Natural health benefits of olive leaf (check the evidence rating *)
*** Good evidence of a health benefit.
** Some evidence of a health benefit.
* Traditionally used with only anecdotal evidence.
High blood pressure **
Olive leaf has been used as a medicine since ancient times. Traditionally, the olive tree has been held in high esteem throughout history.
Medicinally it has been used for the treatment of fever, infections, wounds, skin rashes/boils, and digestive problems such as constipation.
Products of the olive tree, olives and the oil have been a food commonly eaten in many parts of the world.
The olive tree has always had philosophical links, the oil is symbolic of purity and goodness, while the olive branch represents peace and prosperity.
It has in recent times been found to be effective in treatment of diabetes and high blood pressure.
An animal study was positive in finding that olive leaf can decrease blood pressure and dilate the coronary arteries surrounding the heart.
This ability to lower blood pressure may justify the traditional use of olive leaf in the treatment of mild to moderate high blood pressure.
However, human studies are still needed to clearly establish olive leaf as a potential treatment for high blood pressure.
Olive leaf extracts have been used experimentally to lower elevated blood-sugar levels in a study using animals with diabetes.
These results have not been reproduced in human clinical trials, therefore no clear conclusions can be made from this animal study in the treatment of diabetes.
Oleuropein from olives may also have antibacterial properties, causing many herbalists to use olive leaf for infections.
These main active constituents are thought to account for many of the beneficial effects of olive leaf.
Generally, olive leaf is regarded as safe.
Olive leaf should not be used during pregnancy as it has not been established to be safe during this time.
There are no known medication interactions. Always consult your doctor if you are taking prescription medications before taking any new medicine.
Where does olive leaf come from and what parts are used?
Olive leaf is originally from the Mediterranean regions, but today it is grown in many parts of the world. The green to black fruit as well as the oil and the dried green-grayish coloured leaves are used medicinally.
How much is usually taken?
The effective amount of olive leaf for human use is not established.
Dried leaf extracts containing 6–15% oleuropein are normally available commercially.
As a tincture, 3–4ml of olive leaf can be taken up to three times per day.
(Zaakirah Rossier, Health24, updated October 2010)