What is Olive Leaf?
The Olive leaf is the leaf of the olive tree, scientifically known as Olea europaea. It is native to the Mediterranean region and has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. Olive leaf has a rich history in traditional medicine, dating back to ancient Greece, where it was used to treat a variety of ailments, including fever and infections. In other parts of the world, it was used to treat high blood pressure, diabetes, and even malaria.
Traditional Uses of Olive Leaf In Ayurvedic Medicine
In Ayurvedic medicine, the olive leaf has been traditionally used for various health purposes including immune system support, cardiovascular health, anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidant properties, and digestive health. Its use dates back centuries in Ayurvedic practices and highlights its potential as a natural remedy for various health concerns.
Nootropic Benefits of Olive Leaf
As the incidence of brain disorders such as dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease are projected to increase in the coming decades, maintaining a healthy diet and engaging in physical activity is essential for preserving brain health.
In addition, certain supplements such as olive leaf extract may also be beneficial, as it has been shown to possess antioxidant and neuroprotective effects.
- Animal studies, such as one conducted in 2017 and published in the Metabolic Brain Disease journal, have demonstrated that olive leaf extract can improve balance, muscle strength, and antioxidant levels in the brain.
- These findings suggest that olive leaf extract may help prevent the death of dopaminergic neurons, which are associated with Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease.
- Another animal study published in the European Journal of Pharmacology indicated that olive leaf extract can reduce long-term complications from a stroke.
Other health benefits
Promotes Cardiovascular Health
Studies have demonstrated that taking olive leaf extract can help to prevent the accumulation of LDL cholesterol in the arteries, leading to increased blood flow and reduced blood pressure, which ultimately lowers the risk of developing heart disease.
According to a study conducted on rats, olive leaf extract has shown the potential in restoring a “normal heartbeat” in individuals with arrhythmia. However, additional research on human subjects is needed to confirm these findings.
Reduces Risk of Diabetes
Olive leaf antioxidants are believed to help regulate and lower blood sugar levels, promoting healthier blood sugar control. Studies suggest that this effect may aid in the treatment of diabetes and could also help prevent the development of the disease.
Research indicates that the consumption of olive leaf extract can decrease insulin resistance in the body, which is a major risk factor for diabetes.
Immune system support
Olive leaf extract is known for boosting the immune system and helping to fight off viruses and bacteria. The polyphenol, oleuropein, found in the extract has been shown to be effective in preventing chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's.
Oleuropein, found in olive leaf extract, has shown the potential in stopping the growth of cancer cells according to some studies. Additionally, the extract may help alleviate the duration and severity of upper respiratory infections.
Helps in weight management
Additional research is required to confirm the effects in humans, but initial researches demonstrate that the presence of “oleuropein” in “olive leaf extract" helps prevent undesired weight gain and lowers the likelihood of developing obesity.
In animal experiments with diets high in cholesterol and fat, oleuropein decreased body fat and weight gain. Furthermore, it decreased food intake, implying that olive leaf extract may help control appetite and prevent overeating.
Mechanisms By Which Olive Leaf Works
- Olive leaf extract's mechanism of action is mainly due to its polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants that can help prevent cognitive decline, cancer, and osteoporosis.
- Additionally, the extract contains oleuropein, a unique polyphenol that has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties, as well as antioxidant activity.
- These properties suggest that olive leaf extract has various health benefits, including improved cardiovascular health, as it helps prevent the buildup of LDL cholesterol in arteries, resulting in lower blood pressure and increased blood flow.
Dosage and Safety Considerations
- Olive leaf extract can be purchased as a supplement, tincture, or tea.
- Research suggests that taking 500 to 1,000 milligrams of olive leaf extract daily may produce health benefits, although no official dosing recommendations have been established.
- It is important to follow the advice of your healthcare provider and the instructions provided by the product manufacturer to ensure that you are taking a safe and effective amount.
- Product formulations can vary, so it is crucial to take the appropriate dose to avoid any potential side effects.
- When it comes to taking olive leaf extract during pregnancy or lactation, its safety is unknown. Therefore, it is advised to restrict or avoid the use of olive leaf extract during these life stages.
- As for children, olive leaf extract may be safe to use, but given the limited research, it's important to consult with a healthcare provider first.
Potential Side effects
- While uncommon, olive leaf extract may cause side effects, including both common and severe reactions.
- Common side effects are not well documented but may include stomach irritation, diarrhea, and heartburn, particularly in those who already experience acid reflux.
- Severe side effects may occur in individuals who are allergic to olive leaf extract.
- People who are allergic to other plants in the Oleaceae family, such as ash trees, forsythia, jasmine, lilacs, olive trees, and privets, may experience severe respiratory allergic reactions to the pollen from the olive leaf.
How to Take Olive Leaf
- Olive leaf extract can be taken as a natural supplement in capsule or tablet form
- The extract is also available in liquid form
- Dosage instructions for liquid extract are typically found on the label
- For capsules or tablets, the suggested dose is usually 500 mg once to twice per day
Many people have reported positive experiences with Olive Leaf supplementation. Here are some personal accounts from individuals who have taken Olive Leaf:
A user said, "Since I have started taking this I haven't had any heart palpitations from my high blood pressure. Will be ordering from now on”.
Another user said “My husband was on 2 blood pressure medications and once we added this his blood pressure went down! Try it!!”
Comparisons with Other Herbal Supplements
Olive Leaf is often compared to other popular herbal supplements such as Echinacea and Ginkgo Biloba. Here are some key differences between these supplements:
- Immune support: While all three supplements have immune-boosting properties, Olive Leaf has been shown to have a broader range of antimicrobial and antiviral effects compared to Echinacea.
- Cardiovascular health: Olive Leaf has been shown to have significant benefits for cardiovascular health, while Echinacea and Ginkgo Biloba have less established benefits in this area.
In conclusion, the olive leaf extract is a promising natural supplement that offers numerous health benefits supported by research. It contains powerful antioxidants and polyphenols, such as oleuropein, that possess anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and brain-protective properties. These characteristics indicate that olive leaf extract may be helpful in preventing conditions such as cognitive decline, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.
- Butt MS, Tariq U, Naz A, Rizwan M. Neuroprotective effects of oleuropein: Recent developments and contemporary research. Journal of Food Biochemistry. 2021 Dec;45(12):e13967.
- Mohagheghi F, Bigdeli MR, Rasoulian B, Hashemi P, Pour MR. The neuroprotective effect of olive leaf extract is related to improved blood–brain barrier permeability and brain edema in rats with experimental focal cerebral ischemia. Phytomedicine. 2011 Jan 15;18(2-3):170-5.
- Dekanski D, Selaković V, Piperski V, Radulović Ž, Korenić A, Radenović L. Protective effect of olive leaf extract on hippocampal injury induced by transient global cerebral ischemia and reperfusion in Mongolian gerbils. Phytomedicine. 2011 Oct 15;18(13):1137-43.
- Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research: “Prolonged Oral Administration of Oleuropein Might Protect Heart against Aconitine-induced Arrhythmia.”
- Molecules: “Evaluation of Phytochemical and Antioxidant Properties of 15 Italian Olea europaea L. Cultivar Leaves.”
- Nutrients: “The Effect of Olive Leaf Extract on Upper Respiratory Illness in High School Athletes: A Randomised Control Trial.”
- Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity: “Plant polyphenols as dietary antioxidants in human health and disease.”
- Nutrition Today: “Mediterranean Diet and Prevention of Chronic Diseases.”