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Representing wisdom and peace the olive tree was already discovered thousands of years ago as a valuable medicinal plant. Many myths and legends have surrounded it since then. While it was a symbol of hope in the Christian West, in Islam it was revered as a symbol of fertility and eternal life, and was held to be sacred in ancient Greece. In many cultures its precious oil has been used for cooking and preserving, as well as for body care and as a medicinal remedy.
The olive tree (Latin name: Olea europae) is as tough and enduring as the sun. While the sun’s rays dry out and scorch vegetation in hot regions, they also promote the olive tree’s growth and, with their blazing strength, stimulate the formation of its oil. With its evergreen leaves and tireless regenerative strength, the olive tree is a symbol of life. For millennia, its oil has been prized around the world and has played a significant role in the healing arts.
Spain is today the largest olive producer worldwide, cultivating more than 200 olive varieties. In northern Andalusia in the mountains near Cordoba, the Los Pedroches cooperative is a grouping of more than 400 smallholders who cultivate olive trees on more than 8,000 hectares of land according to organic or biodynamic farming methods. Here, values such as sustainability, biodiversity, environmental protection and respect for the earth are of the utmost importance. The cooperative has largely converted to organic farming. Instead of eradicating pests with pesticides and insecticides, for example, traps are hung up in the trees. Sheep graze peacefully all over the farm, which keeps weeds at bay naturally. Through intensive manual labour in the barren Sierra with its steep slopes, the smallholder farmers can react individually to the natural conditions and the needs of the plants and connect completely with what they do. This serves as a good foundation for sharpening their awareness of quality standards and their appreciation for the plants. It’s also an important prerequisite for Weleda, which sources highest-quality olive oil exclusively through the long-term and sustainable relationship it has with this cooperative.
Every year in November, the ripe olives with their high oil content and their bitter notes typical for the region are harvested mainly by hand and then brought to the oil mill of the Los Pedroches cooperative.
As soon as the bulging sacks of organic olives arrive in the cooperative’s courtyard, they are carefully inspected, freed from leaves and bits of rock and then washed. Only then they are allowed to travel down the long conveyor belts into the oil mill. A roller crushes the fruit into a paste which is then tumbled and spun twice in giant centrifuges to completely separate the oil from residual pits, pulp, skin and water. Care is taken throughout the entire process not to raise the temperature above 27 degrees Celsius, in order to preserve the olives’ precious properties. The result is highest-quality organic olive oil of the grade “Virgin Extra”.
Leftovers from the oil extraction process are recycled, returning to nature some of what it has given to people. All of the oil mills’ by-proe pomace is composted and returned to the plants as high-quality fertiliser, while the olive kernels are ground and pressed into pellets for use as biomass fuel. This completes the cycle of give and take.
Olive oil is rich in unsaturated fatty acids which have a positive effect in our diet on our cardiovascular system and lipid metabolism. Additionally, it has very good skincare properties. For Weleda olive oil is therefore an excellent carrier oil for the highly effective plant substances that contribute significantly to the beneficial capabilities of Weleda products.
The yellow to green-yellow olive oil works as a perfect massage oil, as well as for the attention of normal to combination skin. It has outstanding skin care benefits, it is very kind to the skin and it is a great carrier oil for active agents. Therefore, it is highly suitable for normal to dry skin and it leaves the skin feeling soft and silky. Olive Oil is characterised by its high content of unsaturated oleic acid.
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