During biblical times, olives were one of the most important crops. In addition to being used for food, they were crushed and made into cooling oil, fuel for lamps, medicine to soothe cuts or bruises or dress wounds, and used as a skin moisturizer. Olives are still used that way today.
The Mount of Olives, a prominent place in bible times, is covered with dense olive groves. The name "Gethsemane" means "oil press".
The Aramites revered it as a blessed tree and the Canaanite and Philistines tried to spread its cultivation. There are Egyptian reliefs with images of olive trees.
Oil from the olive crops was and still is used for cooking, ointments, medicines and perfumes.
Health benefits of olive oil include: aiding in the growth of normal bones; reducing bad cholesterol levels, and the risk of gallstones development; and preventing constipation.