The olive, known by the botanical name Olea europaea, meaning "European olive", is a species of small tree in the family Oleaceae, found in the Mediterranean Basin from Portugal to the Levant, the Arabian Peninsula, and southern Asia as far east as China, as well as the Canary Islands and Réunion. The species is cultivated in many places and considered naturalized in all the countries of the Mediterranean coast, as well as in Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Java, Norfolk Island, California, and Bermuda.
In Roman literature, the olive branch is used as a symbol of peace: "extending the olive branch". In Christianity, too, it is seen as a symbol of peace, because according to the Bible, a dove brought an olive branch to Noah to show that the flood was over. Many writers and illustrators use olive branches around text to give it greater artistic credit (a similar effect is achieved with wheat).
Olive Extract - seed fraction (lat. Olea europea) is extremely rich source of several compounds i.a. polyphenols, powerful antioxidants and anti inflammatory compounds. It also provides verbascosides, oleosides, tyrosol, rutin and luteolin.
The chemical composition of olive stone and olive seed has been carefully examined. (see a papper → Olive stone an attractive source of bioactive and valuable compounds pdf file, 10 pages). Cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin are the major constituents of olive stone and lipids, proteins and polyphenols are the major constituents of the seed inside the stone.
† A polyol is an organic compound containing multiple hydroxyl groups. Sugar alcohols, a class of polyols, are commonly obtained by hydrogenation of sugars.
Olive stone oil is far more rich source of PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids) and several plant sterols as compared to cold pressured olive oil. Polyunstaurated fatty acids are precursors for eicosanoids including prostaglandins, leukotrienes, and thromboxanes, which have hormone-like activities.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids, especially the omega-3 and -6 series, are found in cold-water fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, cod, and anchovy), vegetable oils, flax seeds, walnuts, and some types of vegetables. A fatty acid is called omega-3 when the first double bond is located at the third carbon from the methyl group (CH3) and omega-6 when the double bond is at the sixth carbon of the chain from the same radical.
The omega-3 fatty acids should be consumed in a balanced ratio with omega-6 fatty acids. Nutritionists believe that an ideal ratio would be approximately 5:1 omega-6 to omega-3. Besides their nutritional role in the diet, omega-3 fatty acids can help to prevent or treat a variety of diseases, including heart disease, cancer, arthritis, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease, among others (Riediger et al., 2009).
Recent studies have shown that polyunsaturated fatty acids and their derivatives have strong antinociceptive effects against thermal and chemical stimulation in several animal models (Nakamoto, et al, 2010; Tokuyama and Nakamoto, 2011; Xue et al., 2006). Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), for example, is a predominant omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid found in marine ﬁsh; it is highly concentrated in the brain and in the retina in humans and showed an antinociceptive effect in a tail-flick, formalin and acetic acid writhing test in mice (Nakamoto, et al., 2010). It was also shown that a prophylactic diet rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids attenuates the development of thermal hyperalgesia following spinal cord injury, possibly due to the better bioavailability of the anti-inflammatory lipid mediators. The anti-inflammatory effects of this enriched diet were evident by a significant reduction in levels of inflammatory biomarkers, including inositols and phosphorylated p38 MAPK in spinal dorsal horn neurons (Figueroa et al, 2013).
The reducing power of the extracts of the seed has been attributed to the presence of glucose. Studies about sugars in the olive stone began with paper chromatography and gas–liquid chromatography (Rivas, 1983). Sucrose, glucose, fructose, arabinose, xilose, mannitol and mioinositol were determined.
Fernández-Bolaños et al., 1983 studied oligosaccharides in the olive seed and described the extraction and characterization of trisaccharide planteose by chromatography system.
