Mieh w Mieh - The History of Olive Trees


When you visit Mieh w Mieh, you would see how the village is surrounded by the Holy Olive Trees.

An Olive tree. The most famous trees in Mieh w Mieh. The Olive was a native to Asia Minor and spread from Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine 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. It was being grown on Crete by 3,000 BC and may have been the source of the wealth of the Minoan kingdom. The Phoenicians spread the olive to the Mediterranean shores of Africa and Southern Europe. Olives have been found in Egyptian tombs from 2000 years BC.  The olive culture was spread to the early Greeks then Romans.  As the Romans extended their domain they brought the olive with them.


1400 years ago the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, advised his followers to apply olive oil to their bodies, and himself used oil on his head. The use of oil is found in many religions and cultures. It has been used during special ceremonies and also as a general health measure. During baptism in the Christian church, holy oil, which is often olive oil, may be used for anointment. At the Chrism mass olive oil blessed by the bishop, "chrism", is used in the ceremony.  Like the grape, the Christian missionaries brought the olive tree with them to California for food but also for ceremonial use. Olive oil was used to anoint the early kings of the Greeks and Jews. The Greeks anointed winning athletes. Olive oil has also been used to anoint the dead in many cultures.

The olive trees on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem are reputed to be over 2000 years old, still relative newcomers considering the long domestication of the olive.  We don't know the exact variety of the trees on the Mount. The olive tree has been manipulated by man for so many thousands of years that it is unclear which varieties came from which other varieties. Varieties in one country have been found to be identical to differently named varieties in another. Some research is now being done using gene mapping techniques to figure out the olive family tree. Shrub-like "feral" olives still exist in the middle East which represent the original stock from which all other olives are descended.

In the past several hundred years the olive has spread to North and South America, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.


Olive Oil Usage

Besides its numerous long term health benefits such as reducing the rate of cardiovascular illness and delaying the human aging metabolism, olive oil has some very valuable instant remedies at home. Some of these remedies still in use in Lebanon as well as throughout the Mediterranean region are

Strengthening finger nails: This is achieved by soaking finger nails in warm olive oil for about 5 minutes, then message the nail bed by pushing back the cuticles. This treatment can be repeated twice daily.

Dandruff treatment: This is done by massaging the scalp with olive oil for 5 minutes. Let it sit for 15 minutes and then shampoo normally. This treatment should be done 2 to 3 times a week until symptoms disappear.

Treatment of dry skin: Apply olive oil to skin and massage gently like you would do with any other type of skin lotion. The results are absolutely amazing.

Relieving minor constipation: 1 tablespoon morning and evening is recommended for that purpose.

Relieving colic symptoms of babies: Abdominal massages with warm olive oil provides instant relief.

Removal of head lice: Soaking the hair and scalp with olive oil overnight will kill all the adults by smothering them and it will facilitate the easy removal of eggs by loosening them up.

For healthy and shiny hair: Mix olive oil and egg yolk. Rinse off with lemon juice.

Acne treatment: Mix 2-3 oz. Olive oil with 3 drops of lavender oil.

Treatment of burns: Mix equal parts of olive oil and lime water.



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