Many plants indigenous to certain regions have thrived and prospered and are identified closely with the flow of their histories. One such region is the Mediterranean Sea which is the setting of the rise and the fall of countless kingdoms and empires: the Egyptians, the Near Eastern, the Greeks, the Persians, the Romans, the Byzantine, the Islamic, the Christian kingdoms, and the nation-states.
Regardless of the political hegemony and climate , the cultivation and traffic of the olive tree (Olea europaea) and its by-products were sustained in the Mediterranean. Records and artifacts (including Cretan, Etruscan, and Roman fresco paintings) show the importance of the economy of olive to the peoples of the region.
In fact, the unraveling narrative of the famous Trojan War seems to point that its cause lies less in the beauty of Helen than in the intense rivalry of the Trojan and Achaeans over the control of the trade routes to the Black Sea where the most prized commodity was olive oil.
The Uses and Benefits of Olives and Olive Leaf Extract
Olive oil is popularly used in the region for its culinary value and its importance to physical well-being. It is believed that ancient peoples of the region also appreciated the use of this herb as a cosmetic and beauty enhancer.
The leaf of the olive tree, on the other hand, seems to possess medicinal properties. Claims that the olive leaf extract is an amazing antioxidant with a potency higher than vitamin C has contributed substantially to its popularity. Moreover, it is considered effective in the treatment of tumors and certain forms of disease. Amazingly, it’s even gaining more and more attention for its ability to help with weight loss.
Olive Leaf Extract is highly antiviral and anecdotal evidence abounds from people saying it healed viruses, especially herpes and other STDs including HIV. If you’re interested in this herb mainly to fight viruses (like me fighting herpes), I highly recommend that you pair it with bee propolis. I haven’t had an outbreak in almost 13 years and I take olive leaf extract together with bee propolis every single day except the first five days of the month (it’s how I cycle herbs).
The medicinal and rejuvenating power of olive oil is attributed to the presence of the oleuropein molecule in the olive tree found also in abundance in the olive leaves. Many of the antioxidant, anti-cognitive decline, disease prevention, blood pressure and cholesterol management properties of olive are attributed to this molecule.
Additionally, olive leaf extract is rich in healthy micro-nutrients like polyphenols and hydroxytyrosol.
Current Clinical Studies on Olive Leaf Extracts
The terrain for the documentation and clinical validation of the positive effects of olive oil extracts is vast transcending its traditional uses as a popular wellness enhancer and culinary ingredient: This includes the need to clinically establish its effectiveness in relief for high blood pressure, the management of arterial health, blood disorders, disease, leukemia, lymphoma, chemotherapy, neuro-protection, stroke, enlarged prostate (BPH) and arthritis.
On the other hand, the day-to-day uses of olive oil and olive leaf extracts similar to ‘over-the-counter’ medical products cannot be underestimated: as cleanser for the ‘gut,’ to control bacterial infection on the skin, teeth, ears, and the urinary tract, lice infestation, ear infection, to heal minor burns, to eliminate excess cholesterol, to remedy pneumonia, fatigue, malaria, tuberculosis, diarrhea, dengue, blood disorders, hay fever, normalize urination, and improve the kidney and digestive functions among others.
Certainly, the continuous historical use of olive oil and olive leaf extracts in the diet of Mediterranean people has contributed substantially to their longevity, wellness, and good health.
Olive Leaf Extract Supplements
While it’s true that you could choose to eat raw olive leaves or make a tea out of them, ready-to-take supplements are much more convenient and tend to be a better value. Olive leaf extract come in the form of capsules, liquid concentrate, powder, and tea derived from freshly harvested leaves. You need to start with a powder supplement that is standardized to a minimum of 6% oleuropein. Some come with much higher levels.
 Olive Leaf extracts (n.d.) Available from: www.wikipedia.org (Accessed 16 August 2014)
Everson, Julian (n.d.) Unexpected Benefits of Olive Leaf Extract Available from: lef.org (Accessed 16 August 2014)
 Olive Leaf Extract Available from: www.webmed.com (Accessed 16 August 2014)
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