From what I gather, the famous olives was native to Asia Minor and then spread it’s wings from Iran, Syria and Palestine to the rest of the Mediterranean basin about 6,000 years ago. Yea, we’ve been enjoying these little guys for that long! I was grown even before the written language was invented! Thanks to the Phoenicians they spread the olive to the Mediterranean shores of Africa and Southern Europe. They have even been found in Egyptian tombs from 2,000 years BC. Can you imagine that Cleopatra enjoyed these with her lovers! The olive culture was spread to the early Greeks then Romans. As the Romans extended their domain they brought the olive with them.
1,400 years ago the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, advised his followers to apply olive oil to their bodies, and himself used oil on his head. The use of oil is found in many religions and cultures. It has been used during special ceremonies as well as a general health measure. During baptism in the Christian church, holy oil, which is often olive oil, may be used for anointment. At the Christmas mass, olive oil blessed by the bishop, “chrism”, is used in the ceremony. Like the grape, the Christian missionaries brought the olive tree with them to California for food but also for ceremonial use. Olive oil was used to anoint the early kings of the Greeks and Jews. The Greeks anointed winning athletes. Olive oil has also been used to anoint the dead in many cultures.
The olive trees on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem are reputed to be over 2000 years old, still relative newcomers considering the long domestication of the olive. We don’t know the exact variety of the trees on the Mount. Man has manipulated the olive tree for so many thousands of years that it is unclear what varieties came from which other varieties. Varieties in one country have been found to be identical to differently named varieties in another.
Here are 6 great reasons to snack on olives regularly
Skin and hair health
Bone and connective tissue
Digestive tract health
Good source of iron
So don’t feel like you need to have a cocktail party to eat some olives or to put it on your skin for that matter. Just go ahead and enjoy them!