Posted by: lisetta | July 16, 2008

Olive oil remedy

A curious thing happened today: my salad dressing stopped an allergic reaction. I was not imagining things – Marni witnessed it. My eye was all red and inflamed one moment, then a few bites into the salad, it all stopped. Honestly. How the heck could this be? At first I thought it might be the balsamic vinegar I used (way too much of, sadly), but I could find nothing online to suggest that to be the case. I did, however, learn something very interesting about olive oil, the only other ingredient I used.

Research (from 2005) coming out of the Monell Chemical Senses Centre, right next door to my office building, suggests that olive oil has anti-inflammatory properties. Here’s a brief excerpt from their news page:

A naturally-occuring chemical found in extra-virgin olive oils is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agent, report scientists from the Monell Chemical Senses Center and collaborators.  Named oleocanthal by the researchers, the compound inhibits activity of cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes, a pharmacological action shared by ibuprofen.  The finding is significant because inflammation increasingly is believed to play a key role in a variety of chronic diseases.

Who knew?  I would much rather take a few spoonfuls of olive oil than a pop a few Advil, especially if I get some warm bread with them. Assuming that I will again need an NSAID after more core strength training, maybe *an olive oil cure* would be the right motivation for me to continue? (My lack of will is remarkably potent. Why all the mental twists and turns over some stupid crunches and bicycles?)

Tomorrow is July 17th, a day I used to imagine as bringing joy. Now it brings only dread, largely symbolic. Sigh. 12:08 am. I guess it’s officially here. Nothing I can do but live through it. Wish me strength.



  1. Why do you need strength for July 17th? Why dread? Interesting about the olive oil..I’ll try it. This morn I woke up @ 5:00 sneezing and with a headache. First time allergies woke me up! They stayed for several hours, then departed. Mom has bad blood results about her kidneys, due to too much advil. who knew?

  2. Some things are better left unarticulated, in public or private. Maybe your mom can try an olive oil cure? It goes with just about everything. I had olive oil gelato once. Was thinking if I had a milder oil I could try making that flavor this weekend instead of saffron. Want to come over?

  3. Just FYI, to deal with a sinus headache this morning, I took an Advil. While I like the *idea* of an olive oil cure, I doubt that it has any actual immediate effect. 🙂 Just some late-night connections my mind made the other day.

  4. I used an article about that research in my academic vocabulary class (very popular with the Spaniards), but I haven’t noticed the effect myself. I think it talked specifically about alleviating irritation in the throat, so it’s interesting to me that it worked on the irritation of your eye.

    What about herbs and spices? Have you ever had an effect from them? My mom’s been using capsicum (hot pepper) cream on joint pain, and it works for her.

  5. Saffron makes me happy. Does that count? I honestly don’t have a sense of which herbs heal which wounds. I used to have books on that sort of thing but they’ve fallen victim to one of my Philly book purges. Wonder why/how hot pepper cream soothes joint pain?! Placebo?

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