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 olive 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 Olive
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 antioxidant with a potency 4000 higher than vitamin C has contributed substantially to its popularity. Moreover, it is considered effective in the treatment of tumors and certain forms of cancer.
Olive leaf extract come in the form of capsules, liquid concentrate, powder, and tea derived from freshly harvested leaves.
The medicinal and rejuvenating power of olive oil is attributed to the presence of the molecule, oleuropein in the olive tree found also in abundance in the olive leaves. The antioxidant, anti-cognitive decline, cancer prevention, blood pressure and cholesterol management properties of olive are all attributed to this molecule.
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 blood pressure, the management of arterial health, diabetes, cancer, neuro-protection, stroke 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 cure pneumonia, fatigue, malaria, tuberculosis, diarrhea, dengue, diabetes, 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 peoples has contributed substantially to their longevity, wellness, and good health.
 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)