Knowledge of the olive leaf’s medicinal properties dates back to the early 1800s when pulverized leaves were used in a drink to lower fevers. A few decades later, green olive leaves were used in tea as a treatment for malaria.
Now, olive leaf extract is gaining recognition as a powerful defender against sickness, and numerous scientific studies have been conducted to investigate the extract’s beneficial properties. The reported benefits of olive leaf extract’s range from promoting increased energy and healthy blood pressure, to supporting the cardiovascular system, and the immune system.
How does olive leaf extract provide this support? Oleuropein holds the key to olive leaf extract’s effectiveness. It is found in the fruit, leaves, bark and roots of the olive tree. Within this substance is a chemical agent called elenolic acid, which has a strong antimicrobial effect. Elenolic acid interferes with the amino acid pathways of pathogens and prevents them from reproducing within the body by neutralizing the production of transcriptase and protease. These enzymes are essential for many pathogens to infect a healthy cell and without them, they are rendered impotent. Studies have shown oleuropein is an important factor in combating the growth of pathogens, including viruses, bacteria, fungi and yeast.
Even when the body is healthy, it still plays host to millions of micro-organisms. These organisms can take up residence in the tissues without interfering with normal physiologic processes. However, if anything changes, such as the immune system weakening, these organisms can turn pathologic, making disease likely. Olive leaf extract maywork to prevent this process through the inhibitory properties of elenolic acid.
According to rheumatologist Lisa Weinrib, M.D., “[olive leaf extract]…is the missing link that functions as an antiviral and antiretroviral agent by slowing down the organism’s reproductive cycle. A slowdown of the spread of the organism allows the patient’s immune system to go on the attack.” HW