GethsemaneA few weeks ago I had the privilege of standing in Gethsemane myself. Olive trees have enormous life spans and the keepers of the garden said that some of the older trees there were likely present at the time of Christ. It was amazing to stand there with those old souls. Olive trees were to be found nearly everywhere in Israel from the northern borders of Galilee to the banks of the Jordan and everywhere else we went. Except in the most arid, barren desert regions, there were olive trees everywhere. The olive continues to bless us even today. Olive oil is the standard base for making herbal oil infusions and for healing salves and lotions. The leaf is a valuable medicine as well. I have used it for years for it's immune stimulating and anti-microbial properties. In fact, while in Israel, I was fighting a respiratory bug. My throat would start to get scratchy and I'd start feeling it coming on. On each of these occasions I'd merely reach out to the nearest olive tree (there was always one handy) and grab a few leaves. I'd chew them up for as long as I could put up with their exciting level of bitterness and then swallow them. Without exception, I got immediate resolution of my symptoms and enjoyed the whole trip without getting sick. Olive leaf has specific activity against several viruses including influenza, rotavirus and Herpes. It also has good anti-fungal properties and can be used for Candida issues. Olive leaf also has beneficial effects on blood sugar levels. It can also be used with good effect on high blood pressure cases. The leaves also have some important anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties and can even protect the tissues of the gut and the central nervous system. There is some interesting research currently on olive leaf and Alzheimer's disease. From the wood to the fruit to the oil to the medicinal leaf, the olive really is a remarkable blessing. We're luck y to have it. If you live somewhere warm enough to grow a tree, do it. Few things are more beautiful or useful.