*Simple sugars = monosaccharides are the most basic units of carbohydrates. They are fundamental units of carbohydrates and cannot be further hydrolyzed to simpler compounds. Examples of monosaccharides include glucose (dextrose), fructose (levulose) and galactose. Monosaccharides are the building blocks of disaccharides (such as sucrose and lactose) and polysaccharides (such as cellulose and starch). Further, each carbon atom that supports a hydroxyl group (so, all of the carbons except for the primary and terminal carbon) is chiral, giving rise to a number of isomeric forms, all with the same chemical formula
**A polyol is an organic compound containing multiple hydroxyl groups. Sugar alcohols, a class of polyols, are commonly obtained by hydrogenation of sugars.
In the seed, the level of protein is higher than the rest of the olive fruit. Protein content is an important part of the nutritional value of the olive seed. Protein extraction was studied using assays of solubility and precipitation, with concentrates reaching 75% proteins by weight (Fernández, 1960a,b,c,d). Furthermore, the amino acid composition was also determined by the same author by paper electrophoresis. All essential amino acid were present.
Recent studies have demonstrated that the most abundant proteins in the mature olive seeds belong to the 11S protein family (storage protein), accounting for approximately 70% of the total seed proteins (Alché et al., 2006). In this work, the basic or acid character, solubility and localization of 11S proteins was verified by two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, transmission electron microscopy and solubility experiments.
Polyphenols (also known as polyhydroxyphenols) are a structural class of mainly natural, but also synthetic or semisynthetic, organic chemicals characterized by the presence of large multiples of phenol structural units. The number and characteristics of these phenol structures underlie the unique physical, chemical, and biological (metabolic, toxic, therapeutic, etc.) properties of particular members of the class. Examples include tannic acid and ellagitannin. The historically important chemical class of tannins is a subset of the polyphenols.
Olives provide wide range of various polyphenolic compounds. They have significant anti oxidant properties and they play significant role in the taste and chemical properties of olive oil and olives.
Guaiacol and euglenol, which is guaiacol derivate, belong to these compounds. Guaiacol is an oily and colourless liquid with sharp and nice (clove-like) smell. Guaiacol (guaiphenesin or glyceryl guaiacolate) is well known because of its antiseptic and expectorant properties. Guaiacol was traditionaly used in cough medicines (combined with dextromethorphan, as an antitussive preparation, such as in Mucinex or Robitussin. Eugenol is present in certain essential oils (nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, bay leaf) and it is used in perfumes and flavourings because of its specific smell. It is also used as a local antiseptic and anaesthetic.
Guaiphenesin* is thought to act as an expectorant by increasing the volume and reducing the viscosity of secretions in the trachea and bronchi. It has been said to aid in the flow of respiratory tract secretions, allowing ciliary movement to carry the loosened secretions upward toward the pharynx. Thus, it may increase the efficiency of the cough reflex and facilitate removal of the secretions.
*Guaiphenesin in the UK, and guaifenesin in the US
Guaiphenesin has muscle relaxant and anticonvulsant properties and may be acting as an NMDA receptor antagonist. NMDA receptor stands for N-Methyl-D-aspartate receptor. NMDA receptor antagonists induce a state called dissociative anaesthesia and might be responsible for its toxicity in higher doses.
Beneficial effect of guaiphenesin (guaiacol derivate) in fibromyalgia syndrome has been show in several pappers. See the paper by Mark London → The Truths and Myths of the use of Guaifenesin for Fibromyalgia.
Dr. Paul St. Amand, endocrinologist, who also suffers from fibromialgia himself, as several his family members, investigates guaiphenesin (ethereal derivate of guaiacol) application in fibromyalgia. As a theoretical background is an assumption (we do not have knowledge if it has been confirmed scientifically) that low energy level of cells due to low level of ATP is responsible for several fibromyalgia symptoms. This low ATP level is due to accumulation of phosphates in tissues. Dr. Amand believes that guaiphenesin may help to remove the surplus of phosphates trough kidneys and reverse the process that as he believes is in the background of fibromyalgia. Dr. Amand set up a fibromyalgia proceeding system so called guaifenesin protocol, where besides guaifenesin administration any form of salicylates‡ are excluded (eliminated).
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