The Wonders of Olive Leaf - Go Magazine Feb 2013


The beneficial impact olive leaf extract (OLE) has on the immune system is well known, but there is a great deal more to be gained from this Athenian plant than a boost to your immunity. Siobhan Moylan investigates.


The silvery green leaves have long been known to relieve symptoms of cold and flu and dating back to the 1800's, it has been used to quell fevers and malaria. As research into the plant grows, so too, does its list of health benefits.


The Mediterranean tree has been shown to assist in fighting herpes related infections such as chronic cold sores (herpes simplex) and shingles (herpes zoster). It is also used to treat sinus conditions, dental infection, chronic fatigue syndrome and bronchitis.


Did someone say high cholesterol? Laboratory experiments have shown that olive leaf compounds also inhibit the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol. It’s even been said to ease the painful sting of gout by inhibiting the enzyme xanthine oxidase, which is key in stopping uric acid formation (gout is a build up of uric acid).  

The benefits don’t stop there - if you suffer from hypertension (high blood pressure), OLE can benefit you by relaxing blood vessels, thereby lowering blood pressure. It has anti-arrhythmic effects which have all been attributed to oleuropeside - an important component in OLE. In short, it’s good for your heart.



Without wanting to get too technical, hydroxytyrosol - an extract from the humble olive leaf is turning out to be a powerful anti-inflammatory. The active ingredient is polyphenol. Green tea also contains polyphenol, but the hydroxytyrosol found in olives has an antioxidant content over ten times greater than vitamin C. Olives and their oil also contain a key compound called oleocanthal, which is a natural and potent anti-inflammatory painkiller. Olive leaf extract is an excellent natural supplement to take for the chronic pain of arthritis and is a sensible long-term supplement to prevent osteoarthritis. We know the Mediterranean diet is praised for it’s an anti-inflammatory ingredients and this, in part, is due to its high inclusion of olives and olive oil.



Recently a double-blind, cross-over study conducted at the University of Auckland, has shown that overweight middle-aged men, pre-disposed to diabetes had significant improvement in insulin sensitivity and insulin secretion when supplemented with fresh OLE for 12 weeks. The research is adequate to support the conclusions that OLE supplementation may improve the way insulin is secreted and works hence inhibiting the progression from impaired glucose tolerance to type 2 diabetes in men.

This study has shown that a natural, side-effect-free product like OLE could be a simple way to control obesity, blood pressure and prevent the onset of glucose intolerance.

Since ancient times a dove carrying an olive leaf has been a universal sign of peace. Early Olympians were crowned with olive leaf wreaths.  Science is continuing to discover olive leaf’s ability to create inner harmony in all of us - all year round.


Siobhan Moylan is an investigative journalist based in the Eastern suburbs of Sydney. Having worked in radio, TV and in print for over a decade Siobhan's main focus has been on health related topics. 


this article originally featured in Go Magazine Feb 2013 produced by Go Vita

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