Olive leaf extract’s natural antimicrobial properties – like the olive tree’s own unparalleled disease resistance – have been appreciated in the Mediterranean region and Middle East since the time of the pharoahs. By the early 1800s, medical reports were mentioning use of pulverized leaves in a drink to lower fevers, and a few decades later, green olive leaves were used in tea for malaria.
Since the early 1990's, compounds extracted from the olive leaf have been well documented by scientific studies as powerful potential allies of the body’s own pathogen fighting defense systems.
How might olive leaf extract work to support the body’s natural disease fighting mechanisms?
Though much remains to be learned about these highly complex compounds, Dr. Morton Walker, author of Olive Leaf Extract, has explained it this way:
• Concentrated amounts of the phytochemical oleuropein hold the key to olive leaf extract’s effectiveness versus viral & bacterial pathogens.
• Found in the fruit, leaves, bark and roots of the olive tree, oleuropein is composed of some 95 different compounds, one of which 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 the enzymes reverse transcriptase and protease.
• These enzymes are essential for many pathogens to infect a healthy cell – and for retroviruses to alter cellular RNA. Without these enzymes, the pathogens are rendered impotent.
• Elenolic acid also appears “able to prevent virus shedding, budding, or assembly at the cell membrane”; and able to stimulate phagocytosis – part of the immune system’s mechanism for ingesting and disposing of microorganisms and other foreign matter.
In vitro studies have also shown that oleuropein is an important factor in combating the growth of some 50 common pathogens, including viruses, bacteria, fungi and yeast, and protozoal infection.
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, some of these organisms can turn pathologic, making disease likely. Olive leaf extract may work to help the body prevent this process through the inhibitory properties of elenolic acid.
According to rheumatologist Lisa Weinrib, MD, who treats patients suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia, “[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.”
1. "Olive Leaf Extract – A New/Old Healing Bonanza for Mankind," James R. Privitera, MD.
2. Olive Leaf Extract, Morton Walker. Kensington, 1997.
3. "What is Olive Leaf Extract?" Healthy Christian Living website
4. "Olive Leaf Extract – a Natural Antibiotic?" Internet Health Library, March 2001
5. "Antioxidant activity of phenolics extracted from Olea europaea L. leaves," Benavente-Garcia O, et al. Food Chemistry, Dec. 1999
Note: This information has not been evaluated by the FDA. It is generic and is not meant to prevent, diagnose, treat, ameliorate, or cure any illness, condition, or disease. It is very important that you make no change in your healthcare plan or health support regimen without researching and discussing it in collaboration with your professional healthcare team.