes and salad dressing, respectively. There are accounts of the Romans favoring a cake that onlyconsisted of flour, salt, and olive oil.
 
Apart from its role in food culture, olive oil played a crucial role in religious ceremonies and became a high priced fuel. It was a base constituent of many of the highly-priced perfumes in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Hippocrates was the first to deduce the healing powers of the oil, and thus, he became the first known medical practitioner to use it in ointments to treat wounds and bruises.
 
By the middle ages, olive oil's different curative factors came to light, and it became a known remedy for sore throats and internal problems. It naturally became a staple in the daily life of the Mediterranean people. 
 
Benefits of using Olive oil in Ayurvedic treatment
Olive oil is known for a multitude of scientifically and ayurvedically recognized factors that make it a go-to substance in the treatment of diseases and disorders. The oil helps in reducing high cholesterol levels by lowering the bad cholesterol in the body. It lowers blood sugar levels, which help control or prevent diabetes and prevents constipation due to its laxative nature when taken in slightly larger amounts.
 
It comprises 14% saturated fat and 11% polyunsaturated fat such as Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. About 73% of the oil is a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid. Studies suggest that this acid can reduce inflammation and have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer. These monounsaturated fats have high heat resistance and do not build-up in the arteries. This prevents plaque build-up in the lungs reducing the chances of a stroke.
 
Olive oil is known to balance blood pressure and manage rheumatoid arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory nature. As for core Ayurveda, it is believed that olive oil balances the Vata-Kapha and Pitta dosha to a slight extent. It is good for external use as well and can be applied to the skin as it is rich in essential oils that help nourish growing babies and tissues in adults.
 
Treating diseases/disorders using Olive oil
 
1. High Cholesterol

                       Ayurvedic view

 

                    Modern scientific view

 

Higher levels of cholesterol are due to an imbalance in Agni (digestive fire). Improper digestion in the body causes Ama's build-up (toxins in the body due to improper digestion). This leads to the build-up of bad cholesterol in the body. Olive oil, which is rich in Deepan (appetizer) and Pachan (digestive) properties, helps in Ama's expulsion or digestion. These properties further help in maintaining digestive fire and prevent the accumulation of bad cholesterol in the body.

 

The Oleocanthal present in Olive oil has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which help in lowering total blood cholesterol, bad cholesterol (LDL), and triglycerides. The healthy fats present in the oil improve the levels of good cholesterol in the body. This results in a reduced risk of atherosclerosis (the narrowing of arteries due to plaque build-up).

 

 
 2. Hypertension
Modern scientists concur that Olive oil may help manage high blood pressure due to its anti-oxidant properties. This oil can lower blood pressure by making nitric oxide readily available in the blood, leading to the blood vessels' relaxation, lowering the blood pressure.
Tips:
Try replacing your regular vegetable oil with Olive oil for cooking. The use of extra virgin olive oil is much advised due to its less refined nature, resulting in more antioxidant potency.
 
3. Constipation

                           Ayurvedic view

 

                   Modern scientific view

 

Constipation is caused primarily due to an aggravated Vata dosha. An imbalance or irregularity in lifestyle or eating habits may lead to an aggravated Vata in the large intestine and cause constipation. Olive oil's regular intake can help manage constipation due to its Vata-balancing and Sara (mobility) properties. The oil removes dryness of the intestine producing better bowel movements, thereby providing relief from constipation.

 

Olive oil might prove to be useful in constipation due to its laxative nature. The oil itself lubricates the intestinal walls, improving bowel movement. It also helps in softening the stool, making it easier to pass through the colon.

 

 
4. Diabetes mellitus (Type 1 and Type 2)

                         Ayurvedic view

 

                   Modern scientific view

 

Diabetes is called Madhumeha in Ayurveda. It is caused by aggravated Vata dosha and improper digestion. This leads to Ama's build-up (toxic remains in the body due to improper digestion) in the pancreatic cells. The impaired cells in the pancreas cannot produce sufficient insulin leading to diabetes.

Olive oil helps to balance the Vata dosha and to maintain normal blood sugar levels. The Deepan (appetizer) and Pachan (digestive) properties help to reduce Ama and prevent the pancreas from further damage.

