Olive oil and health in ancient times
Hippocrates (460-377 BC) recommended the fresh olive juice to cure mental illness and compressed macerated olives to heal ulcers
Pliny the Elder (24-79 AD) stated “two are the liquids most pleasing to the human body wine on the inside, and oil on the outside.” It was believed that oil could fight fevers, as well as being an antidote for some poisons; it was also considered anthelmintic, emollient and laxative.
In the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance olive oil was also used to treat gynecological infections. Oil was used to treat heart diseases, diabetes and fever, as well as an antihypertensive, and diuretic.
Until the end of the nineteenth century olive oil was also used to treat ear infections and as a mild laxative and, until a few years ago, the elderly farmers used it to massage the stunted children, to sprinkle the gums affected by periodontal disease, for neuritis, for sprains, to extract thorns from under the skin, to treat stomach ache, to soften the calluses of the feet and, with revulsive herbs for hair loss.