Ode to Olive Leaf Extract and Its Health Benefits

Olive leaf extract
Olive leaf extract

The health benefits of olive oil, which is the result of what is pressed from the tiny fruits of the olive tree (Olea europaea), are much broadcast in consumer and scientific media, but what about olive leaves? Do they, too, harbor bennies we should know more about for ourselves and our loved ones?

So glad you asked!

Tell me about olive leaf extract health benefits

Olive leaf extract provides a unique and biologically active molecule called oleuropein, a polyphenol that has been associated with a variety of health benefits, which we will discuss below. For now, it’s important to know that oleuropein is found not only in the olive fruit itself but in the leaves as well, which is why olive leaf extract has become the focus of attention from researchers. One reason this finding is of interest is that some people would prefer reaping the health benefits of olives from the leaves rather than the oil, or they may like to get them from both. The choice is up to you!

Before we launch into the bennies of olive leaf extract, let’s look at oleuropein for a moment. This substance not only gives olive oils their distinctive pungent flavor, it is also packed with antioxidant, disease-fighting, and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, there is the possibility that oleuropein may have some cancer-fighting effects, as has been demonstrated in animals.

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What are the health benefits of olive leaf extract?

The health benefits of olive leaf extract are wide, ranging from your head to your toes. For example, olive leaf extract:

  • Lowers blood pressure. In a 2017 international study, the authors found that use of olive leaf extract lowered blood pressure without undue side effects. The remedy also resulted in a drop in total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and triglycerides.
  • Provides neuroprotection. Oleuropein can help prevent damage to the body’s nervous system. It’s been suggested that olive leaf extract can fight against the loss of dopamine neurons that are associated with the nervous system disease, Parkinson’s.
  • Aids with diabetes. Among animal studies of type 2 diabetes, taking olive leaf extract has resulted in reduced hyperglycemia, lower hyperinsulinemia, reduced levels of oxidative stress such as blood glucose and plasma malondialdehyte, and decreased serum glucose while also increasing serum insulin levels. In people, olive leaf extract has lowered blood sugar levels and fasting plasma insulin levels.
  • Reduces the risk of cancer. Thus far, there hasn’t been a lot of research into the cancer-fighting benefits of olive leaf extract. However, the authors of at least one study have reported that the extract can stop cancerous cell growth.
  • Battles inflammation. In animal studies of olive leaf extract in colitis and Crohn’s disease, results have been promising. In a 2017 study, for example, the extract was helpful in mouse models of colitis. In addition, the extract reduced the production of inflammatory markers in samples of people with Crohn’s disease.
  • Helps treat herpes. One to 2 drops of olive leaf extract placed on the herpes sore can help relieve pain and support healing. Repeat daily until the sore disappears.
  • Helps with weight loss. The results of animal research studies indicate that olive leaf extract has an ability to prevent obesity associated with high-fat intake. Based on the study’s findings, the authors suggest that olive leaf extract stops obesity by managing the expression of genes involved with weight gain. The remedy also may help reduce food intake.

Tell me about using olive leaf extract

The standard dosage of olive leaf extract is 500 to 1,000 milligrams daily. It is recommended you take the amount in divided doses throughout the day. Follow the suggestions provided by the manufacturer or your healthcare provider, because different producers and varying species have different potencies.

If you are taking any blood thinners, medications for high blood pressure, or if you have diabetes, you should talk to a knowledgeable healthcare provider before you take this supplement. In rare cases, individuals have developed severe respiratory allergic reactions to olive leaf extract.

[Editor's Note: Our sponsor, Barlean's, has an olive leaf throat spray and olive leaf complex.]

Sources
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Goulas V et al. Phytochemicals in olive-leaf extracts and their antiproliferative activity against cancer and endothelial cells. Molecular Nutrition and Food Research 2009 May; 53(5): 600-8
Hamdi HK, Castellon R. Oleuropein, a non-toxic olive iridoid, and an anti-tumor agent and cytoskeleton disruptor. Biochemistry and Biophysiology Research Communications 2005 Sep 2; 334(3): 769-78
Health Line. Olive leaf extract: Dosages, side effects, benefits, and more.
Lockyer S et al. Impact of phenolic-rich olive leaf extract on blood pressure, plasma lipids and inflammatory markers: a randomized controlled trial. European Journal of Nutrition 2017 Jun; 56(4): 1421-32
Olive leaf extract. Healthline.com
Shen Y. Olive leaf extract attenuates obesity in high-fat diet-fed mice by modulating the expression of molecules involved in adipogenesis and thermogenesis. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2014: Article ID971890; 12 pages
Vezza T et al. Immunomodulatory properties of Olea europaea leaf extract in intestinal inflammation. Molecular Nutrition and Food Research 2017 Oct; 61(10)
Wahle KW et al. Olive oil and modulation of cell signaling in disease prevention. Lipids 2004Dec; 39(12) 1223-31
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