The organic benefits of Olive Leaves

Think how Olive Leaves can benefit your health!

By Winston J. Craig ( Winston J. Craig, Ph.D., is a professor of nutrition at Andrews University in Berren Springs, Michigan)

Olive oil is well known for its health benefits, but that is not the only product of the olive tree (Olea europaea) that has medicinal value. The olive leaf also has significant health-promoting value.

What are actual olive leaves? Olive leaves, considered to be agricultural waste, are a mixture of leaves and branches that result from pruning, harvesting, and cleaning of olives. About 5 percent of the weight of harvested olives collected at the oil mill end up designated as olive leaves.

What are its common uses?

Olive leaf tea is a common, traditional herbal tea used throughout the Mediterranean region to cure a variety of diseases. Olive leaf extracts are also combined with olive oil soaps and skin creams. Olive leaf extract is commonly used as an anti-biotic to fight colds and flu, yeast infections, gout, and viral infections such as Epstein-Barr virus. Various studies have reported that the antioxidant, anti-bacterial, anti fungal, and anti-inflammatory effects of olive leaves.

Olive leaves are widely recognized in Europe as a traditional herbal remedy to treat diabetes and hypertension. Animal studies have confirmed the reports that olive leaves have benficial effects on diabetes, in addition to their ability to lower blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol levels, and increase blood flow by relaxing the arteries.

Preliminary research has also shown that Olive leaf extract is effective for treatment of liver, prostate, and breast cancer. The extracts limit the growth of leukemic cells and induce apoptosis (death of cancer cells).

Just how potent is it?

The active compounds in olive leaves are oleuropein, flavonoids (such as hydroxyltyrosol), triterpenes, and various polyphenolics. Each of these compounds has health-promoting qualities. Oleuropein, for example, is a potent anti-oxidant endowed with significant anti-inflammatory properties that has also been found to prevent cardiac disease. What is better, is, the oleuropein content of olive leaves is 10 to 200 times greater than that of olive oil.

****FAST FACT ***

No tree is more closely associated with the history and development of human civilization than the olive tree. It is a traditional symbol of peace, prosperity, and performance. Historically, leafy wreaths made from olive trees have been used to crown the winners of athletic games and the victories after war.

How is it consumed?

Olive leaf can be taken as liquid concentrate, dried leaf tea, powder, or capsule. Freshly picked olive leaf liquid extracts are gaining popularity because of the more broad range of healing compounds that they contain. The effective dose of olive leaves is yet to be determined for humans.

 

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