Olea europae, Oleaceae (family).
Olive leaves come from the olive tree (Olea europae), a native of the Mediterranean. Although olives and olive oil are used as foods, olive leaf is primarily used medicinally or as a tea.
Laboratory studies indicate that olive leaf may be beneficial as an antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, or antioxidant. However, there is insufficient evidence in humans to support the use of olive leaf for any indication.
In the Middle East, olive leaf tea has been used for centuries to treat sore throat, coughs, fevers, high blood pressure, cystitis (bladder infection), and gout (foot inflammation), and to improve general health. Olive leaf poultices have been applied to the skin to treat dermatological conditions, such as boils, rashes, and warts.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
*Key to grades:
A: Strong scientific evidence for this use;
B: Good scientific evidence for this use;
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use;
D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work);
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).
The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below. Antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, antiviral, boils, common cold, conjunctivitis (pink =eye), controlling blood pressure, coughs, cystitis (inflamed bladder), ear infections, eye infections, fever, gout (inflamed foot), herpes simplex-1 virus, high blood pressure, HIV/AIDS, impetigo (pus-filled blisters), influenza, mouth and throat infections, nose infection, parasites, rashes, skin conditions, sore throat, tonic, warts.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
Adults (18 years and older):
There is no proven safe or effective dose for olive leaf in adults.
Children (younger than 18 years):
There is no proven safe or effective dose for olive leaf in children.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to olive, olive leaf (Olea europaea), its constituents, or related members of the Oleaceae family.
Side Effects and Warnings
There are very few reports of olive leaf and its adverse effects. There are currently no high quality studies available on the medicinal applications of olive leaf. Use cautiously in patients taking antiviral medications as olive leaf may have antiviral properties.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Olive leaf is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.
Interactions with Drugs
Although not well studied in humans, olive leaf water extract may have antibacterial, antioxidant, or antifungal properties. Caution is advised when taking olive leaf and other antifungal, antioxidant, or antibacterial agents due to potential additive effects.
Based on preliminary study, olive leaf extracts may have antiviral effects, and may aid in inhibiting HIV-1 replication. Caution is advised when using olive leaf with antiviral agents or agents used for HIV.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Although not well studied in humans, olive leaf water extract may have antibacterial, antioxidant, or antifungal properties. Caution is advised when taking olive leaf and other antifungal, antioxidant, or antibacterial herbs or supplements due to potential additive effects.
Taking elderberry extract and olive leaf extract may reduce viral loads. Although the interaction may be a positive one, caution is advised in patients taking elderberry or other herbs with potential antiviral effects, due to additive effects.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).
Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Copyright © 2011 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.
- Konlee M. A new triple combination therapy. Posit.Health News 1998;(No 17):12-14.
- Lee-Huang S, Zhang L, Huang PL, et al. Anti-HIV activity of olive leaf extract (OLE) and modulation of host cell gene expression by HIV-1 infection and OLE treatment. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 8-8-2003;307(4):1029-1037.
- Markin D, Duek L, Berdicevsky, I. In vitro antimicrobial activity of olive leaves. Mycoses 2003;46(3-4):132-136.
- O'Brien NM, Carpenter R, O'Callaghan YC. Et al. Modulatory effects of resveratrol, citroflavan-3-ol, and plant-derived extracts on oxidative stress in U937 cells. J Med Food 2006;9(2):187-195.
Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)
Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)