Olive Leaf Extract Health Benefits?
The Olive tree native to the Mediterranean and North African regions has been around for many 1000’s of years and is recognised by its short gnarled trunk and silvery grey leaves. When it blossoms it produces white flowers as well as the popular fruit we know as Olives. They are harvested from the green through to purple stage.
The Olive trees’ properties are well known to be very versatile for both culinary and medicinal purposes.
The Mediterranean diet has proved to be one of the healthiest in the world; proof of this is the low rates of heart related disease in the people that adhere to this way of eating.
More recently the Olive leaf has become more popular within the field of complementary medicine. There have been scientific studies that support the use of Olive leaf extract to aid in the treatment of certain medical conditions.
In 2005 The Southern Cross University, Australia, worked in conjunction with the Australian Centre of Complimentary Medicine Education and Research (ACCMER) to undertake research into the health benefits of the Olive leaf.
They concluded that Olive leaf may be beneficial in;
1. Reducing Blood Pressure
2. Reducing the symptoms of Angina
3. Reducing narrowing of the arteries
4. Reducing cholesterol levels – the Low Density Lipids (LDL’s) and therefore reducing the risk of heart attack.
5. Preventing colds, flu, virus, fungal infection, Epstein Barr Virus (Glandular Fever), Herpes and Shingles.
6. Relief of symptoms of Arthritis
7. Relief of chronic fatigue
8. Relief of skin conditions such as acne
Anti- oxidant properties
One of the major active compounds in the Olive leaf is the powerful antioxidant Oleuropein. Its properties are believed to also be anti-microbial and anti-bacterial.
Anti-oxidants are known to protect our cells from damage caused by stress, diet, pathogens and pollution, all encountered in our daily living.
Olive leaf extract is also marketed as an anti-ageing, immune-stimulator and anti-biotic agent.
The scientific studies suggest that the anti-oxidant properties of the leaf extract are
1. Twice as strong as green tea extract
2. Twice as strong grape seed extract
3. 400% stronger than Vitamin C
4. 40 times more anti-oxidants than the best extra virgin olive oils
These same studies report that it may even be effective in treating some cancers of the liver, prostate, colon, skin and breast.
Type 2 Diabetes
The New Zealand Herald Newspaper (September 7th 2012) report of a successful scientific study that has some evidence that olive leaf extract may have significant part to play in reducing Type 2 Diabetes in over-weight middle aged men.
The trial undertaken concludes that men taking the leaf extract displayed an improved insulin release and sensitivity in middle aged over-weight men developing Type 2 diabetes.
(Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease related to a diet high in saturated fats and sugars and can cause kidney, heart, eye, circulation and neuropathy problems. Currently 8% of Americans and 4% of Australians are diagnosed with this disease. The figures continue to rise as does the obesity problem in the Western countries).
The researchers are keen to point out that this is not a cure for Type 2 Diabetes and individuals should continue to maintain a healthy diet in conjunction with regular exercise.
Would you or your family take Olive Leaf Extract instead of conventional medicine for any of the above conditions?
Where can I buy Olive leaf extract?
You can buy it from most health food stores. You can also buy it online.
In what form does it come?
You can take capsules, powder, liquid or dry leaf tea
You may also buy topical lotions and soap that are impregnated with the leaf extract.
Can I give Olive leaf extract to my children?
If your child is over 2 years old then, yes you can. Read the manufacturer’s directions for dosage.
What is the shelf life?
The shelf life is usually 2 years; it should be stored in a cupboard or refrigerator.
Are there any side effects?
Some individuals report side effects when they first start taking the extract. This is known as the Herxheimer effect or healing effect. The body starts to rid of toxins and side effects experienced in these first few weeks may be mild headache, diarrhoea, muscle or joint pain and fatigue. Manufacturers advise to increase water intake to help flush the system.
Like most things the quality of the product may vary quite significantly and whilst you may think you are getting a bargain it’s noting a few things:
- · Are there any additives, colours or preservatives?
- · Has alcohol, sugar, lactose, starch, yeast or animal products been added to the extract?
The research for olive leaf extract is quite exciting and there are obviously some benefits for some people taking this product. It is always worth seeking advice from your qualified healthcare provider before you commence any medication/supplements or diet or exercise program.
Note: The guide is not meant to be fully comprehensive and is meant for information only. The author makes no guarantee, either expressed or implied, regarding the efficacy or use for any reason of the information contained within this article.