Olive oil – wonder drug?

I found this article after reading a comment blakelylaw made about using extra-virgin olive oil and oregano oil to soothe itchy bites. She said the oils could be used topically or ingested. Curiosity aroused, I had to follow it up — and this was the result:

A substance has been found in extra-virgin olive oil that has anti-inflammatory properties — and may explain why a Mediterranean diet benefits health.

This substance, named oleocanthal, acts like ibuprofen as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID).

The researchers remark: “The Mediterranean diet, of which olive oil is a central component, has long been associated with numerous health benefits, including decreased risk of stroke, heart disease, breast cancer, lung cancer, and some dementias. Similar benefits are associated with certain NSAIDs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen.

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.”