Most people have heard about the health benefits associated with olive oil but often overlook other beneficial parts of the olive tree. The olive leaf and its extracts have been used in traditional medicine for centuries. In recent times, scientists are discovering that olive leaf extract may contain more potent antioxidants for health than even green tea.
Olive Leaf Properties
Olive leaf contains a variety of flavonoids and polyphenols that have proven beneficial effects on human health. Oleuropein is a polyphenol that is believed to be the primary active compound in olive leaf. This glucoside compound is typically extracted for use alone or in combination with the entire leaf when creating olive leaf capsules to use as a nutritional supplement.
Olive Leaf Benefits
Olive leaf and its extracts are shown to provide specific protective and curative properties, including the following:
- Antioxidant Protection
- Anti-inflammatory Support
- Antimicrobial Properties
Immune strengthening. The entire immune system benefits from the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits of olive leaf. Additionally, there are direct effects as well. The antimicrobial characteristics of oleuropein make it effective against viruses, bacteria, fungus and mold, and parasites. It has been proven effective at helping to fight off colds, flu, e. coli, staph bacteria, yeasts, malaria, and other dangerous organisms. It works by penetrating invading cells and interfering with their ability to produce amino acids, essential for all life.
Cardiovascular health. Olive leaf has been shown to help lower blood pressure, relax arterial walls to increase blood flow, regulate heart rhythm, and prevent oxidation of LDL cholesterol that my lead to hardening of the arteries.
Brain health. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects combined with increased blood flow which is promoted by olive leaf also appear to protect the brain from age-related degeneration.
Arthritis. The anti-inflammatory effects of olive leaf may help reduce the swelling, stiffness, and pain in joints, providing potential relief for the millions of aging baby-boomers.
Diabetes. Olive leaf has been shown to lower blood sugar and may increase insulin sensitivity, addressing another health concern of modern society.
Cancer. In preliminary studies, olive leaf extract has been shown to inhibit the cell growth of certain types of cancer by preventing growth of cells and the spread of tumors.
Bone growth. The polyphenols in olive leaf may help to trigger the production of bone cells, potentially reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
Adding Olive Leaf to Diet
While there are some recipes that use whole olive leaf directly, it is not always easy for consumers in certain regions to easily access whole leaves. There are other ways to easily use dried, ground, or powdered forms of this herb to enhance health and well-being. Perhaps the easiest way that one can enjoy the health benefits of oleuropein and olive leaf are through the use of olive leaf supplement, which typically can be found in capsules, liquids, powders, tea bags, and loosely ground.
Whether taken for the protective and preventative benefits or to directly address a specific health concern, olive leaf and its extracts can be an important nutritional addition to any diet.