Rajasthan may soon offer a new kind of tea

The Asian Age / PTI

Life, Food

Rajasthan started cultivating olives in 2007. We list five health benefits of olive which shows why this may be a great idea.

State Agriculture Minister Prabhu Lal Saini said the brand, named Olitia, The Olive Tea, will be launched by Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. (Photo: Pixabay)

Kota: The desert state of Rajasthan will soon give the country an alternative to green tea - brewed from olive leaves.

State Agriculture Minister Prabhu Lal Saini said the brand — named Olitia, The Olive Tea — will be launched "very soon" by Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.

"The process has been completed and we will launch it as soon as we get time from the chief minister. It will be the first time in the country and the world that a green tea alternative will be produced out of olive leaves," he said.

Rajasthan started cultivating olives in 2007 in collaboration with Israel and now the state cultivates them on 5,000 hectares, the minister said. "And we have made a lot of progress since then. An olive refinery is operational in the state at Bikaner, also the country's first. We have also began production of olive honey," he said.

Asked how the state got the idea of producing "Olive green tea", Saini said, "I am a PhD in Agriculture myself, and I knew olive leaves have several health benefits. So I decided to get some study and lab testing done about it." He showed several papers with findings of the lab studies.

A lab test, conducted in July, confirmed the presence of several anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory and other such substances in the olive leaves. One of the substances found was Luteolin. "Experiments with Luteolin show that it suppresses bacteria-induced inflammation. Luteolin is an oxygen scavenger," reads the report.

He said the lab tests confirmed the presence of "such strong anti-oxidant" in olive leaves that they can help prevent several types of cancer — blood cancer, prostate cancer and ovaries cancer. After the studies and lab tests confirmed these properties of the olive leaves, the decision to process them was taken, he said.

"It will medically benefit those who suffer from mental stress, cardiac disease. It has anti-inflammatory properties as well," he said.

The Olitia, The Olive Tea, packet also claims it has zero caffeine, builds immunity, fight fatigue and has anti-ageing properties. Saini said the "olive green tea" will come in multiple flavours which are in vogue these days like exotic, lemon and mint. "We are trying to diversify and produces other flavours like ginger, Tulsi etc," he said.

"We have received proposals from various countries including the UK, the USA and from the Gulf, that they want to sign MoUs in this regard," he said.

The agriculture minister said that 66 per cent of "our state has arid or semi-arid climatic conditions. But we are among the leaders in the country as far as agricultural innovation is concerned thanks to the chief minister, scientists, officials and the people".

We also list five health benefits of olive oil

They protect against colon, breast and skin cancer: They contain an abundance of phenolic antioxidants as well as the anti-cancer compounds squalene and terpenoid. They also contain high levels of the monounsaturated fatty acid, oleic acid, which reduces excessive inflammation.

Olive is good for the heart: Olive oil contains biophenols, which suppress the oxidization of LDL (or “bad cholesterol”) which has been shown to play a role in the development of cardiovascular disease.

They work to reduce pain: It contains a compound called oleocanthal that has strong anti-inflammatory properties, mimicking the action of ibuprofen.

Olives may protect against ulcers: Antimicrobial properties in olives and olive oil may help to combat the bacteria responsible for causing stomach ulcers. Studies have shown their high levels of polyphenols protect against eight strains of ulcer-causing bacteria, three of which are resistant to some antibiotics.

Eating olives helps boost iron intake: Olives contain a substantial amount of iron, a key factor in the formation of hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen throughout the body via the bloodstream.