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Olive. Olea europea.

Botanical name:

Part Employed—A fixed oil from the pericarp.

Therapy—Olive oil or sweet oil is a nutritive and laxative for children. It must be given in doses of one or two tablespoonful. It can be flavored and rendered palatable. It may be given whenever irritating substances are retained in the intestinal tract and when convulsions are present from gastro-intestinal irritation. It can do no harm. Violent and profound convulsions with acute enteritis, from swallowing the seeds of grapes, have been controlled at once by the writer, with large doses oil internally, and by using rectal injections of the oil very warm, large quantities of the seeds being removed and the local irritation soothed.

It is now generally used internally and externally in the treatment of appendicitis, and it is a most efficacious remedy. It is given freely, internally at regular intervals, and after its external application heat is kept constantly applied. Indicated remedies for the fever and for the prominent symptoms should not be overlooked.

It is of much value in the removal of biliary calculi. In these cases from six to twelve ounces is the necessary quantity for administration, repeated three or four times daily. The influence is often pronounced.

It is an excellent agent in dysentery, whether of infants or adults. It may be given per orem, and a quantity subsequently injected into the rectum after a bowel movement. If for an adult, two ounces, into which ten drops of laudanum has been rubbed, is injected, often the distress is so relieved that it need not be repeated.

The injection of sweet oil is essential in impaction of the feces, and where there is great deficiency of intestinal secretion, or where scybala form, or where there are ulcers or fissures and great pain is induced by the presence of fecal matter in the rectum.

A feeble, newly born infant may be quickly bathed in warm sweet oil and wrapped in cotton, and surrounded by heat and not dressed for several days. The oil can be wiped off once daily with a soft linen cloth and fresh warm oil applied. In healthy infants it is better to apply warm. oil freely, wipe it off once and apply more. The child should then be wrapped in warm wrappings and not dressed for twenty-four hours.

Olive oil is the best of lubricants, and the carbolized oil is used for chafing and upon hands and instruments in surgery, and in vaginal examinations, and in introducing bougies or catheters. If a stream of warm oil be forced into the urethra in spasmodic stricture just in advance of the catheter, the dilation may be made satisfactorily, and the catheter may be introduced when that act was previously impossible.

Olive oil is exceedingly valuable in the treatment of sprained, bruised or contused parts, applied warm on absorbent cotton and kept hot. It acts as nutrition to the part, diffuses the heat and is markedly soothing in its influence.

Olive oil is used to protect the mucous surfaces of the esophagus and stomach when poisoning has occurred from the caustic alkalies. It also forms a neutral innocuous soap with the alkali and can subsequently be removed. With acids it is of no service. In some cases a fatal loss of time occurs from depending upon this, when magnesia or lime water or soda or a soap solution should have been introduced to neutralize the acid.


The American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy, 1919, was written by Finley Ellingwood, M.D.
It was scanned by Michael Moore for the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine.



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