Since the times of Ancient Greece, people used leaves of the Greek olive tree as a folk medicine, which was also brewed as a tea. Today, it remains popular, as many believe it stimulates the immune system and can help to treat persistent conditions, such as chronic fatigue.
The olive tree, so closely anchored in Greek culture and life, first appeared in the Mediterranean region. And olive leaf tea has been a staple of ancient Greek civilizations since olives were first cultivated in the 15th century BC.
Olives used throughout antiquity
For thousands of years, Greeks extolled the beauty of the olive tree. Edible olives were grown as a crop on Crete 3,500 years ago. In the time of Homer, between the 12th and 8th century BC, Greek olive oil was highly valued for anointing the body.
An overview of the benefits of drinking Greek olive leaf tea notes that olive leaf extract contains iron, zinc, selenium, chromium, vitamin C, beta-carotene, and a wide range of amino acids
“There’s also clinical evidence of a blood-pressure-lowering effect, and preliminary studies have shown a blood-glucose-lowering effect, suggesting it may be used in future diabetes treatments,” according to healthyfoodguide.com.
Scientists have determined that the active compound in the Greek olive leaf is an antioxidant called oleuropein. Also found in olive leaf tea are phytonutrients, providing higher levels of vitamin C than found in green tea.
Another bonus provided by olive leaf tea is that it is caffeine-free, making it a soothing choice for many as a drink before bed.
The Greek olive tree remains one of the oldest symbols found anywhere in the world, seen in ancient Greek art, poetry, fables, and religious texts. At various times, the Greek olive tree has been the symbol for peace, wisdom, fertility, prosperity, immortality, and success.
Today, the Greek olive tree is known worldwide for the golden tea brewed from its leaves. In addition to tea made from olive leaves, Greece is famous for its olive oil.
Greek olive oil
Greek olive oil is regarded as the best in the world, because extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) comprises at least 80 percent of olive oil production, while in Crete it reaches close to 90 percent.
Rich and aromatic, Greek olive oil is produced only from green olives. Its color, aroma, and flavor vary and depend on the olive variety, location and type of soil where it is cultivated, and the environmental and climatic conditions in which the olive tree is cultivated and grown. These are all vital.
The maturity of the olive itself at the time of harvesting is also important, as are the season and the way in which the olive is harvested. The time delay between the harvesting of the olives up to the production of the olive oil is also important.
The manner in which olive oil is produced, storage techniques, and manner in which the oil is packaged and transported to the oil presses also must be taken into account.