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Sep 09.13

10 Things You Might Not Know About Olive Oil

Posted In: LUSH Facts >> Tips and Tricks

When something is timeless, it’s because it’s universally accepted as a thing of both beauty and function. Few things carry such a timeless symbolism of peace, wisdom, triumph and prosperity than the olive branch. In fact, all of the parts of the tree are precious and prized. Peaceful in gesture, tasty in the kitchen and useful all throughout the home, here are 10 ways olive oil branches out into our lives.

1. Though the tree has grown natively all over the Mediterranean for thousands of years, the Greeks have a special origin story involving Athena, goddess of peace and wisdom. In the founding of Athens, a contest between Poseidon, god of the sea, and Athena occurred, where each deity presented a gift to the newly founded city. Poseidon struck a salt-water spring out of the rocky hilltop, while next to it Athena drove her spear into the ground and it transformed into the olive tree. Athena’s gift was judged more valuable, and has proved a wise, useful, and charming gift ever since.

2. At LUSH, we only use high-quality vegetable oils and butters that come from nuts and seeds. Plant material like this has oils inside to nourish the seedlings, and humans can gain as well from this energy source. LUSH formulas never use mineral oil, which is a low-cost option derived from petroleum. We are a results-driven brand, and the ingredients we choose to use reflect that. When you see “extra-virgin olive oil” or EVOO (as chefs sometimes refer to it) that means the first (and purest) press, which is the most expensive (usually), followed by continual presses and resulting grades of oil.

3. The Olive Branch shower gel is made with a fairly-traded, extra-virgin olive oil produced near Nazareth. We buy from Sindyanna, which is called a “greenhouse of peace” by its proprietors. They bring people from Arab and Israeli communities together in a cooperative setting with financial gain, as they not only grow, harvest, and express beautiful EVOO, but lead workshops on basket-weaving and other trades for themselves. In particular, women in the area have gained financial footing and self-confidence. This is one very tasty path towards peace, and feels amazing when slathered all over your body in the shower, too.

4. Peace Massage Bar is blend of literal and figuratively tranquil ingredients. It’s designed to help align feelings of calm and an easement of anger with the power of touch. In a holistic way, you are what you use with this bar: olive oil came up as an option so we chose to source from Sindyanna, our peaceful supplier of olive oil. Using ingredients like our fairly-traded extra-virgin olive oil makes us feel as good inside as skin feels outside.

5. Olive trees can live hundreds of years, another sign of their symbolic endurance. On the Greek isle of Crete, the famous Olive Tree of Vouves is an attraction whose age no one quite knows. The tree is estimated to be at least 3,000 years old however, and is one of several ancient olive trees still alive and producing olives today.

6. Winners of the ancient Olympics were crowned in olive wreathes, a tradition reinstated at the 2004 Athens Summer Games. In the original version of the Games, there were no medals of Gold, Silver and Bronze; just one winner per event was adorned with the olive wreath. As well as being an international herald of peace, the olive branch used in this symbolizes triumph and the celebration of a just outcome.

7. Judeo-Christian scripture recounts Noah sending out a dove to explore after floods consumed the earth, and stranded their Arc. The first day, the dove returned with nothing. The second day, the dove returned carrying an olive branch, a sign of life and hope elsewhere--and the third day the dove did not return, assumed to have settled back in the olive tree’s prosperous branches to rebuild its place on earth.

8. A culinary delight for your taste buds might be sliced avocados drizzled in lemongrass-infused olive oil. A bathing delight that would match that is Avobath, the Bath Bomb mash-up result of those nourishing and rejuvenating ingredients. It’s been a bestseller for many years because of massive zing delivered from the lemongrass and brilliant green water. The luxurious silken feel of the water comes from our special blend of avocado and olive oil prepared fresh for each batch.

9. One of the kindest results olive oil can deliver is to be a gentle and effective remedy for cradle cap. This is sometimes called “baby dandruff” and occurs on infants and small children, most likely the result of sebum levels being out of whack on the scalp. It’s not harmful, but can be unsightly, and a very safe and simple solution is to rub olive into the affected area. Because it’s rife with squalene, which is also found naturally in our skin’s sebum, it’s an easy friend to the skin cells and helps sort trouble out.

10. While it’s beneficial on the scalp, it’s also deeply conditioning for strands of hair. Coating hair in olive oil for 20 minutes will make it up to 3 times stronger than if left alone. So regular washing and conditioning with Rehab shampoo and Retread conditioner will restore life and character to hair that’s lacking. For that same reason, LUSH Hair Treatments such as Marilyn, Jasmine & Henna Fluff-Eaze and the damage-smoothing miracle worker, H'suan Wen Hua are formulated with olive oil. These are designed as deep-treatment masks to soak into strands for a minimum of 20 minutes before washing out. Though there are a lot of key ingredients to thank, olive oil will work out the peace agreement between you and your hair.

“Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin. Dance me through the panic 'til I'm gathered safely in. Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove…” So hums the line from the song “Dance Me To The End Of Time”, the line that inspired the shower gel favorite, The Olive Branch. Reassure yourself (or a very special loved one) that peace is available every day with LUSH products rich in olive oil. It’s a sign of the continual benefit received from Athena’s everlasting gift.