The positive influence of a diet with extra virgin olive oil as the principal source of fat has.” Without a doubt, extra virgin olive oil finds its greatest uses in the kitchen. Above and beyond this, there are innumerable opportunities to use the natural healing powers of olive oil internally or externally in treating pain, malaise and minor wounds. Extra virgin olive oil consists of about 1000 biologically active substances, many of which are only just beginning to be studied. However, many substances have already been systematically analyzed and their positive effects on health have been demonstrated in many scientific research studies. In antiquity, the bark, as well as the flowers and leaves of the olive tree, counted among the medications for boils, infections and purulent finger abscesses. In addition, olive leaves were considered to have a fever-reducing effect. In this chapter I will present only those traditional Tunisian applications and mixtures that include extra virgin olive oil whose effectiveness, especially with respect to the olive oil component, has been demonstrated in scientific experiments. Even so, it should be explicitly noted that in providing examples of medical uses, I am only offering general suggestions and that in any situation where there is a significant health problem, it is very important to obtain an exact diagnosis and to consult a physician regarding treatment.
In the recipes that follow, the quality of the virgin olive oil that is used is of critical importance! The better the quality of the oil, the more active substances are contained within it.
To obtain the greatest possible benefit, you should use high-quality virgin olive oil such as very good extra virgin olive oil, if possible, extra virgin olive oil labelled »certified organic«, which is pure and contains no contaminants. All-purpose lavender oil remedy Applied externally, lavender oil prepared with extra virgin olive oil alleviates eczema when applied lightly and massaged into the skin after bathing. It also is soothing for mild burns and for sunburn. Moreover, when taken internally, this preparation made with fresh lavender blossoms is helpful for relieving migraine and dizziness as well as treating a nervous stomach. For this purpose, place 5 or 6 drops of lavender oil on a sugar cube. Lavender oil is prepared as follows: in a clear glass bowl, mix a handful of fresh lavender blossoms with a liter of extra virgin olive oil. Next, place the bowl under the hot sun. After three days, the oil should be carefully filtered. Finally, mix another handful of fresh lavender blossoms in the oil that has been prepared in this way, and leave the mixture to stand under the hot sun for an additional three days. This entire process is repeated several times, (for a total of about 5 cycles) until the oil has taken on a very strong aroma of lavender. Next, the oil should be carefully filtered once again, since any solid residue will reduce its storage life. Finally, place the lavender oil into a dark sealable bottle and keep in a cool place for storage.
Arthritis causes painful joints; they become red, sensitive, swollen and hot. To help make an attack of pain more bearable, you can easily prepare a homemade paste made of pumpkin leaves. For this purpose, crush and mix pumpkin leaves with extra virgin olive oil until they form a homogeneous mixture. The painful joint should be carefully massaged with this paste.
Eczema and chapped skin
The application of a few cabbage leaves soaked in extra virgin olive oil has proved to be very effective for treating dry eczema of the skin and chapped skin as well as for treating bruises. To prepare this mixture, place the washed cabbage leaves in extra virgin olive oil until the leaves have absorbed the oil and have become soft. Next, apply the cabbage leaves to the affected skin and cover the area with a linen cloth. Leave the application in place for between one and three hours.
Colds and coughs
This is a cherished Tunisian home remedy to treat minor colds and coughs, which is still used a great deal in all of TUNISIA and is being passed along from the older people to the next generation: extra virgin olive oil is mixed in equal parts with very freshly prepared lemon juice or, if possible, with the juice of the Tunisian »Beldi« (a small globular citrus fruit) and drunk at minimum in the morning and the evening, even better in small amounts throughout the day.
Foot bath for tired feet
After a long day on your feet, when feet are feeling hot and swollen, this recipe quickly soothes them. To prepare it, take 5 drops each of essential oil of salvia, essential lemon oil, and essential cypress oil and mix them with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Next, add a tablespoon of powdered milk or a glass of whole milk, and place this mixture into a foot bath of warm water at a temperature of about 35 degrees Celsius. Soak your feet in this bath for 15 to 20 minutes.
For painful joints, massaging the area that hurts with lavender oil that has been prepared with an olive oil base has stood the test of time. In order to prepare this mixture, add 40 grams of dried lavender blossoms to one liter of extra virgin olive oil. Next, depending on the climate, place this mixture in the warm sun or on a heater for three days. Finally, the oil should be thoroughly filtered and placed in a sealable dark bottle.
Pine Oil: Mix one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil with 10 drops of essential pine oil and carefully massage the swollen and painful joint with this mixture. Chamomile Oil: Add 60 g of dried chamomile flowers to a half liter of extra virgin olive oil. Place in the hot sun and let it steep for four days, or, in order to shorten the preparation time, warm it gently in a double boiler for two hours. Filter the mixture carefully, and pour it into a sealable bottle. Gently massage the painful and swollen joint with this mixture.