Scientifically Proven Health Benefits of Olive Leaf Extract and How to Make Olive Leaf Tea

Scientifically Proven Health Benefits of Olive Leaf Extract and How to Make Olive Leaf Tea

Olive leaf extract contains powerful medicinal compounds that can help to address a number of health issues. The benefits of olive leaf extract are mainly due to a chemical called oleuropein. Using extracts from olive leaves therapeutically has been linked with lowering blood pressure, improving cardiovascular health, and fighting viral infections like herpes.

Olive leaf extract is also good for treating fungal infections, used as a natural antibiotic, and killing intestinal parasites. You get the health benefits from olive leaf extract by using it as powder or liquid form. You can also make your own olive leaf tea to get some of the health benefits of olive leaves.

In this article, I will examine what scientific research has revealed as to the many wonderful benefits of olive leaf extract. At the end of this article, you will find out how to make a therapeutic olive leaf tea at home.

What is Olive Leaf Extract?

Olive leaves and olives come from the olive tree (Olea europaea L.), which grows mainly in the Mediterranean area and warm climates.

Olive leaves are silvery green and grow up to 10 cm (3.9 in) in length. Olive leaves are harvested and dried before being crushed into powder or soaked to extract their medicinal compounds.

Olive leaf extract contains many polyphenolic compounds that have an antioxidant effect. The main phenolic antioxidants in olive leaf extract are hydroxytyrosol, oleuropein and luteolin-glucoside. (1)

Researchers have found that using hot water or ethanol brings out a compound called hydroxytyrosol which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Oleuropein is the main active component from olive leaf extract. Scientific research has also revealed that oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol are easily absorbed in the body. (2)

Olive leaf extract vs. olive oil

Interestingly, olive leaf extract has more antioxidant potential than olive oil. Studies have shown that the phenolic compounds in olive leaf extract are more potent and in higher concentration than olive oil. (3)

In fact, olive leaf extract can be added to virgin olive oil to increase the antioxidant properties in olive oil. (4)

Benefits of Olive Leaf Extract

The benefits of olive leaf extract are mainly due to its antioxidant compounds like oleuropein, apigenin-7-glucoside, luteolin-7-glucoside, and hydroxytyrosol. Let’s look in more detail how these chemicals make olive leaf good for lowering risk of cardiovascular disease and many more ailments.

Olive leaves have traditionally been used to enhance the functioning of the immune system and enhance the body’s efforts to fight invading organisms.

Olive Leaf Extract is Anti-Fungal and Anti-Bacterial

One of the main benefits of regularly using olive leaf extract is that it has a wide range of antimicrobial properties.

The journal Frontiers in Microbiology in 2017 wrote that the therapeutic effect of oleuropein in olive leaf extract has been widely studied. Oleuropein is a well-known antimicrobial agent with a multitude of medicinal uses. (5)

Antifungal properties of olive leaf extract

Olive leaf extract contains polyphenols (natural antioxidants) such as hydroxytyrosol which has antifungal properties.

One study found that the compound hydroxytyrosol (found in olive leaf extract) was effective against the Candida albicans strain of fungus. (6)

Antibacterial properties of olive leaf extract

In a comprehensive review of medical studies on the pharmaceutical use of olive leaf extract, researchers concluded that it has high antibacterial activity. (7)

For example, extracts from olive leaves were potent against bacterial strains like Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli, and Salmonella typhimurium. Researchers found that the results of studies on extracts of olive leaves back up its use as a natural healing remedy. This includes treating diarrhea, skin diseases, and urinary infections. (7)

Research has also shown that olive leaf extract has an antibacterial effect in treating stomach ulcers. Taking olive leaf extract is good for eliminating H. pylori infections that cause ulcers on the stomach lining. (8)

Olive Leaf Extract is Antiviral and Helps Fight Herpes

You can also use olive leaf extract to help treat herpes and other viral infections. In fact, the medicinal compounds in extracts of olive leaves can prove useful in treating viral respiratory tract infections and rotavirus infections. (9)

For example, a study from 2007 showed that a liquid extract of olive leaves has antiviral activity against the herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1). (10)

Fever blisters (cold sores) are caused by the herpes simplex type 1 virus (HSV-1) and you can use other natural treatments to get rid of them.

Because of its antiviral properties, some people use olive leaf extract to treat viral diseases such as the cold or flu.

Olive Leaf Extract Helps to Lower Blood Pressure

Taking olive leaf supplements can help to lower blood pressure due to the high content of polyphenols.

