Master plant: Olea europea L.
Oleaceae (Olive family)
Oleum Oleae europeae
INCI: Olea Europaea
The Olive was a native to Asia Minor and spread to the rest of the Mediterranean basin 6,000 years ago. It is among the oldest known cultivated trees in the world - being grown before the written language was invented. Today, olive trees are grown on all continents.
Characteristics and subtances:
The main component of olive oil is oleic acid (55-85%), a mono-unsaturated fatty acid, linoleic acid (6-10%) and other fatty acids. Olive Oil contains both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are important and are particularly high in oily fish such as salmon. Olive oil is about 10% linoleic acid (an omega 6 oil) and about 1% linolenic acid (an omega 3 oil), therefore the ratio is 10:1
Extra Virgin olive oil is obtained only from the olive, the fruit of the olive tree, using solely mechanical or other physical means in conditions, particularly thermal conditions, which do not alter the oil in any way. It has not undergone any treatment other than washing, decanting, centrifuging and filtering.
Furthermore Extra Virgin olive oil has a free acidity of not more than 0.8 grams per 100 grams (0.8%) as opposed to Virgin olive oil (max. 2%).
Extra Virgin olive oil is a superb tasting edible oil.
Olive oil is also used as a base oil with extraction oils (Mazerates) such as arnica oil.