Olive leaf extract contains oleuropein, a bitter substance with antiviral, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties. However, not all people respond positively to oleuropein.
The olive tree has a very long and interesting history. The drinking of olive leaf tea has been a way for many centuries by Middle Eastern cultures to treat disorders such as coughs, sore throat, cystitis, fever and gout. In addition to the infusion, poultices were also made of the olive leaves to treat boils, rashes, warts and other skin problems.
Back in the early 1800s it was used in liquid form as a very effective treatment for malarial infections. According to the 1854 Pharmaceutical Journal of Provincial Transactions, pages 353 and 354(a), the doctors at that time stated that the properties of the tree deserved more extensive investigation. In the early 1900s, a bitter compound was found in the leaves of certain olive trees called "Oleuropein". This compound was determined to be part of the olive tree's powerful disease resistant structure.
In 1962, an Italian researcher recorded that oleuropein had the ability to lower blood pressure in animals. Other European researchers validated that claim and also found it to increase blood flow in the coronary arteries, relieve arrhythmias and prevent intestinal muscle spasms. The search began for the chemical agent within oleuropein that would be the most important medically. A Dutch researcher found it. The chemical was elenolic acid. Further European research determined this compound to have strong bactericidal capabilities as well.
In the late 1960s and early 70s, The Upjohn Companies' test studies were published by The American Society for Microbiology in regards to a new multifunctional monoterpene which they had isolated from various parts of the olive tree. The compound was called calcium elenolate, a crystalline salt form of elenolic acid. When they tested this compound it was found to be virucidal against all viruses for which it was tested. Unfortunately, once in the blood stream, the compound bound quickly to the blood serum protein and rendered itself ineffective.
Olive Leaf Extract is extracted from specific parts of the olive tree (Olea europaea).
The main constituent of olive leaf is the phytochemical oleuropein, which has broken down to elenolic acid, which have a powerful anti-bacterial effect, and has the ability to interfere with critical amino acid production essential for viruses. Oleuropein is a bitter monoterpene glycoside of the class known as secoiridoids and is also one of the major components found in the polyphenolic portion of olive oil. Other ingredients include esters, multiple iridoids, rutin, apigenin and luteolin, amongst others.
According to laboratory tests, calcium elenolate (derived from oleuropein) kills viruses by interfering with certain amino acid production processes. This interference prevents virus shedding, budding or assembly at the cell membrane. Studies suggest that this compound has the ability to penetrate infected host cells and irreversibly inhibit viral replication. In retroviruses, this compound neutralizes the production of the reverse transcriptase enzyme and is believed to also neutralize the protease enzyme as well. These enzymes are essential for retroviruses such as HIV to alter the RNA of a healthy cell.
Researchers in Europe investigated the properties of oleuropein and suggested that it inactivated bacteria by dissolving the outer lining of the microbes. More recent studies of oleuropein show that it seems to protect low density lipoprotein from oxidation, thus reducing the LDL (the bad cholesterol). Another research study in France remarks that Olea europaea leaf extracts show extremely high antioxidative qualities.
Olive Leaf Extract seems to show itself as an immune system builder by directly stimulating phagocyte production (phagocytosis). It also contains natural flavonoids and esters that create a structural complex that infectious microorganisms may not readily develop a resistance to.
Olive leaf extract can be helpful in the treatment of the common cold, flu, chronic fatigue, cold sores (herpes), possibly HIV, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, ear infections, eye infections, nose and throat infections, impetigo, pink eye, parasites, and a host of bacterial, viral, yeast and fungal infections.
Animal studies have proven the effectiveness of olive leaf extract to lower blood pressure, but this needs to be verified by human studies.
It further seems helpful in containing viral infections and the spreading of these viruses by inactivating them, and the ability to directly penetrate infected cells and stop viral replication.
In the case of retroviruses, it seems to be able to neutralize the production of reverse transcriptase and protease and also seems to be helpful in stimulating phagocytosis, which is an immune system response in which cells ingest harmful microorganisms and foreign matter.
Some research suggests that olive leaf extract may be a "true anti-viral" compound, as it appears to selectively block an entire virus-specific system. Consequently it may be useful when looking to fight influenza, the common cold, Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) and other viral infections.
Olive leaf extract also seems to be indicated as useful in boosting the energy levels, assisting with chronic fatigue as well as helping with allergies.
Olive leaf extract has been reported by leading clinicians to offer significant benefit when included as part of an immune system enhancement program designed to combat microorganisms.
Olive Leaf Extract seems to be lowering the bad cholesterol (LDL) level 30% or more in clinical trials for several individuals without exercise or extreme dietary changes.
Olive Leaf Extract is non-toxic, but when killing too many pathogens too quickly (detoxifying), a "die off" or Herxheimer's reaction may occur – which is experienced as flu-like symptoms or allergic attacks. This however only happens with high dosage and normally passes quickly. If any of these symptoms should occur – greater fatigue, diarrhea, headaches, muscle/joint aches or flu-like symptoms, temporarily discontinue taking Olive Leaf Extract or cut back on the amount taken until the body can eliminate the toxic waste. Most individuals experience no such effect.
Olive leaf extract may inactivate antibiotics and should not be taken while taking antibiotics.
Olive leaf extract has been reported to help.
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