Olive Oil

From London's Ghost Acres

Used in soap-making.

Olive oil is the pressed oil obtained from olives. It is used in cooking, cosmetics, soaps, lamp fuel, and pharmaceuticals. (

It was used in the Pharmacoepia to form plasters, ointments, liniments, and soaps. In the Compendium, olive oil was said to render vegetables in salads more digestible while also reducing flatulence. However, taken in larger doses could result in dyspeptic complaints.

British Pharmacopoeia 1867

Preparations of Olive Oil

Blistering Paper / Charta Epispastica[1]

  • White wax (4 oz), spermaceti ( ½ oz), olive oil (2 fl oz), resin (3/4 oz), Canada balsam (1/4 oz), cantharides, in powder (1 oz), distilled water (6 oz)

Ammoniacum and Mercury Plaster / Emplastrum Ammoniaci cum [2]

  • Ammoniacum (12 oz), mercury (3 oz), olive oil (1 fl drachm), sublimed sulphur (8 grains)

Mercurial Plaster / Emplastrum Hydrargyri [3]

  • mercury (3 oz), olive oil (1 fl drachm), sublimed sulphur (8 grains), lead plaster (6 oz)

Pitch Plaster / Emplastrum Picis [4]

  • burgundy pitch (26 oz), common frankincense (13 oz), resin (4 ½ oz), yellow wax (4 ½ oz), expressed oil of nutmeg (1 oz), olive oil (2 fl oz), water (2 fl oz)

Lead Plaster / Emplastrum Plumbi[5]

  • syn: emplastrum lithargyri, 1864
  • oxide of lead, in a fine powder (4 lbs), olive oil (1 gallon), water (3 ½ pints)
  • used om the preparations of: Emplastrum Ferri, Emplastrum Galbani, Emplastrum Hydrargyri, Emplastrum Resinae, Emplastrum Saponis

Enema of Sulphate of Magnesia / Enema Magnesiae Sulphatis [6]

  • syn: enema catharticum
  • sulphate of magnesia (1 oz), olive oil (1 fl oz), mucilage of statch (15 fl oz)

Liniment of Ammonia / Linimentum Ammoniae [7]

  • solution of ammonia (1 fl oz), olive oil (3 fl oz)

Liniment of Camphor / Linimentum Camphorae [8]

  • Camphor (1 oz), olive oil (4 fl oz)
  • used in the preparations of: Linimentum Chloroformi, Linimentum Hydrargyri, Linimentum Terebinthinae aceticum

Hard Soap / Sapo Durus [9]

  • “Soap made with olive oil and soda… Greyish-white, dry, inodorous; horny and pulverisable when kept in dry warm air; easily moulded when heated.
  • used in the preparations of: Emplastrum Resinae, Emplastrum Saponis, Extractum Colocynthidis compositum, Linimentum Potassi Iodidi cum Sapone, Linimentum Saponia, Pilula Aloes Barbadensis, PIlula Aloes et Assafoetidae, Pilula Aloes Socotrine, Pilula Cambogiae composita, Pilula Rhei composita, Pilula Saponis composita, Pilula Scillae composita.

Soft Soap / Sapo Mollis[10]

  • “Soap made with olive oil and potash… Yellowish-green, inodorous, of a gelatinous consistency.”
  • Used in the preparations of Linimentum Terebinthinae

Ointment of Nitrate of Mercury / Unguentum Hydrargyri Nitratis[11]

  • syn: Unguentum Citrinum
  • mercury, by weight (4 oz), nitric acid (12 fl oz), prepared lard (15 oz), olive oil (32 fl oz)

Ointment of Veratria / Unguentum Veratriae [12]

  • Veratria (8 grains), prepared lard (1 oz), olive oil (1/2 fl drachm)

A Compendium of Domestic Medicine, 1865

Olive oil can be given to treat coughs and catarrhs, and can be rubbed on the body to treat dropsy. “When olive oil is used in salads, or as a seasoning for raw vegetables, it seems to render then more digestible, and prevents them from producing flatulence; but when taken in large quantities it cloys that stomach, and becomes the source of dyspeptic affections.”

Olive oil is one of the recommended lubricants for use with the Indian-Rubber Bottle when performing an enema.[13]

Remedies Containing or to be used with Olive Oil

  • Ammonia, Water of: olive oil included in “Ammoniated Liniment” and “The Ammoniated Liniment with Camphor,” presumably as a binding agent[14]
  • Laudanum: combined with olive oil (or other oils) to make a liniment for “rubbing parts attacked with pains or spasms; and, when applied to the pit of the stomach, it frequently stops violent and continued vomiting.”[15]
  • Oil of Cajuput: diluted with olive oil to form a rubefacient to treat gout and rheumatism and also provide relief and restoring joints weakened by sprains.[16]
  • Oil of Olives: see def[17]
  • Plaster, Blister: once the rubefacient takes effect (reddening of the skin), the area should be bathed in a mixture of laudanum and olive oil. If irritation continues, lime-water and olive oil or lard can be applied to provide some relief.[18]
  • Spirit of Camphor: combined with olive oil to create a liniment used on areas strained or affected by chronic rheumatism. It can also be applied to relieve chilblains.[19]

Diseases Treated with Olive Oil

General Diseases

  • Burns and Scalds: “Equal parts of lime-water and olive oil are also used to allay the heat and inflammation consequent upon burns and scalds.” Olive oil is used in combination with Goulard’s water and rose water to form a liniments. “Equal parts of chloroform, olive oil and lime-water, has been found highly useful in superficial burns.”[20]

Medical Articles Containing Olive Oil

  • Cathartic or Purging Clyster: olive oil “This clyster is used to relieve the bowels when cathartics do not sufficiently act, or where it is found inconvenient to exhibit them by the mouth”[21]
  • Deafness from Deficient Secretion of Wax: olive oil (two drops in the ear at bedtime)[22]


  1. General Medical Council of Great Britain, British Pharmacopeia, (London: Spottiswoode & Co.,1867), 79
  2. GMCGB, 104
  3. GMCGB, 107
  4. GMCGB, 108
  5. GMCGB, 108
  6. GMCGB, 110
  7. GMCGB, 171
  8. GMCGB, 172
  9. GMCGB, 276
  10. GMCGB, 276
  11. GMCGB, 356
  12. GMCGB, 361
  13. Savory, John. A Compendium of Domestic Medicine (London: John Churchill and Sons, 1865), 349.
  14. Savory, 18
  15. Savory, 92
  16. Savory, 107
  17. Savory, 108
  18. Savory, 119
  19. Savory, 139
  20. Savory, 210
  21. Savory, 297
  22. Savory, 299

Imported from

Used to Make