All olives in general are known as “elaía” in Greek which means “olive fruit” and “olive tree” while “élaion” means “olive oil”, both words being of Mycenaean origin deriving from the words “e-ra-wa”, “e-ra-wo” and “e-rai-wo”. You would probably ask why the Mycenaeans, not the Athenians, in case Athena gave the olive tree as a gift to the residents of Athens. The answer’s simple.
The early Minoan Civilization on the amazing Island of Crete was the first to cultivate olive trees and produce olive oil around 3500 BC. It became inseparable part of their traditions, culinary and trade (they were a great exporter of olive oil to Africa and the Middle East) step-by-step. That trade flourished in other cultures like the Mycenaean Civilization as well. The Mycenaeans as well as other cultures of the Ancient Hellenic world exported both olives and olive oil in the period from 1600–1150 BC.
Due to its increasing and growing at a fast pace importance in Ancient Greece, it became undisputed part of ancient medicine in the seventh century. Hippocrates and other philosophers and physicians used olive oil widely for treating and curing their patients. Thus a law was passed in Athens which regulated the usage of the precious tree. Olive tree was also used in the Olympic Games and it turned into their symbol and part of the prizes which players were awarded with. That way olive oil gained its nickname – “liquid gold”.
Nowadays we use it in a daily life but it’s up to us to choose which type of olive oil to choose – Virgin … More Virgin … Extra Virgin olive oil, in order to overcome health problems of a various nature – digestive and skin problems, to cure a sore throat, congestion, and other respiratory complaints, or to simply use it for healthier meals.