Research carried out in 2017 found that olive leaf extract has an antihypertensive effect. In one randomized, double-blind trial, taking olive leaf supplements with 136 mg oleuropein and 6 mg hydroxytyrosol helped to reduce blood pressure and inflammation. (11)

In another trial, taking 500 mg olive leaf extract for high blood pressure was just as effective as Captopril. This is a popular drug to treat hypertension (high blood pressure). After 8 weeks of olive leaf extract therapy, systolic blood pressure had dropped by around 11.5 mmHg and diastolic by 4.8 mmHg. (12)

If you have high blood pressure, please read my other article to learn how to lower blood pressure naturally.

Compounds in Olive Leaf Extract Boost Heart Health

Olive leaf extract may also have a positive effect on your cardiac health.

Research has shown that the therapeutic effect of oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol (found in olive leaf extract) has a protective effect on the heart. This strengthens the heart muscle to keep the heart healthy. (13)

Oleuropein in olive extracts also increases the amount of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps to increase blood flow and reduce blood pressure. It was found that the effect of olive leaf extracts has an anti-inflammatory effect on the cardiovascular system. (14)

A review of studies reported that the oleuropein in olive leaf extract has cardio protective properties. (21, 26)

To find out more ways of keeping your heart healthy, please read my article on how to lower your risk of a heart attack.

Olive Leaf Extracts Help Kill Off Parasites

Olive leaf extracts help to fight certain parasitic diseases naturally.

The high number of phenolic compounds in olive leaf extract have a toxic effect on some parasites like the Leishmania major. This parasitic infection causes leishmaniasis that can result in skin ulcers and infections.

One study in 2017 found that olive leaf extracts have an antiparasitic effect. After 4 weeks of treatment, signs of leishmaniasis were gone. The researchers reported that the phenolic compounds in olive leaf extract have a remarkable effect in treating L. major infections. (15)

To find out how to kill off other intestinal parasites, please see my article on how to treat tapeworms.

Anti-Inflammatory Effect of Olive Leaf Extracts Help Manage Diabetes

Olive leaf capsules can also benefit you if you have diabetes. Therapeutic compounds in olive leaf extract help to lower blood glucose levels and reduce the effects of oxidative stress.

For example, the journal PLoS One reported that supplementing your diet with olive leaf extract can help treat diabetes. Olive leaf supplements with 51.1 mg oleuropein helped increase insulin sensitivity in diabetic adults. Researchers also noticed that in an 8-week period of olive leaf supplementation, blood glucose levels stabilized and lipid blood levels were reduced. (16)

Another trial found that the antioxidant activity of oleuropein helped to reduce complications associated with oxidative stress. Also, olive leaf extract had an anti-hyperglycemic effect. The researchers concluded that “oleuropein may be helpful in the prevention of diabetic complications associated with oxidative stress.” (17)

Did you know that there are many other foods that can help to control diabetes?

Extracts from Olive Leaves Can Help You Lose Weight

Olive leaf extract could help weight loss because it helps to boost your body’s metabolism and break down blood fat.

Olive leaf extract can also reduce the negative effect that obesity has on the body.

In a study on humans using liquid olive leaf extract, scientists found that olive extract improves insulin sensitivity and reduce blood pressure in overweight adults. Participants took 20mL olive leaf extract daily. At the end of the trial, it was noted that inflammatory markers related to obesity were reduced. (18)

Another study found that taking a natural product containing citrus fruit extract and olive leaf extract helped to improve fat metabolism. (19)

Research on mice found that supplementing their diet with olive leaf extracts had an anti-obesity effect. Two groups of mice were fed a high-fat diet. The mice that were fed olive leaf extract experienced less weight gain than the mice who didn’t have the leaf extract. (20)

If you are struggling with weight loss, check out my article on 12 simple tweaks for weight loss.

Olive Leaf Extract Positively Affects Brain Function

The ability of compounds in olive leaf extract to kill off free radicals means that you can take olive leaf supplements to boost cognitive power.

A review of the medicinal benefits of olive leaf extracts found that oleuropein has a neuroprotective effect. Many studies have shown that the antioxidant properties of oleuropein can help prevent or slow down cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. (21)

Olive Leaf Extract Can Strengthen Bones

Polyphenols in olive leaf extracts can help to prevent osteoporosis and help reduce pain and inflammation in joints.

