• Name : Jaitun Taila
  • English Name :Olive Oil
  • Scientific Name :Oleum Olea europaea



Olive Oil is obtained from Olive drupes, a crop native to Mediterranean.


Morphology Description (Habit):

The colour of olive oil varies from light to dark green or dark yellow or light. The colour is determined by the substance of dominant colour of the fruit at harvest.

The oil usually has a bitter taste. Olive oil can also have a vivid green colour if the leaves or twigs of olive trees have been added during grinding. There are various types of Olive Oil depending upon the purity ? Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Virgin Olive Oil, Refined Olive Oil and Pomace Olive Oil.


Parts Used:

Oil pressed from the fruits



Olive oil is composed mainly of the mixed triglyceride esters of oleic acid and palmitic acid and of other fatty acids, along with traces of squalene (up to 0.7%) and sterols (about 0.2% phytosterol and tocosterols).


Pharmacological Actions:

Olive oil is the main source of calories in the Mediterranean diet, a large number of studies have been carried out to characterize its role in various diseases and exploitation for the prevention and treatment of hypertension, carcinogenesis, diabetes, atherosclerosis, and other diseases. As one of the major polyphenols present in virgin olive oil, hydroxytyrosol shows a variety of pharmacological activities such as antioxidant properties, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective activities, and beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system, which show its potentiality for the development of dietary supplements.1

The primary pharmacological actions of this soothing oil are summarized as under:


Central Nervous System:

i. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a neurodegenerative disease associated with mutations in antioxidant enzyme Cu/Zn-superoxide dismutase 1. It was demonstrated that EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) may be effective in increasing survival rate, improving motor coordination together with a potential amelioration of ER stress, autophagy and muscle damage.2


Cardiovascular System: 

i. Olive oil consumption, specifically the extra-virgin variety, is associated with reduced risks of cardiovascular disease and mortality in individuals at high cardiovascular risk.3

ii. Extra-virgin olive oil in the context of a Mediterranean dietary pattern may reduce the risk of atrial fibrillation.4

iii. EVOO exerts significant hypolipidemic effect.5

iv. Hydroxytyrosol (HT), a major polyphenolic compound in virgin olive oil, has received increased attention for its antioxidative activity and regulation of mitochondrial function. In an animal study, HT could prevent high-fat-diet (HFD)-induced obesity, hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia, and insulin resistance. Within liver and skeletal muscle tissues, HT could decrease HFD-induced lipid deposits through inhibition of the SREBP-1c/FAS pathway, ameliorate HFD-induced oxidative stress by enhancing antioxidant enzyme activities, normalize expression of mitochondrial complex subunits and mitochondrial fission marker Drp1, and eventually inhibit apoptosis activation. Moreover, in muscle tissue, the levels of mitochondrial carbonyl protein were decreased and mitochondrial complex activities were significantly improved by HT supplementation. HT significantly decreased fasting glucose, similar to metformin. Notably, HT decreased serum lipid, at which metformin failed. Also, HT was more effective at decreasing the oxidation levels of lipids and proteins in both liver and muscle tissue. This study linked the olive oil component HT to diabetes and metabolic disease through changes that are not limited to decreases in oxidative stress, suggesting a potential pharmaceutical or clinical use of HT in metabolic syndrome treatment.6


Skin and Hair: 

i. Oleuropein, a phenolic compound derived from olive leaves and oil, is known to possess several biological properties, many of which may be attributed to its antioxidant and free radical-scavenging activities. Nevertheless, up to now, the cosmetic activity of this molecule has not been extensively investigated. This component endows significant lenitive sun protection effect to OIive oil; it helps reduce UVB induced erythema, TEWL (transepidermal water loss) and blood flow.7

ii. Olive oil acts as a penetration enhancer and is used in topical preparations for better absorption of medicaments.

iii. Accelerates wound healing process and acts as a skin protector.

iv. Improves the health and strength of hair.

v. Owing to high antioxidant content, it protects the skin and hair against premature aging.