Tip:

Try replacing your regular vegetable oil with Olive oil for cooking. The use of extra virgin olive oil is much advised due to its less refined nature, resulting in more antioxidant potency.

Olive oil is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, which help in managing type 2-diabetes. The oil reduces the breakdown of carbohydrates resulting in low blood sugar levels. This way, the damage on pancreatic cells is minimized, enhancing secretion and sensitivity.

 

 
5. Rheumatoid Arthritis
Most modern scientists concur that the Olecanthal present in Olive oil can help manage rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. This is due to the presence of potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory factors. Oleocanthal specifically inhibits the activity of inflammatory proteins. This reduces joint pain and swelling commonly associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
 
6. Breast Cancer
Modern scientists believe that Olive oil's use as a complementary therapy in cancer treatment could prove to be beneficial. The phenolic compounds present in Olive oil have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds induce apoptosis (cell death) and reduce cancer cells' growth while leaving other non-cancerous cells unharmed.
 
7. H.Pylori infection
Modern scientists believe that the phenolic compounds present in Olive oil can work against the Helicobacter Pylori growth. These compounds may also help in lowering the risk of stomach ulcers and stomach cancer.
 
8. Eczema

                         Ayurvedic view

 

                  Modern scientific view

 

The application of Olive oil on the affected areas may help reduce skin rashes, itching, burning, and roughness. This is due to the presence of Snigdha (oily). It is also helpful in healing blisters due to its Ropan (healing) factors.

Tip: Mix 1 teaspoon Olive oil with 1 teaspoon of Coconut oil.

Apply it to the affected area twice a day for 1 or 2 months for better results.

 

Eczema is a condition that affects the skin making it rough, inflamed, and itchy. Despite the lack of evidentiary support, it is believed that Olive oil can help in the case of red itchy skin in case of eczema.

 

 
9. Psoriasis

                       Ayurvedic view

 

                 Modern scientific view

 

Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that causes the build-up of dead cells on the skin and inflammation, making the skin dry and scaly. Olive oil can help reduce the symptoms, reduce inflammation, and promote healing due to its Ropan (healing) properties. It reduces the skin's dryness and roughness because of its Snigdha (oily) and Picchila (sticky) properties.

Tip: Mix 1 teaspoon Olive oil with 1 teaspoon of Coconut oil.

Apply it to the affected area twice a day for 1 or 2 months for better results.

 

 

Psoriasis is classed as a common, chronic autoimmune disease that results in dry, red, scaly, and flakes on the skin. Olive oil can be useful in curbing this disease due to its anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating properties resulting in a reduction of skin rash, dryness, and inflammation associated with psoriasis.

 

 
10. Earwax
Olive oil prevents the build-up of excessive ear wax, and its application in the ear can soften the wax in the outer ear canal, making it easier to remove.
 
11. Ear infection
Modern scientists concur that the ear drops containing Olive oil have an antibacterial property that reduces the infection and the pain associated with it.
 
12. Alzheimer’s disease
Even though not all studies have concurred that Olive oil can directly prevent the onset of Alzheimer's, it can be mentioned that Olive oils can help in the removal of beta-amyloid plaque build-ups inside the brain cells leading to better brain function and enhanced cognitive capacity. This could prevent the early onset of Alzheimer's in those susceptible to it. However, much more research is needed to conclude its effects on Alzheimer's are caused because of age.
 
Forms of Olive oil in Ayurveda with the recommended dosage
1. Olive oil capsule- 1 capsule twice a day before or after meals.
2. Olive oil OIL- 1-2 teaspoons once a day after waking up or before going back to sleep.
 
Types of Ayurvedic care with Olive oil
 
1. Olive oil capsules:
Swallow 1 (subject to the physician’s assent) capsule with lukewarm water after lunch and dinner.
 
2. Olive oil and water:
1-2 teaspoon of Olive oil is taken and is followed by a glass of lukewarm water. It is recommended to be taken at night before going to sleep to manage constipation.
 
3. Cooking with Olive oil
Use 5-6 teaspoons (subject to the preparation) for cooking daily. The amount can vary according to dietary constraints or physician’s advice.
 
