The Olive Tree (Olea europaea), is one of the most renown, beloved, and sacredly held trees in ancient antiquity with its historical roots firmly placed in Ancient Greek tradition and mythology.
Traditionally, the Olive Tree is a symbol of peace, friendship, wisdom and prosperity. This association began in ancient Greece, as early as the fifth century.
According to legend, Zeus proposed a contest between Athena- Goddess of Wisdom and Protection, and Poseidon- God of the Sea as to who would become the protector of a newly built city in Attica (the historical region of Greece). The city would be named after the god or goddess who gave the citizens the most precious, useful and divine gift.
Poseidon struck his three-pronged trident upon the hard rock of the Acropolis and it sprung forth water, symbolizing his gift of sea power. Athena followed by striking the Acropolis with her spear and it produced an Olive tree, with its silvery-green leaves and abundance of rich fruits, signifying fruitfulness and peace.
Zeus was enchanted by the tree and its ability to heal wounds, cure illness, provide fuel for lamps and nourish the body. The citizens wisely chose the gift of Athena and she forever became the patroness of the city Athens, named after her.
Even today, an olive tree stands where the story of this legendary competition is said to have taken place. The myth continues as a “living legend” as it is said that all the olive trees in Athens were descended from that first olive tree offered by Athena. The olive branch continues today as a symbol of peace and appears on the seal of the United Nations as well as on British and American coins.
Olive leaves have been used by traditional Mediterranean medical practitioners for thousands of years. The leaves sped wound healing, soothed rashes and were said to cleanse the liver. Some other historic uses include remedies for high blood pressure, high blood sugar and anxiety.
The compound Oleuropein is considered the source of the plant’s medicinal qualities. When it breaks down in the body, it interferes with the ability of bacteria, viruses and fungi to replicate themselves and spread, thus allowing the immune system to combat infection more effectively.
Olive leaf has been known to benefit those suffering with diabetes, high cholesterol, bronchitis, gastritis, and auto-immune disorders such as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, addison disease, guillain-barre syndrome, arthritis, colitis, lupus, celiac disease, eczema, scleroderma, psoriasis, cardiomyopathy, graves disease, and HIV.
Olive leaf contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties which helps to improve circulation, reduce swelling, and increase energy and flexibility in the body. It is also a great digestive aid and helps to remove excess acidity from the body. Go here to see how olive leaf might be supportive in placental health as well. Other benefits of olive leaf may include:
•Reduces cardiovascular risk
•Lowers blood pressure
•Supports weight loss
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