Some people believe that the olive tree is referred to as the “Tree of Life” in the Book of Genesis. Ancient Egyptians may have been the first to employ the olive leaf as part of the mummification of their royalty. And Hippocrates, the father of medicine, used olive oil to treat ulcers, cholera, and muscle pains more than 2500 years ago.
The Mediterranean olive tree, Olea europaea, actually defends itself against harmful organisms such as bacteria, fungi, parasites and insects through eutrophic compounds it produces. Its leaf extract has been popular in herbal remedies as well as benefiting individuals for 150 years. The active nutrient in the olive leaf is oleuropein, a phenolic glucoside (structurally classified as an iridoid). The olive leaf also contains the bioflavonoids rutin, luteolin, and hesperidin, which work synergistically with oleuropein to enhance its natural activity.
Olive Extract and the Intestines
Research shows that proper balance of intestinal bacteria promotes both healthy digestion and a good immune system. Research also indicates that because Olive leaf extract can help maintain bacterial balance in the intestines, it can also benefit the immune system. Of course, a properly functioning digestive tract can also ensure that your body absorbs more nutrients from foods or other supplements‚ which allows your entire body to benefit.
How Olive Leaf Extract Can Work Against Harmful Organisms
Because of the many historical references citing the health benefits of olive leaf extract, it may be one of the most important anti-microbials ever discovered. Scientific research has now shown that olive leaf extract contains powerful active ingredients, such as oleuropein and calcium elenolate, which actually help destroy viruses, fungi, bacteria, and parasites that cause disease without harming beneficial bacteria in the gut. According to James R. Privitera, MD, below are some of the distinctive properties possessed by olive leaf extract for the broad killing power:
- Olive leaf has an ability to interfere with critical amino acid production essential for viruses.
- Olive leaf has an ability to control viral infection and/or spread by inactivating viruses or by preventing virus shedding, budding or assembly at the cell membrane.
- Olive leaf extract has the ability to directly penetrate infected cells and stop viral replication.
- Olive leaf can stimulate a process called phagocytosis, an immune system response in which cells act like little Pac-Man, ingesting harmful microorganisms and foreign matter.
In vitro studies have found olive leaf extract is effective against over 50 common disease causing organisms including viruses, bacteria, fungi and protozoa such as herpes, influenza A, Polio 1, 2, and 3; Salmonella typhimurium, Candida Krusei and Coxsackie A21.
Amoebi, cryptosporidia, giardia, pinworm, tapeworm, ringworm, malaria protozoa and roundworm are some of the more familiar parasites which Olive Leaf Extract kills
If used in a high enough dosage, olive leaf extract can expel worms from the intestines and is helpful for those with harmful organisms in the gut. Biochemist Arnold Takemoto, speaking to the Townsend Newsletter for Doctors and Patients put it this way: “(I have) yet to discover another herbal substance that accomplishes anti-microbially what this substance [olive leaf extract] achieves.”
Signs of Possible Infection by Harmful Organisms
- Autoimmune Disease
- Chronic abdominal pain
- Crohn’s Disease
- Bloody Stools
- Chronic Fatigue
- Foul-smelling stools
- Irregular bowel movements
- Low back pain
- Abdominal Distension
- Food Allergy
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Intestinal Permeability
- Rash and itching of skin
- Unexplained weight loss
- Rectal bleeding
- Unexplained fever
Qualifications of a Good Olive Leaf Extract
- Allergen Free
- Toxic Additive Free
- GMO Free
- Environmental Contaminants Free
- No Toxic Excipients
- Vegetarian Capsules
- Oleuropein percentage should be over 10%. Preferably 17%-20%.
Herxheimer Reaction & Olive Leaf Extract
For some very sick individuals, including people with chronic fatigue syndrome or particularly heavy loads of virus or bacteria in their bodies, olive leaf extract may possibly generate detoxification symptoms — known as the “die-off effect” — that may be unpleasant.