4. Olive oil salad dressing
a) 2-3 teaspoons of Olive oil are used along with chopped vegetables like onion, carrot, cucumber, sweet corn, and beetroot in a large bowl.
b) 1 teaspoon of Apple cider vinegar is added to the bowl.
c) Season with black pepper and salt as per tasted) All the contents are mixed.
 
5. Olive oil with moisturizing cream
a) 1-2 teaspoons of Olive oil are added to be added to any moisturizing cream.
b) The mixture is to be applied directly to the skin to improve the skin's complexion and texture.
However, this is not recommended for people with an acne problem or have oily skin.
 
6. Massage with Olive oil
a) 1-2 teaspoons of Olive oil are to be taken heated slightly.
b) Massage daily on the painful area (especially on joints) to get relief from pain and swelling caused by rheumatoid arthritis.
 
7. Olive oil with lemon juice
a) 2-3 teaspoons of Olive oil are to be taken, and lemon juice (by squeezing half a lemon) is to be added to it.
b) The mixture is to be applied directly on the skin before going to bed to control acne scars.
This mixture is not be applied under the sun as it could have a tanning effect on the skin as lemon juice is a bleaching agent and reacts under the heat of the sunlight. So, the best time to apply this is at night.
 
Side effects of Olive oil
The side effects can vary depending on whether it is used internally or externally:
 
1. Internal use: Olive oil is likely safe when it comes to its intake, whether it is taken as a capsule or in liquid form. Certain anomalies in the form of bodily response can cause nausea in a very small number of people. However, the use of extra virgin olive oil has generally proven to have no side effects of a serious nature. It is also high in calories (1-2 teaspoons amount to around 14% of average caloric consumption).
 
Consumption of olive plant leaf has inconclusive yield results due to its side effects, but it is likely safe. Consumption of more than the required amounts of Olive oil can lead to explosive diarrhea.
 
2. External use: Olive oil’s application direct application on the skin may lead to delayed allergic responses leading to contact dermatitis. Its application on gums and mouths after dental treatment can lead to sensitivity problems. It is also not suitable for dry skin types and baby skins.
 
Olive oil can cause acne and blackheads due to its oily-sticky nature. This traps the dust particles in the skin and can lead to a multitude of skin problems.
 
3. Inhalation: The olive plant's pollens can lead to an allergic response in people susceptible to such allergies. 
 
Precautionary guide to using Olive oil
 
1. Breastfeeding
Modern scientists believe that it is considered safe to take Olive oil in food amounts while breastfeeding. However, the doctor should be consulted before taking any other Olive oil supplements.
 
2. Diabetes
It is advised by modern scientists that blood sugar levels should be monitored before taking Olive oil as it tends to lower blood sugar levels.
 
3. Heart disease patients
Olive oil might lower blood pressure. So, it is advised by modern scientists’ that blood pressure levels are monitored before using Olive oil.
 
4. Pitta
Ayurvedic scholars believe that a body massage with Olive oil is to be avoided if one has excessive Pitta.
 
5. Pregnancy
Modern scientists believe that it is considered safe to take Olive oil in food amounts during pregnancy. However, the doctor should be consulted before taking any other Olive oil supplements.
 
FAQs about Olive oil
 
1. How to store Olive oil?
As per modern scientists, Olive oil should be stored at room temperature (25C) in a dry and dark place as it is susceptible to deterioration if kept in hot and humid conditions.
 
2. What is the Price of Olive oil?
The price of Olive oils may vary from brand to brand. The rate for 1L of olive oil generally Rs 600. Figaro Olive oil 1L bottle's price is about Rs 550, and extra virgin Olive Oil (500ml) is priced at around Rs 400.
 
3. Is extra virgin Olive oil any different?
Extra virgin oil is produced by the mechanical pressing of olives instead of the chemical method. The final tests of the product should yield around 0.8% acidic content. The extra virgin oil has several benefits and can be used for skin, hair as well as in food.
 
4. What are the uses of Pomace Olive oil?
Pomace Olive oil has many uses, and it is good for skin and hair. It is also useful for cooking purposes.
 
