Ch. 14: Oleic Acid

Olive Oil

Oleic Acid is the main ingredient in Olive Oil. Olive Oil, a valued trade item, was the driving force of the Mediterranean societies. This golden oil was always the foundation upon which the post-classical Mediterranean societies based their their economic prosperity on, and this beloved oil was at the heart of their culture. Throughout history, olive oil has been used as fuel in lamps, for cosmetic purposes, fragrances, as a cure for numerous diseases and a painkiller. One of the reasons that olive oil was so effective as a painkiller, was because it also contains salicylic acid, the same molecule that is the active ingredient in aspirin. (Le Couteur & Burreson 270-290)

Another Reason why olive oil was so valued was because it did not spoil as quickly as other oils. This is due to olive oil's lower proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids is 10% lower than other oils. Furthermore, olive oil contains small amounts of polyphenols and vitamin E and K. These molecules are all antioxidants, which play an important role in the natural preservation of of the olive oil. (Le Couteur & Burreson 270-290)