The Many Benefits of Olive Leaf Extract
English Name: Olive Leaf
Latin Name: Olea Eurapaea
What is Olive Leaf Extract?
The olive tree may be one of the oldest species of tree still in existence today. Fossil records show its presence some 20 million years ago on land masses that eventually became Italy and the Mediterranean Basin, and records of its cultivation date to about 7,000 years ago. While the tree’s pitted fruit and the oil pressed from it have long been a staple of the Mediterranean diet, the leaves have figured prominently in historic symbolism. An olive branch has been a symbol of peace since it was mentioned in the Book of Genesis, brought to Noah by a dove after the great flood. Before that, ancient Greeks and Romans used olive branches to crown the victors of war and as offerings to their deities. Many living olive trees in Greece and Israel are thought to be 2,000 or more years old. Olive leaves are silvery green and oblong, often accompanied on the shrub-like tree by feathery white flowers2.
How does Olive Leaf Extract work?
The two main components in the olive leaf that drive its benefits are the phenols oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol. These phenols have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-microbial properties that seem to help the body in many ways. As the olive leaf and fruit mature, oleuropein actually creates hydroxytyrosol through a process called hydrolysis. Scientists believe oleuropein improves cellular stability by forming an intramolecular bond with free radicals, thereby defusing the negative potential of these byproducts of cellular work. Furthermore, these phenols inhibit the body’s production of chemicals involved in the natural inflammatory response and create a protective effect in the heart and vascular systems, as well as inhibiting the growth of malignant cells1.
What are the benefits of Olive Leaf Extract?
By neutralizing free radicals and protecting against inflammation, olive leaf extract has many beneficial effects on the body. Studies have shown that ingesting olive oil and other olive products can help reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels and otherwise support heart health by lowering blood pressure and protecting the heart muscle from damage. Olive leaf has also been shown to support a strong immune system, increase energy levels through healthy cell production and encourage strong urine flow and a healthy urinary tract. The antimicrobial and antiviral characteristics of olive leaf extract can help support a healthy digestive tract by discouraging the survival of food-borne pathogens and foreign bacteria in the gut3.
Products Featuring Olive Leaf Extract
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The content provided is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have a health condition, please consult a medical professional and do not use this information to self-diagnose or self-treat.
1. Barbaro, Barbara, Gabriele Toietta, Roberta Maggio, Mario Arciello, Mirko Tarocchi, Andrea Galli, and Clara Balsano. "Effects of the Olive-Derived Polyphenol Oleuropein on Human Health." International Journal of Molecular Sciences. October 2014. Accessed November 03, 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4227229/.
2. Rupp, Rebecca. “The Bitter Truth about Olives.” National Geographic. July 1, 2016. Accessed November 15, 2018. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/people-and-culture/food/the-plate/2016/07/olives--the-bitter-truth/.
3. "Olive: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning." WebMD. Accessed November 03, 2018. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-233/olive.
Reviewed by Master Herbalist, Mary Ellen Kosanke