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.