Autumn, materia medica

Olive Materia Medica

We all know olive oil is good for us, but why? The answer is polyphenols! Polyphenols are a group of over 8,000 compounds that include all the good stuff we hear about - flavonoids, phenolic acids and lignans, for example.  Plants have them to protect themselves against ultraviolet radiation and/or pathogens, but they’re good for us too. Polyphenols have excellent antioxidant properties. Some also have anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombotic effects, among other things, which makes them great support for the immune system, and another line of defence against cardiovascular disease, cancers, diabetes, osteoporosis and degenerative neurological disease.

Autumn, gardening, seasonal living

The Olive Harvest

Olives, the olive branch and the olive tree are symbolic in many cultures and religions, from ancient Egypt to Christianity to the Arab world. In ancient Greece, newborn babies were presented with an olive branch, brides wore a crown of olive leaves, and olive wreaths were given to the dead. It was illegal to cause damage to an olive tree in ancient Greece - a crime that was actually punishable by death at one point! The olive tree was also sacred to Athena and had a special place in the myth of the founding of Athens, the city I live in.