5. Can Olive oil be taken daily?    
Olive oil can be taken daily due to its nutritional value. The oil's antioxidant properties reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Olive oil should be consumed in moderation (1-2 teaspoons daily), and it is best to consult a doctor before taking it.
 
6. Can Olive oil protect from Microbial infections?
Olive oil can help protect from various microbial infections as it reacts with the bacteria that cause respiratory or intestinal infections.
 
7. Is it possible to deal with depression with the help of Olive oil?

                        Ayurvedic view

 

                    Modern Scientific view

 

Vata governs all the movements of the body and the nervous system. Depression occurs when the Vata dosha is imbalanced. Regular intake of Olive oil can help deal with depression because of its Vata-balancing property.

Regular intake of Olive oil can help increase the secretion of serotonin, which can help lower depression.

 

 
8. Can Olive oil act as a pain reliever?

                      Ayurvedic view

 

Modern Scientific view

 

Pain is called Shoola roga and is believed to be caused by an aggravated Vata dosha. Intake of Olive oil helps in balancing Vata dosha minimizing pain.

 

Olive can reduce pain due to its anti-inflammatory property. The Oleocanthal present in the oil inhibits pain mediators' activity, resulting in reduced pain and inflammation in the body.

 
9. Is Olive Oil good for the skin?

                          Ayurvedic view

 

                   Modern Scientific view

 

Olive oil is good for certain skin types due to its Ropan (healing), Snigdha (oily), and Rasayana (rejuvenating) factors. Application of the oil on the skin provides it a natural glow and prevents the scars from leaving a permanent mark.

Tip:

3-4 drops of Olive oil are taken and massaged on the face using the fingertips. This is to be done preferably during the night.

 

Olive oil is rich in Vitamin A, D, E, and K, which protect the skin from UV radiation and keep it moisturized. The skin is protected and nourished at the same time, preventing the chances of melanoma.

 

 
10. Can Olive oil prevent aging of the skin?
Modern scientists believe that a regular application of Olive oil can lead to healthier skin, which could help fight age. The wrinkles and scars are held off for longer periods than they would have usually occurred. The polyphenols vitamins E and K act together to prevent the symptoms of aging on the skin.
 
11. Is olive oil good for the hair?
There is very less conclusive evidence to suggest Olive oil's role in hair nourishment. The oleic and palmitic acids present in the oil have softening qualities. These oils act as good emollients that can help strengthen and nourish the hair follicles resulting in lust hair.
Tips: 
a) 4-5 teaspoons of Olive oil are taken and heated slightly. The oil is now applied on the hair scalp and massaged for about 15 minutes.
b) After the massage, the oil is to be kept overnight and washed off the next day with a soothing shampoo. This is to be done once a week for shiny and silky hair.
 
12. Does Olive oil helps in skin whitening?

                       Ayurvedic view

 

                 Modern Scientific view

 

There is no direct effect of Olive oil in skin whitening. However, it does protect the skin from UV radiation from the sun and prevents sunburn. It is a natural sunscreen and helps maintain the natural skin color and prevents the darkening of the skin due to its Ropan (healing) factor.

 

Olive oil does not have any effects on the whitening of the skin. However, the Oleocanthal present in it prevents sunburn and acts as a natural sun-block. The antioxidant properties prevent the oxidative damage of the sunlight on the skin. This results in the emergence of natural skin color and significantly less tanning.

 

 
13. Can Olive oil be used to manage dark, chapped lips?

                            Ayurvedic view

 

                     Modern Scientific view

 

Olive oil is rich in Snigdha (oily) and Ropan (healing) properties, which help in managing dry, chapped lips by maintaining the softness of the skin and providing nourishment to its healing process.

 

There is an absence of conclusive scientific evidence to suggest Olive oil's effects on dry, chapped lips. However, the application of oil can reduce dryness and soften the skin. Olive oil is a primary constituent of most cosmetic products and lip balms.

 

 

consult with ayurveda doctor.
Disclaimer - The aim of the article is just to convey information to you. Use any medicine, therapy, herb or fruit please do it under the guidance of a qualified Ayurveda doctor.
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