Sweet oil, used for centuries for various applications, is in fact olive oil. It is referred to as sweet oil because of its sweet taste. Sweet oil has been around for centuries, with documented references to it as early as 5000 B.C.


Olive oil was referred to by the Greek poet Homer as “liquid gold”. Greek athletes rubbed it over their bodies, and it was used in the embalming process for centuries. It has been used as food, medicine and magic for thousands of years. It was used to anoint the heads of royalty, and vessels thought to have contained olive oil were found in Tutankhamen’s burial chamber. It is mentioned in the Bible, and was held in great importance by King David and King Solomon.

Medicinal Uses

Sweet oil has been used in numerous medicinal applications. One common use is for earache. Sweet oil softens wax and lubricates the ear without causing a heavy residue. It is also useful in swimmer’s ear to help remove excess water from the ear. Putting just a drop or two in the ear after swimming will usually prevent problems associated with getting water trapped in the ear. Sweet oil has also been used for centuries as a base for lubricants and poultices because of its ability to bind different ingredients together. It is also recommended as a topical aide for cuts and bruises to promote healing and help prevent scar formation.

Culinary Uses

Sweet, or olive oil, has been used for centuries as an ingredient in foods. It is used as a healthy replacement for lard, shortening, cooking oil, butter and margarine. Because it replaces the saturated fats found in fats from animal sources, it may help reduce cholesterol, fight diabetes and prevent heart disease. It is used in everything from salad dressings to fried foods. It does alter the taste of certain foods, so in some instances, you may want to use something other than olive oil.


Sweet oil for medicinal purposes can be purchased in most drug stores or pharmacy sections of mass merchandisers and is sold in small bottles. Sweet oil has usually not been purified, so it is not recommended for use in cooking. Olive oil is available as extra virgin olive oil, which is obtained from the first cold press squeezing of the olives, and virgin olive oil, which is obtained from the subsequent squeezing of the olives and is usually heated to extract the remaining oil. Olive pomace oil is obtained by refining the ground flesh and pits and has little or no taste. It is usually used only for deep frying.


Ingestion of excessive amounts of olive oil can cause diarrhea. It is known to irritate eyes. It can interfere with the activity of some drugs, especially insulin and drugs used to treat diabetes.

References and Resources

Olive Oil History


Sweet Oil vs. Olive Oil