Olive Oil

Olivenöl wird in Schüssel gegossen

 

  • Base Oil
  • INCI: Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil
  • Comedogenicity: 2-3
  • Composition: Oleic acid (up to approx. 83 %), palmitic acid (up to approx. 20 %), linoleic acid (up to approx. 5 %), stearic acid (up to approx. 5 %), palmitoleic acid (up to approx. 4 %), phytosterols, α-tocopherol.
  • Iodine number: 78 – 90.
  • Cosmetic use: Dry, chapped skin; hair care.
  • Shelf life: In cool and dark storage up to 10 months.

Plant

The olive tree is an evergreen tree or shrub, which can grow between 10 and 20 m tall and live for over 1000 years. The oldest specimen on Crete is estimated to be over 4000 years old. Young trees have a smooth and grey trunk, which becomes darker and more brittle with advancing age. The leaves are narrow, lanceolate to elliptic, with silvery shiny grey color and hairy underside. The small, white to yellowish flowers, each with four petals and sepals, hang in panicles from the branches. Since the tree grows very slowly, it does not start to bear fruits until it is 10 years old. The fruit is an ellipsoid, solitary stone fruit with a thin skin. The hard, oily seed is surrounded by soft, oil-rich flesh.

Oliven an Baum

Extraction of olive oil

The greenish colored olive oil is obtained from the fruit of the olive tree. The olives are first separated from foreign particles, washed, and then crushed in a macerator. The fruit mash is then stirred in order to unite the oil droplets together. The olive mash is further processed in a centrifuge in which the solids, oil, and water are all separated. Finally, high-quality olive oil is filtered immediately after pressing to remove turbidity.

Cosmetic use of olive oil

Olive oil is slowly absorbed by the skin, moisturizes it and makes it soft and supple. The oil is particularly suitable for the care of dry, brittle skin. Its ingredients, especially the fats it contains, help the skin to regenerate. Thus, the oil moisturizes and provides a soft skin feeling. It can also smooth out small wrinkles as well as prevent the formation of new wrinkles.

Olive oil also has hair care applications. The nutrients of the oil help to repair micro-damage to the hair. In the long run it gives the hair a silky shine and better bounce.

Olivenöl wird in Schüssel gegossen

Benefits of olive oil for skin

  • moisturizes the skim
  • well suited for dry and brittle skin
  • has antioxidant effects
  • has positive effects on the aging process of skin

Internal use of olive oil

Olive oil finds extensive application possibilities in the health preventive area. It can be used as a mild laxative, since it promotes bowel movement and serves as a lubricant. However, this can easily irritate the intestinal mucosa, since hydrolysis takes place in the intestinal lumen due to the high concentration of free fatty acids.

Furthermore, it is used for stomach and intestinal ulcers to reduce the secretion of stomach acid.

Olive oil can also be taken in the form of emulsions for the treatment of kidney diseases.

Due to its ingredients such as squalene, polyphenols, vitamin E and phytosterols, it has antioxidant, anticancerogenic (cancer preventive) and immunomodulatory (immune system modifying) properties. The ingredients are said to increase immunocompetence, are radical scavengers, inhibit tumor development and prevent cell nuclear damage. Olive oil therefore also has a positive effect on the aging process of humans.

Studies could prove that oils with a high content of saturated fatty acids by oleic acid-containing oils such as olive oil reduce the serum cholesterol concentration. In addition, it reduces the plasma lipids VLDL and LDL and increases the HDL (“good” cholesterol). Consequently, the intake of olive oil has a positive effect on diseases such as diabetes, arteriosclerosis, arthritis or coronary heart disease.

Buy olive oil – what to consider?

Although olive oil is divided into many different quality classes you generally can find three different classes in stores. In principle, virgin olive oil must be obtained by mechanical or other physical processes under temperature conditions that do not lead to a deterioration of the oil. Valuable ingredients are lost if to too high temperatures are used, so care is taken to ensure gentle cold pressing. Virgin olive oils must also not be mixed with oils of other kinds.

The ‘Extra Virgin Olive Oil’ represents the highest quality class. As already mentioned, this type of oil must be obtained by cold pressing. Oil of this highest quality class must also come from the first-pressing of the olives. It may contain a maximum of 0.8 percent free fatty acids. These give fats and oils an unpleasant taste.

The quality class ‘Virgin Olive Oil’ must also be cold pressed. The content of free fatty acids may be up to 2 percent. This oil often comes from the second pressing of the olives.

‘Olive Oil’ describes the lowest class of the three. It describes a mixture of native and refined, thus cleaned and usually hot pressed oils.

Whoever wants to buy a high quality olive oil should therefore pay attention to the words ‘native’ and ‘extra’. These are gently cold pressed and contain all valuable ingredients and also have the best taste. All tips for recognizing the quality of the oil by its color are not really helpful, since the oil should be sold in a dark bottle anyway to protect it from light. In addition, you should pay attention to an organic quality to avoid possible residues of pesticides in the oil.

Sources
Sources: Krist, Sabine (2013): Lexikon der Pflanzlichen Öle und Fett. Vienna: Springer Verlag. | Braunschweig, R. (2020): Pflanzenöle - über 50 starke Helfer für Genuss und Hautpflege. Wiggensbach: Stadelmann Verlag.

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