The olive tree provides shade, olive oil for health and cooking, wood for our winter warmth, wood for carving, olives to be cured and eaten and oil to keep the lamps alight.
These olive wood salad servers are excellent for lifting salad from bowl to plate and elegant too. We have a pair which came from NZ, obviously not made from olive wood. Possibly rimu, totara, kauri or kahikatea, just to roll off a few maori words.
The olive leaf has endless health benefits, though results are still being studied.
I was reminded of them recently while watching Ben Fogle's 'New Lives in the Wild'. He was visiting a couple living in a mud brick house in Morocco, Dina and Moustafa. Being Morocco their mud brick house was surrounded by olive trees and little else but dust. Dina's chooks were dying from some sort of virus. She boiled olive leaves and gave the chickens the resulting herbal tea to drink. The chickens perked up and became healthy egg layers again.
Olive leaves are -
anti - bacterial
anti - hypertensive
anti - inflammatory
promote healthy blood pressure
improve brain function
A few years ago the olive leaf cure hit Greece and every programme on TV was plugging them as a miracle quick fix. We were shown how to make an olive leaf milkshake, how to eat them, drink them and add years to our lives. I even remember seeing a packet of olive leaves on sale in the supermarket, like a bunch of rocket. Someone was incredibly fast to take advantage of gullible consumers.
One bold television presenter had the foolishness to sell them as a cancer cure. She lost her job and the mania came to an abrupt end.
However, there is something to the claim that they benefit our overall health. I remember seeing olive leaf extract on sale in NZ years again. Extract or tablets are the easiest way to take in all the goodness but if you have olive trees around you then try an olive leaf tisane. Boil the leaves in water and drink the liquid.