Research has uncovered that compounds in olive leaf extract like hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol, and oleuropein have an anti-inflammatory effect. In one clinical trial, olive extracts helped to prevent the decline of bone density. The anti-inflammatory effect of olive extracts helped to increase calcium absorption. Other studies have shown that oleuropein helps to preserve bone marrow. (22)

The researchers mentioned that supplementing the diet with olive oil or olive leaf extract can help to prevent osteoporosis in menopausal women.

Olive Leave Extract Benefits Symptoms of Arthritis

Taking olive leaf extract supplements can benefit elderly persons because the antioxidant effect can prevent painful inflammation in joints.

Clinical trials on olive extracts that contain high levels of oleuropein found that they have the potential to treat symptoms of osteoarthritis. Taking olive oil or olive leaf extract reduced inflammation and there was lower decline of collagen in joints. (23)

Taking 50 mg olive leaf extracts containing hydroxytyrosol also helped to reduce pain in adults suffering from knee osteoarthritis. In a 4-week period, episodes of night pain and pain from walking were significantly reduced. (23)

Antioxidant Effect of Olive Leaf Extract Can Help Prevent Cancer

Taking olive leaf supplements can provide plenty of antioxidants that can help prevent the development of certain cancers.

A review of studies into the use of olive leaf extracts in treating cancer has shown positive results. For example, because olive leaf extracts have a higher concentration of polyphenols, they could have a great potential in cancer therapy. Researchers also found that olive leaf extracts contain anticancer compounds (luteolin and apigenin) which are not found in olive oil. (24)

Clinical trials have demonstrated that the strong antioxidant effect of olive leaf extracts could prevent or reduce cancers such as pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, and leukemia. (24)

Of course, more research has to be done on ways to use olive leaf extracts to treat cancer. However, many studies point to the fact that extracts from olive leaves contain powerful antioxidants that have anticancer properties.

Side Effect of Olive Leaf Extract

In general, olive leaf extract supplements in powder form, liquid form, or as a therapeutic olive leaf tea are safe. It is, of course, important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions as to the correct daily dosage.

Olive leaf extracts help to lower blood pressure and reduce blood glucose levels. Therefore, if you want to use olive leaf extract for its medicinal benefits, you should speak with your doctor if you are taking medication for diabetes or hypertension.

If you are allergic to pollen, there is a chance that you could be allergic to olive leaf extract. (25)

What is Olive Oil Extract?

Some websites talk about olive oil extract. However, olive oil is the extract from the fruit of the olive tree and contains beneficial compounds. Medicinal compounds are not extracted from olive oil as they are all already contained in the oil.

For more advice on using olive oil, please read my article on the amazing health benefits of olive oil.

Dosage of Olive Leaf Extract

There is no recommended dosage for using olive leaf extracts for medicinal purposes.

Some studies suggest that 500 mg of olive leaf extract supplements twice a day can be useful for treating high blood pressure.

Other studies have shown that just 50 mg of olive leaf extract twice a day can be helpful for reducing arthritis pain.

Olive leaf extract in liquid form can come in the form of tinctures. Manufacturers recommend taking 20-30 drops in a small amount of water 3 or 4 times a day.

Some other types of liquid olive leaf extract say you can take up to 3 tablespoons a day in half a cup of water.

How to Select the Best Olive Leaf Extract

When looking to buy the best olive leaf extract supplement, it is important to look for high-quality products.

The best supplements containing extracts of olive leaves should state the amount of oleuropein in each capsule. Some super-strength olive leaf extracts contain up to 25% oleuropein. Good olive leaf supplements also state the amount of hydroxytyrosol.

You should also make sure that there are no cheap fillers or other unnecessary ingredients in the olive leaf supplement.

Olive leaf can be purchased as an extract in health stores or online. You can purchase olive leaf extract in a liquid form like this one or as a dried powder in capsules like this one. Always make sure the extract was made from organic olive leaves to make sure it’s pesticide free.

How to Make Olive Leaf Tea

If you have access to olive trees, you can make your own tea but make sure the leaves are of a good quality and haven’t been sprayed with pesticides.

Pick olive leaves in the mid-morning when any dew has dried. The leaves should ideally be oven-dried at just below 150 deg F. (65 deg C).

When the leaves are dry, crush them by hand and remove the stalks.

Steep 1 tsp of dried leaves in a cup of hot water for 10 to 15 minutes, then strain. You may drink three cups a day. The tea is very bitter so sweeten with honey. Take this tea with food to avoid stomach irritation.

If you love olive oil, you may also be interested to read my article about the amazing health benefits of olive oil: Discover the Amazing Health Benefits of Olive Oil

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