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Application of medicine in antiquity
In the Hippocrates’ code there are more than 60 medicinal uses of olive oil including, for example, the rubbing with olive oil of a woman who has just had a miscarriage. Hippocrates also recommended the use of olive oil for chronic fevers, tooth problems, wounds as well as the hygiene of the mouth and eyes.
The oil from wild olive trees was the first to be considered to have medicinal properties by Medicine. In Crete, the Peloponnese and Mytilene they used to apply olive oil on sprains and pregnant women so as to have an easy childbirth as well as on the newborn to treat any inflammation of the skin.
Olive oil is also widely used nowadays in cosmetic products because it relieves, refreshes, hydrates and keeps the skin smooth. It is also a mild suntan lotion and gradually improves the health of the skin.
Treating hair with olive oil has also been well known since the Mycenaean times. Women used to apply oil olive on their hair in order to nourish it and in order to keep it shiny and easy to comb. In Crete, they made a lotion based on olive oil and laurel seeds to keep dark hair strong. In Thrace, they applied olive oil on cracked hand skin.
Olive oil protects against strokes
The elderly who consume good amounts of olive oil in salads and cooked meals run a lower risk of suffering from a stroke according to recent French research.
Researchers from the National Institute for Health and Medical Research of Bordeaux, France headed by Dr Cecilia Samieri published the corresponding study in the scientific journal ‘Neurology’ of the American Neurological Academy. According to Reuters and the French News Agency they carried research in three cities (Bordeaux, Dijon and Montpelier) for five years involving about 7,600 people over 65 years old, 148 of whom suffered a stroke during that time.
Those participating in the study were divided in three groups according to how much olive oil they consumed (not at all, some, a lot). It was found that those who belonged to the group which consumed lots of olive oil (either in salads or in cooked meals) had a 41% lower possibility of suffering a stroke comparing to those who didn’t consume any olive oil.
“Our research indicates that there must be some adjustments made to our daily diet so as to avoid strokes to people over the age of 65. Strokes are very common among the elderly and the oil olive is a cheap and easy to avoid them” as Samieri said.
Previous research has associated olive oil with a lower risk for heart attacks, diabetes, high blood pressure, high “bad” cholesterol levels, obesity etc.
In an accompanying note in the same scientific journal Dr Nikolaos Skameas (of Hellenic origin) Neurology professor in the Medical Centre of Columbia University and member of the American Neurological Academy mentions that it is not yet clear what components of olive oil bring about these therapeutic effects and continues to say that olive oil benefits us indirectly too by making healthy foods more delicious.