i. Olive oil phenolic constituents may be useful in the treatment of various inflammatory diseases.8

ii. Olive oil consumption is linked to a variety of health benefits and may represent a starting point for the development of new anticancer strategies.9

iii. The decreased cancer risk associated with consumption of olive oil may be due to the presence of phenolics which can modulate pathways including apoptosis and invasion that are relevant to carcinogenesis.10

iv. Hydroxytyrosol (HT) from Olive Oil has the capability of inhibiting proliferation, inducing G2/M cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in human Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) cells. It was also observed that HT could suppress the activation of AKT and nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) pathways. HT also significantly inhibited the tumor growth, angiogenesis and the activation of AKT and NF-κB pathways in an orthotopic model of human HCC in vivo. These data suggest that HT may be a promising candidate agent for the treatment of HCC.11

v. EVOO has a significant analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer properties.12

vi. The health benefits of the Mediterranean diet can be largely ascribed to the nutraceutical properties of extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO). Mono-unsaturated fatty acids and various phenolic compounds, such as oleocanthal, oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol, and tyrosol, are the main nutraceutical substances of EVOO. These substances have been suggested to have the ability to modulate aging-associated processes. In experimental models, it has been shown that EVOO with high concentrations of polyphenols has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Indeed, it was observed that hydroxytyrosol and oleocanthal inhibit the cyclooxygenases (COX-1 and -2) responsible for prostaglandin production; oleuropein is a radical scavenger that blocks the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins.13



Skin Health

Hair Health

Cardiovascular Health




1. Hu T, He XW, Jiang JG, Xu XL. Hydroxytyrosol and its potential therapeutic effects. J Agric Food Chem. 2014 Feb 19;62(7):1449-55.

2. Oliv?n S, Mart?nez-Beamonte R, Calvo AC, et al. Extra virgin olive oil intake delays the development of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis associated with reduced reticulum stress and autophagy in muscle of SOD1G93A mice. J Nutr Biochem. 2014. pii: S0955-2863(14)00093-X.

3. Guasch-Ferr? M, Hu FB, Mart?nez-Gonz?lez MA, et al. Olive oil intake and risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality in the PREDIMED Study. BMC Med. 2014 May 13;12(1):78.

4. Mart?nez-Gonz?lez MA, Toledo E, Ar?s F, et al. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Consumption Reduces Risk of Atrial Fibrillation: The PREDIMED Trial. Circulation. 2014.

5. Priore P, Siculella L, Gnoni GV1. Extra virgin olive oil phenols down-regulate lipid synthesis in primary-cultured rat-hepatocytes. J Nutr Biochem. 2014 Jul;25(7):683-91.

6. Cao K1, Xu J1, Zou X2, et al. Hydroxytyrosol prevents diet-induced metabolic syndrome and attenuates mitochondrial abnormalities in obese mice. Free Radic Biol Med. 2014 Feb;67:396-407.

7. Perugini P1, Vettor M, Rona C, et al. Efficacy of oleuropein against UVB irradiation: preliminary evaluation. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2008 Apr;30(2):113-20.

8. Impellizzeri D1, Esposito E, Mazzon E, et al. The effects of oleuropein aglycone, an olive oil compound, in a mouse model of carrageenan-induced pleurisy. Clin Nutr. 2011 Aug;30(4):533-40.

9. Coccia A1, Bastianelli D, Mosca L, et al. Extra Virgin Olive Oil Phenols Suppress Migration and Invasion of T24 Human Bladder Cancer Cells Through Modulation of Matrix Metalloproteinase-2. Nutr Cancer. 2014; 11:1-9.

10. Hashim YZ1, Worthington J, Allsopp P, et al. Virgin olive oil phenolics extract inhibit invasion of HT115 human colon cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. Food Funct. 2014.

11. Zhao B1, Ma Y1, Xu Z2, et al. Hydroxytyrosol, a natural molecule from olive oil, suppresses the growth of human hepatocellular carcinoma cells via inactivating AKT and nuclear factor-kappa B pathways. Cancer Lett. 2014 May 28;347(1):79-87.

12. Fezai M1, Senovilla L2, Jema? M3, Ben-Attia M1. Analgesic, anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities of extra virgin olive oil. J Lipids. 2013;2013:129736.

13. Virruso C1, Accardi G, Colonna-Romano G, Candore G, Vasto S, Caruso C. Nutraceutical properties of extra-virgin olive oil: a natural remedy for age-related disease? Rejuvenation Res. 2014 Apr;17(2):217-20.


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