According to Morton Walker, D.P.M., author of Olive Leaf Extract, knowledge of the medicinal properties of the olive leaf dates back to the early 1800s when pulverized leaves were used in a drink to lower high fevers. A few decades later, green olive leaves were taken again in liquid form as a treatment for malarial infections. But it wasn’t until 1995 that the actual individual therapeutic component of olive leaves – elenolic acid with its salt, calcium elenolate – was uncovered.
Walker says when we are free from disease, our bodies play host to millions of micro-organisms, and he believes that in most cases, these organisms and human cells live in a state of peaceful coexistence. It is when the immune system becomes weakened that these organisms can turn pathologic.
When new pathogens are encountered, a strong immune system mounts a primary response during which it learns everything about the pathogen. But this primary response can take some time to clear the infection, during which a person becomes sick. If the body is reinfected with a previously encountered pathogen, the cell memory kicks in to mount a very specific and rapid attack against it. This secondary response is so quick and efficient that we are not even aware that we have been reinfected.
However, if the immune system has been weakened by chronic illness or stress, illness may occur for an extended period of time during which a number of symptoms show up:
* Recurring allergies
* Bowel and digestive problems
* Joint pain and swelling
* Muscle weakness
* Respiratory problems such as asthma
Once the immune system is overburdened with some type of pathogen, disease takes a foot-hold; sometimes it takes months and even years to manifest itself. In the meantime, the pathogens are draining strength from the immune system.
The leaves of the olive tree contain concentrated amounts of oleuropein. Oleuropein breaks down in the body to create elolenic acid (in the form of calcium elenolate; a calcium salt). Elolenic acid interacts with a target pathogen at a receptor, as a key interacts with a lock. Elolenic acid is the key and the pathogen receptor is the lock. Specific keys fit specific locks.
Elolenic acid comes in two forms that are mirror images of each other, except for a slight difference: one reflects light to the right while the other reflects light to the left. This difference, called chirality, defines how the key is tooled and determines how well it fits a particular lock. Chirality is caused by different spatial arrangements of atoms around a single carbon atom.
The left elolenic acid binds completely (100%) to serum protein, which prevents interaction with pathogen receptors. The right elolenic acid (key) fits the pathogen receptor (lock) and the pathogen is inhibited or destroyed.
East Park Research in Las Vegas, Nevada, who developed a patented and licensed version of OLE, began researching OLE in the 1990s. They found that the 98 active ingredients found in olive leaf all work synergistically with each other. The standard extraction process, which uses high levels of heat, can kill off some of these ingredients, leaving you with less effective product.
“When East Park got hold of OLE, we proceeded where other companies failed because of newer research techniques that were available,” says Les Nachman, Vice President of East Park Research. “It’s not that we’re better than the other companies. The techniques we used just weren’t around before the 1990s.”
This patented extraction process extracts the therapeutic elements from the leaf capturing all of the olive leaf’s pathogen-killing properties in a process called the Stereoisomer extraction process.
Nachman, himself an OLE user for seven years, claims that the only adverse effect that comes from the use of OLE is the Herxheimer reaction, named after German physician Karl Herxheimer, M.D. Nachman and others refer to this reaction as “die-off.”
Die-off occurs when organisms are killed off by the olive leaf’s therapeutic components. Once large numbers are killed, the patient’s membranes absorb toxic products from these dead organisms and the large amount of foreign antigens triggers an increasing immune response. These immune effects can temporarily worsen a person’s symptoms.
According to Nachman, because every person is different, die-off can occur as soon as one day after taking the product. Symptoms of die-off can be manifested as an aching in the bones, joints and muscles all at the same time. A person may develop a low-grade fever or a circular red rash on the skin. In addition, discomfort can occur in the mucous membranes of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and small and large intestines. The effect normally does not last longer than a week.
“Because of this effect, people thinking about taking this product should certainly educate themselves about it first,” recommends Nachman. “But rest assured, if you’re experiencing the effects of die-off, [I believe] the treatment is working.”