Olive Leaf Extract - What, why, who?

Olive trees, widely cultivated throughout Mediterranean countries as a source of olives and olive oil, have been traditionally used not only in foods, but in health conditions including malaria, infections, cardiovascular diseases, and for general well-being. As early as 1855, medical reports have described the benefits of drinking a bitter tea brewed with leaves from the olive tree. Epidemiological data obtained from clinical studies have consistently demonstrated that the Mediterranean diet, rich in olive oil, fruits, vegetables, and grains is correlated with a lower than average risk of coronary heart disease. The natural antioxidants, including oleuropein, from the olive tree may play a role in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases through a decreased formation of atherosclerotic plaques by inhibiting LDL oxidation.

In the 1960s, a major pharmaceutical company studied the effects of elenolic acid as an antiviral agent in laboratory animals. The isolated calcium salt of elenolic acid was tested as a broad-spectrum antiviral agent active against all viruses tested.

Frequently Reported Uses

  • Antiviral.
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Ulcerative Colitis

Other Reported Uses

  • Antibacterial
  • Antifungal
  • Antiparasitic
  • Hypercholesterolemia
  • Hypertension
  • Anti-Inflammatory.
  • Antioxidant
  • Hypoglycemic
  • Immune Enhancement
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Olive leaf extract has been reported to be an effective antimicrobial agent against a variety of pathogens, including Salmonella typhi, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, and Staphylococcus aureus (including penicillin-resistant strains); and Klebsiella pneumonia, and Escherichia coli, causal agents of intestinal or respiratory tract infections in humans. The authors concluded that olive leaf could be considered a potentially effective antimicrobial agent for the treatment of intestinal or respiratory tract infections. The component usually associated with olive leaf’s antimicrobial properties is oleuropein. Oleuropein has also been reported to directly stimulate macrophage activation in laboratory studies.

Olive leaf extract has reported antiviral activity, reportedly caused by the constituent calcium elenolate, a derivative of elenolic acid. Some viruses inhibited by calcium elenolate in vitro include rhinovirus, myxoviruses, Herpes simplex type I, Herpes simplex type II, Herpes zoster, Encephalomyocarditis, Polio 1, 2, and 3, two strains of leukemia virus, many strains of influenza and para-influenza viruses. The mechanism of action of the antiviral activity is reported to include:

  • An ability to interfere with critical amino acid production essential for viruses.
  • An ability to contain viral infection and/or spread by inactivating viruses or by preventing virus shedding, budding, or assembly at the cell membrane.
  • Ability to directly penetrate infected cells and stop viral replication.
  • In the case of retroviruses, it is able to neutralize the production of reverse transcriptase and protease.
  • Stimulation of phagocytosis.

As an antifungal and antiviral agent, olive leaf extract is currently used as a supportive agent in the management of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. Anecdotally, a European product containing 20% oleuropein has been reported effective in CFS and fibromyalgia.

An olive leaf extract was reported in a laboratory study to have vasodilating effects, seemingly independent of vascular endothelial integrity. Traditional uses support olive leaf and olive oil in cardiovascular disease prevention. Olive leaf extract was found to be effective in lowering blood pressure. Oleuropein, an antioxidant, has been reported to decrease the oxidation of LDL cholesterol.Oxidized LDL is the most damaging form of cholesterol and can initiate damage to arterial tissues, thereby promoting atherosclerosis. Olive leaf has been reported to inhibit platelet aggregation and production of thromboxane A2 (a stimulator of platelet aggregation with vasodilatory effects). Also of interest, is a recent study reporting that olive leaf extract inhibited both angiotensin converting enzymes.

Studies in laboratory animals have reported hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic activity of olive leaf. The active constituent was reported to be oleuropein, with a proposed mechanism of action of potentiation of glucose-induced insulin release, and an increase in peripheral blood glucose uptake.

As stated, olive leaf has antioxidant properties associated with oleuropein. Also, caffeic acid was reported to have antioxidant activity through the scavenging of superoxide anion. Olive leaf has been reported to have anti-complement in vitro, and is a proposed mechanism for its anti-inflammatory effects.

Olive Leaf Extract Dosage Range

250-500mg (standardized extract), 1-3 times a day. 
Tea: 3 to 4 cups, 2 teaspoonfuls of herb per cup throughout the day.

Olive Leaf Extract Most Common Dosage

500mg (standardized extract), 3 times a day. 
Tea: 3 cups, 2 teaspoonfuls of herb per cup throughout the day.
*Standardization represents the complete body of information and controls that serve to enhance the batch to batch consistency of a botanical product, including but not limited to the presence of a marker compound at a defined level or within a defined range. The most current available medical and scientific literature indicates that this dietary supplement should be standardized to 4-23% oleuropein per dose (most products in the United States are 6-12% oleuropein).


Olive leaf is reported safe in recommended dosages.
Olive pollen may cause an allergic reaction, so olive products should be used with caution in sensitive individuals.
Based on pharmacology, use with caution in individuals with bleeding disorders.

Article and full list of sources courtesy of NHIonDemand.com, found here.

Live Superfoods has Olive Leaf Extracts from Healthforce. Also found in Soignee Botanicals Maximizer Facial Night Creme.

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