Olive Oil: More than for a Salad; Pain Relief Properties


A study from 2005 may have brought some information that has long been known by natural healers to the forefront of Western medicine. Extra virgin, fresh olive oil contains an ingredient that has been shown to be an anti-inflammatory.

Western medicine has been based on scientific evidence paired with the belief that pharmaceutical products known as NSAIDs were pretty much the only answer for pain relief. Since NSAIDs have harsh side effects as well as potential additional problems with elevation of other medical conditions, finding almost the same properties in freshly pressed, extra virgin olive oil is an astounding discovery.

It appears that the freshly pressed, extra virgin olive oil acts in the same manner as the anti-inflammatory drugs, both prescription and over the counter (eg ibuprofen or aspirin). The enzyme that is contained in the olive oil is call oleocanthal and may also be associated with some of the health benefits that are coming to light in the Mediterranean diet. The health problems that have been linked to inflammation and seem to be addressed by the diet include breast cancer, heart disease, stroke, some forms of dementia and lung cancer.

Monell Chemical Senses Center and researcher, Paul Breslin, PhD stated in a news release, “Now that we know of oleocanthal’s anti-inflammatory properties, it seems plausible that oleocanthal plays a causal role in the health benefits associated with diets where olive oil is the principal source of fat.”

The researchers began examining the enzyme and found that it inhibited the Cox-1 and Cox-2 inflammatory activity in the same way that anti-inflammatory medications did. This process actually impedes the chemical messenger production that is the cause of swelling and pain in arthritis inflammation. The initial discovery was alerted when they realized that ingestion of freshly pressed, extra virgin olive oil cause the same back of the throat irritation as was found in taking NSAIDs. The results of the study was published in the September issue of Nature.

The news was a refreshing alert for everyone in the natural health industries as many people that experience pain did not have an alternative beyond the NSAIDs medications. These medicines can often interact with other medications as well as have the possibility of causing health problems within the body that were not originally associated with the pain situation.

Researchers are finding that there is a significant correlation between a variety of diseases and chronic inflammation. The discovery of the natural ingredients in olive oil make it an excellent alternative for both ingestion and as an additive for topical pain relief treatments.

Always confer with a primary care physician before making any changes or additions to your medical regiment, including any dietary alterations. Certain products can interact or enhance the properties of existing medications which can cause additional health risks.