The “die-off effect,” or Herxheimer Reaction as it is medically called, refers to symptoms generated by a detoxification process. If you are sick and use Olive Leaf Extract, you should be aware of the possibility. For this reason it may be advisable to consult first with a holistic health practitioner before using it.
Olive leaf extract is potent and usually does its job quite well. “Die-off” symptoms can begin almost immediately after starting Olive Leaf Extract. Symptoms may include extreme fatigue, diarrhea, headaches, muscle/joint achiness or flu-like symptoms. Severity usually differs from person to person. Keep in mind that such symptoms are positive signs. Nevertheless, they can be unpleasant and inconvenient. Some people may not want to continue because of the inconvenience. Others handle it better. Others experience no such effect.
Here’s what to do in case of substantial detoxification symptoms: Drink at least 4-6 cups of purified water between each dose. Reduce the number of capsules, or even stop them altogether for a while. You may need a day or two, or even a week, to allow your body to process the “die-off.” When you feel better, you can resume the supplement at a low dose and increase slowly. Vitamin C to bowel tolerance is also recommended for “die-off” symptoms.
Drug interactions possibilities while using Olive Leaf Extract
Due to its possible ability to lower blood pressure, olive leaf may increase the effects of drugs that also lower blood pressure. Some blood pressure-lowering drugs are:
ACE inhibitors such as captopril, enalapril, fosinopril, and lisinopril
Beta blockers such as atenolol, metoprolol, and propranolol
Calcium channel blockers such as amlodipine, nifedipine, and verapamil
Diuretics such as Dyazide, furosemide, and hydrochlorothiazide
Due to a possible decrease in blood sugar levels, taking olive leaf may increase the effects of insulin and oral drugs for diabetes, such as: Actos, Avandia, glimepiride, glipizide, glyburide, Glyset, metformin, Prandin, Precose.
Because olive leaf may decrease blood sugar levels, taking it with other blood sugar-lowering herbal products may result in hypoglycemia–blood sugar that is too low. Herbals that may reduce blood sugar include Eleuthero, Fenugreek, Ginger (in high amounts), Kudzu, Panax ginseng.
Research & References
Markin D, Duek L, Berdicevsky I. In vitro antimicrobial activity of olive leaves. Mycoses. 2003 Apr;46(3-4):132-6.
Pereira AP, Ferreira IC, Marcelino F, Valentão P, Andrade PB, Seabra R, Estevinho L, Bento A, Pereira JA. Phenolic compounds and antimicrobial activity of olive (Olea europaea L. Cv. Cobrançosa) leaves. Molecules. 2007 May 26;12(5):1153-62.
Cruess WV, and Alsberg CL, The bitter glucoside of the olive. J. Amer. Chem. Soc. 1934; 56:2115-7.
Samuelsson G, The blood pressure lowering factor in leaves of Olea Europaea. Farmacevtisk Revy, 1951; 15: 229-39
Veer WLC et al, A compound isolated from olea europaea. Recueil, 1957; 76:839-40
Panizzi L et al, The constitution of oleuropein, a bitter glucoside of the olive with hypotensive action. Gazz. Chim. Ital; 1960; 90:1449-85.
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Heinze JE et al, Specificity of the antiviral agent calcium elenolate. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother., 1975: 8(4), 421-25.
Kubo I et al, A mutichemical defense mechanism of bitter olive olea europaea (Oleaceae)– Is oleuropein a phytoalexin precursor? J. Chem. Ecol 1985; 11(2):251-63.
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Zarzuelo A et al, Vasodilator effect of olive leaf, Planta Med., 1991; 57 (5),417-9.
Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Society of Pharmaceutical Industries of Tunis, Hypotension, hypoglycemia and hypouricemia recorded after repeated administration of aqueous leaf extract of Olea europaea, Belgian Pharmacology Journal, March-April 1994; 49(2), 101-8.
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