Olive berries and olive oil are both famous for their antioxidant properties and their ability to protect the cardiovascular system. However for many centuries also the leaves of the olive tree have been used for medicinal purposes. One of the first formal ways to use olive leaf is dated back to 1800’s where olive leaf extract was used to cure severe cases of fever and malaria.
Already in the early 1900’s a compound called oleuropein was found in the leaves of certain olive trees (Olea europaea). Oleuropein was soon found to be the key component in olive tree’s powerful disease resistant structure. Oleuropein is an active phytochemical, meaning that it can effectively kill viruses and bacteria. Oleuropein can affect viruses through many different processes. It can interfere with amino acid production processes that are needed for viruses to replicate, it can neutralize certain enzymes that are needed in virus replication and growth and it can penetrate infected cells and inhibit virus to replicate. Clinical studies have proved that olive leaf extract has significant benefit in the treatment of viral diseases such as herpes, pneumonia, flu and viral meningitis.
Because of its ability to dissolve the outer lining of microbes, olive leaf extract is a potent natural antibiotic. Studies have also shown olive leaf extract to rectify bacterial infections in cases of antibiotic resistance. Oleuporein is a natural antifungal agent and it can thus be used to treat chronic and recurrent candida infections.
Research has confirmed that olive leaf extract made from fresh leaves has 30 times more antioxidants that the same amount of best virgin olive oils. Fresh leaf extract also has 400% greater antioxidant capacity than equivalent amount of vitamin C and roughly double the antioxidant power of typical green tea or grape seed extracts. Some studies suggest that olive leaf extract itself can act as immune system builder by stimulating phagocyte production. Natural flavonoids and esters of olive leaf extract also create complex compounds that microorganisms may not readily develop resistance to.
Wide spectrum effects of olive leaf extract make it a superb product when you are trying to prevent a common cold or trying to get rid of a cold. Olive leaf extract is available at least as tablets, capsules and liquid extracts. Typical dosage for immune boosting is for example 7,5 ml two times a day or 5 ml (approx. one teaspoon) three times daily. If you want to gain the full benefit of olive leaf extract’s disease fighting power it is crucial to use high quality products. Extracts from dried leaves are not as potent as those that are gathered freshly and naturally processed. Look for a product that has been processed trough organic farming methods as well as natural production techniques. Good quality products are at least extracts from East Park Research and Olive Leaf Australia.
Olive leaf extract is a natural product and has not been shown to cause any toxic or adverse side effects. No known studies have been conducted with regards to pregnancy or nursing mothers. Also no known studies of interactions between olive leaf extract and pharmaceutical products have been performed. Thus it is recommendable to consult your health care provider prior using olive leaf extract.
Some people experience detoxification reaction known as Herxheimers Reaction when using olive leaf extract. Herxheimers Reaction is related to detoxification of the body and can occur immediately after starting the supplement. Reactions vary from extreme fatigue to diarrhea and flu-like symptoms. Severity differs from person to person, depending on the extent of infection. Even though these symptoms can be unpleasant, you should keep in mind that such symptoms are positive signs. If you experience substantial detoxification symptoms you can try reducing the amount of supplement or even stop it altogether for a while. You may need a day or even a week to allow your body to adapt. When you start feeling better, resume the supplement at a low dose and increase slowly.