Ever wonder why the olive tree is a symbol of peace?

Today olive oil is mainly used in cooking and olive trees are cultivated to produce olives and oil, yet in the past both served a much greater function from medicinal cures to victory crowns.

Discover the stories, legends and myths behind the olive oil you eat every day:

Olive oil as a cure

The olive tree shows tremendous longevity and resilience: even through the harshest summers and winters it continues to grow strong and bear fruit. For this reason, olive oil was believed to bestow strength and youth to those who consumed it.

In fact, early Middle Eastern civilizations relied on olive oil to cure everything, and to this day many continue to drink it daily to keep the body healthy.

Ceremonial uses

In the past, olive oil was widely used for religious rites and rituals, such as baptisms and at shrines, as well as to anoint the heads of kings, nobles and even victors.

In ancient Greece, winners of the Olympic Games and brave victors of battle were honoured with wreaths made of olive tree branches.

The Spartans buried their dead on a bed of olive twigs to protect their souls, while those who attended the funerals wore crowns of olive branches to guard themselves against evil.