Oleuropein, a phenolic compound found in the leaf and fruit (and also in the roots and bark), protects not only the tree but also, when ingested, the human body. The effect of this compound in dissolving the outer lining of pathogenic microbes is so potent that it must be removed before olive fruits can be fermented or the process will be inhibited.

The leaf increases the number and activity of phagocytes and interferes with viral infection by inactivating the virus, preventing the virus from shedding its coat, budding, or assembling at the cell membrane. It can also directly penetrate an infected host and inhibit viral replication. The leaf relaxes and dilates peripheral blood vessels and protects the body against hardening of the arteries. It is reported to kill off many pathogens including cryptosporidia, giardia, pinworm, malaria protozoa, roundworm, and tapeworm. It also helps lower blood sugar levels and helps the body better eliminate uric acid.

The oil is nourishing and improves the balance of fats within the blood. It is traditionally taken with lemon juice in teaspoonful doses to treat gallstones. The oil has a generally protective action on the digestive tract and is useful for dry skin.

Botanical Name

Olea europaea

Part Used

Leaf

Common Names

Olivo, Zaytoon, Zeytin Agaci; eliá

Brief History

Olea europaea

Since ancient times the principal source of edible oil in the eastern Mediterranean area. The olive has been cultivated for over 3000 years and its Latin name Olea is the origin of the word oil. The tree was sacred to Athena and sprang out of the ground when the city of Athens was founded. The olive is a symbol of plenty and its branch a Biblical symbol of peace. According to the Old Testament, Moses decreed that those who tended the olive groves were excused from military service. An olive wreath was given to victors in the Olympic Games. The leaves have been employed since at least that time as a means to clean wounds. The oil has been used for ritual anointing in some religions.

Cultivation

Trees only grow well away from frost and tropical heat. Easily grown in loamy soil and tolerating infertile soils, it prefers a well-drained deep, fertile soil. A drought-resistant plant once established it succeeds in dry soils. Requires a sunny position. Tolerates salty air. Plants are slow-growing and very long-lived. The olive is very commonly cultivated in Mediterranean climates for its edible seed, there are many named varieties. Trees can produce a crop when they are 6 years old and continue providing a commercial yield for the next 50 years – many trees continue to give good returns for hundreds of years, even when their trunk is hollow.

Constituents

Iridoid glycosides (mainly oleuropein), flavonoids

Therapeutic Properties

Hypotensive, antioxidant, bitter tonic, immunostimulant.

Vitalist Properties

Temperature: Cold

Moisture: Drying

Therapeutic Indications

High Blood-pressure, Viral infections, CFS, Bacterial infections, Cardiovascular problems, Yeast infections.

Primary Uses

CFS & Fibromyalgia

Physicians have reported that people with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia are often helped by olive leaf extract. People with these syndromes have reported recovery within one month of taking the supplement. They have reported higher spirits, more energy, and a stronger sense of well-being

Angina & High Blood-pressure

The powerful antioxidant properties of the olive leaf help protect the heart and circulatory system from free-radical damage. A 1994 experiment found that oleuropein inhibited the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (LDL, or ”bad cholesterol”), which has been connected to various heart problems. Other findings have verified that olive leaf extract can sig­nificantly decrease blood pressure.

Viral Infections

A 1993 study using a relatively weak alcohol-based form of olive extract reported that this treatment provided relief of herpes symptoms. Of the six subjects involved, three reported that their lesions had dis­appeared in thirty-six to forty-eight hours. The remaining three were placed on a stronger dose and reported better results than they had experienced with the medication they had previously used.

Yeast Infection

A sixty-day double-blind, placebo­ controlled study of thirty subjects found that such symp­toms were reduced by more than 50 percent in all of the subjects who took the olive leaf extract, with no apparent side effects.

Clinical Research

Blood Pressure

Olive leaf decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure, glycemia, and calcemia from baseline values in two groups of patients with moderate essential hypertension. On average, total reductions were approximately 18 mm Hg for systolic blood pressures and about 10 mm Hg for diastolic blood pressures. One group of patients was presenting for the first time, and the other group was already receiving antihypertensive medication (which was gradually withdrawn 2 weeks before beginning the study). The trial was of single-blind design; for 2 weeks, a placebo was prescribed followed by 3 months’ treatment with an aqueous olive leaf extract (1600 mg/day).

Fluid Retention

Olive leaf infusion caused marked diuresis in hypertensive patients. Administering olive leaf infusion or decoction for 20 to 25 days to 10 patients increased daily urinary output, but blood potassium, sodium, and chloride remained unchanged in most cases. Blood uric acid was decreased, especially in hyperuricemic cases.

Immune Function

Olive leaf concentrated extract was claimed to produce beneficial antimicrobial effects in 500 Hungarian patients with respiratory diseases, lung conditions, dental problems, skin conditions of bacterial and viral origin, Helicobacter pylori infection, and lowered immunity. No placebo was administered, and the dosage and duration of treatment were not indicated. The success of the treatment appears to have been assessed on subjective criteria only. In other case reports. a Bulgarian gynecologist described the reduction of elevated Pap smear category readings for women at high risk of cervical cancer. This reduction is said to have occurred by removing or reducing fungal infection of Candida guilliermondii following both oral ingestion and topical application of olive leaf extract. No further details were listed.

Dosage (Divided Daily)

• Dried Leaf: 10,000 – 20,000mg (as a tea)

Dried Powder: 1,500 – 3,500mg

• Tincture: 3.5 – 7mL (1:2)

Buy Dried Olive Leaf
Olive Leaf

 

Contraindications

None known

Side effects

Pathogen die-offs have been reported from olive leaf use, in which the body experiences aches, sore throat, or flu-like symptoms as a result of the die-off of pathogens.

Some may find olive leaf tea irritating to the stomach; consuming it soon before or after a meal will reduce this effect.

Interactions with other drugs

None known


 Bibliography

  1. Balch, P. A. (2002). Prescription for herbal healing. New York: Avery.
  2. Bone, K. (2003). A clinical guide to blending liquid herbs: herbal formulations for the individual patient. St. Louis, MI: Churchill Livingstone.
  3. Chevallier, A. (2000). Encyclopedia of herbal medicine (2nd American ed.). New York: DK Pub.
  4. Herbalpedia (2013)
  5. Skenderi, G. (2003). Herbal vade mecum: 800 herbs, spices, essential oils, lipids, etc., constituents, properties, uses, and caution. Rutherford, N.J.: Herbacy Press.

All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.

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