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Olive oil is a substance that has been used for a wide variety of purposes for centuries, from anointing royalty to quieting squeaking hinges. Prior to the widespread use of electric lights, olive oil was even used to light homes by people who burned it in lamps. Modern consumers can find olive oil products to soften their skin and hair, flavor their food, aid their health and digestion and make them more attractive through cosmetics and softening soaps.
Olive oil products used in cooking are popular because they promote good health with their high concentration of certain fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins. Olive oil cooking products include different grades of pressed olive oil, as well as olive oil cooking sprays. Olive oil is also an important ingredient in many salad dressings. It can be used to cook a number of tasty dishes, including those based on fish, chicken, pork and beef.
The skin care industry offers many olive oil products that claim to soften, protect and rejuvenate the skin. Promoters of olive oil as a healthy ingredient in beauty products point to the fact that people have used the extra virgin type of this oil across the Mediterranean for thousands of years, including the ancient Greeks and Romans. Many people like it because skin that is treated with olive oil products is healthier thanks to the oil's vitamins, and the skin is also firmer and youthful looking. Some women use olive oil to diminish stretch marks, although this has not been proven.
The hair care industry also promotes olive oil as an ingredient because it has the ability to soften damaged or coarse hair. It is considered a superior conditioner, but it is also touted as a dandruff remedy. Some olive oil products even claim they can stimulate the hair root and improve the scalp’s blood circulation.
Olive oil cosmetic products include beauty creams and masks for the face. Other products, including homemade remedies, can soften hands and feet. Nightly applications of some of these olive oil products are used by some women in an attempt to smooth away harsh wrinkles.
There are numerous uses for olive oil outside the areas of food and beauty. It can be used to free a stuck zipper, and it can be applied to the ear to help loosen wax. Some people like to use it to polish wood furniture, and to help eliminate aggravating snoring.
I just learned that some Catholics use olive oil as a preparation step before baptism. Apparently, olive oil is very important for many different religions, for ceremonies and health benefits.
All of the Abrahamic religions mention olive oil as being blessed and to have healing properties. My Hindu and Buddhist friends have told me that they also burn olive oil in lamps for religious ceremonies and prayers.
It's so interesting to learn that something I have in my kitchen cabinet is an important religious symbol and has a long history.
Do you know of any other religions that use olive oil?
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