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H 3Used for medicinal healing by ancient Egyptians, the olive leaf was once considered a symbol of heavenly power and continues to be used by alternate health practitioners, who believe that the olive fruit, its leaves and oil provide the following health benefits.

Prevents seasonal ailments. Mixing a teaspoon of crushed olive leaves in boiling water and inhaling the steam from the mixture for a few minutes twice a day can help relieve colds, sore throats, congestion and the severity of asthma attacks. For people vulnerable to migraines, massaging lukewarm olive oil on the temples and dabbing a few drops on the eyelids helps relax the nerves and provides immediate relief from the pain.

Supports cardiovascular health. Cardiologists are increasingly recommending olive oil for culinary purposes for people with a history of heart disease, as the oil’s high anti-oxidant content regulates blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Ingesting a few drops early morning regularly cleanses the arteries, thereby ensuring optimal blood supply to the coronary artery, while reducing the risks of developing atherosclerosis in the process.

Maintains healthy hair. Topical application of olive oil, or applying a paste of crushed olives and lemon water on the scalp weekly reduces hair fall and dandruff; high-end salons use olive oil treatments to add gloss and reduce frizz for dry and damaged hair, as well as for promoting hair growth.

Ensures a glowing skin. The saturated fats in olive leaf extracts are ideal moisturisers for oily and acne-prone skin; due to the extract’s cell regenerative properties, topical application on the face restores the skin’s elasticity and prevents wrinkles. Recent research has revealed that olive oil prevents the development of malignant melanoma (skin cancer); this is due to the protective layer formed by polyphenol compounds in olive extracts when applied at least an hour prior to exposure to the sun.

– Sadia Kamran

First published in the Health Advertiser of the DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on February 22, 2015.

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