Folk Remedies and Olive Oil

Still not convinced on how olive oil was an important component of Mediterranean culture? Here’s a list of various ways olive oil was integrated into everyday life.

Note that I do not advocate nor claim the efficiency of these claims.

  • Hair: People used olive oil as a conditioner of sorts. After shampooing one’s hair, they would rub in a mixture of olive oil, egg yolk, lemon juice and a bit of beer. They left it in for about 5 minutes before washing out.
  • Dandruff Preventative: By mixing in olive oil and eau de Cologne into your scalp, then rinsing out, one wouldn’t have to worry about the white flakes. See, even in the past people were vain enough to worry about dandruff.
  • Dry Skin: This is probably not a Mediterranean remedy, considering it consists of mixing avocado with olive oil. Supposedly if you mix these two items together and use it as a face mask for 10 minutes, you’ll have moisturized skin.
  • Wrinkles: A forerunner to Oil of Olay…if you mix olive oil and lemon, and then rub into your face before bedtime, it is told that it will lessen the effects of aging.
  • To Soften the Skin: Oil and Salt mixed together, massaged over the entire body and then washed off, will give you softer skin. Apparently people have always worried about bad skin.
  • Fingernails:Olive oil to strengthen your nails? Your soaking in it! Of course you have to then paint your nails with white iodine. Sort of a two step process.
  • Tired Feet: Hardly news here…people using olive oil to massage the tootsies.
  • Aching Muscles:Mix olive oil with pungent herbs, like mint and/or rosemary will soothe those sore backs and arms once massaged in well.
  • Acne:8 oz of Olive Oil and 10 drops (no more, no less) of lavender oil, rubbed into your skin, will, legend tells, prevent acne.
  • Reduce the effect of Alcohol: Plan on drinking but don’t want to get too drunk too quickly? Drink 2-3 spoonfuls of olive oil before hitting the bars.
  • High Blood Pressure:Boil 24 olive leafs in 8 oz of water for 15 minutes. Drink. Repeat processes twice a day for two weeks. It is said that this will lower your blood pressure.
  • Burns: That lavendar/olive oil combo mentioned above? It also works well for minor burns…and yes that would include sunburns.
  • Constipation: Well… I’ll just let this page speak for itself. Read it when you’re not eating.
  • Annoint Kings and other Royalty: Wish to be of royal lineage? Annoint yourself with olive oil and say a small prayer. Not really a home remedy, but I thought the idea was interesting.

Needless to say, some of these seem obvious (I like the alcohol one myself, I may need to try it out), others seem dubious…rubbing oil in your face to prevent acne? I thought they were interesting as trivia items, and not much more.

Many thanks to Anne Dolamore’s book The Essential Olive Oil Companion for the majority of these tidbits. Yes, I purchased a book about olive oil…I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Well, maybe just a little.


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