The government of the Indian state of Rajasthan is exploring the possibility of producing tea with the leaves of the olive tree. Clinical tests are being conducted on samples of olive leaves to test the quality of such a tea and its potential to be marketed as a brew rich in anti-oxidants.
Rajasthan began an ambitious project to cultivate olives in 2007 with the technical assistance provided by Israeli experts.
Olive cultivation was promoted in this desert state in north-west India because it required less water than other crops and produces a high-value product. Today there are eleven state-owned farms in seven districts of the state. One of the farms in Lunkaransar in the Bikaner district is reported to have produced 8,000 liters of oil.
If initial tests support the viability of producing olive leaf tea, the Rajasthan government has further plans to set up an olive tea manufacturing plant. “Olive tea has great health benefits and is considered three percent more beneficial than normal green tea. We have sent olive leaves to some factories for experiments. They (the factories) have prepared some tea samples already. Now further tests are on to assess their health benefits,” Prabhu Lal Saini, Rajasthan’s agriculture minister told the Hindustan Times newspaper.
The Rajasthan government may be on to something. Olive leaf tea is already a popular drink in some countries of Europe, Japan, Korea and the USA where it is consumed for its health benefits. Selling olive leaves to tea producers is another way for growers to increase earnings.