This fruit bearing evergreen tree has been revered as a symbol of peace, prosperity and wisdom for thousands of years. To ancient people it represented more than highly prized oil and medicinal leaves, it stood for their survival. According to the Abrahamic religions, the first sign of life brought to Noah after the great flood was a twig of Olive leaves, yet even today the Olive tree is treated as sacred for its numerous life sustaining qualities.
Research into the health benefits of Olive leaf seems to have officially begun in the early 1800's when it was found useful for treating Malaria. Roughly 100 years later, the bitter component in the leaves was identified as 'oleuropeoside', later renamed 'oleuropein'. Oleuropein has since been proven to be the main active component giving medcinal properties to Olive products as well as the source of their uniquely bitter-sweet taste(Oleuropein is a bitter iridoid bound to glucose). This powerful polyphenol accounts for approximately 6-9% of dried olive leaf chemical make-up and has been proven useful in treating a myriad of ailments.
In 1991, the University of Granadas Pharmaceutical department published an in depth article on the vasodilator effect of Olive leaf extracts stating that a decoction (decoction is a water based extract, i.e. a carefully prepared tea) of Olive leaf caused relaxation of the aorta in rats. This is a profoundly important study to substantiate claims that Olive leaf helps to reduce blood pressure.
Considering that one of the most common factors causing high blood pressure is arterial flexibility, the Olive leafs ability to target arterial stiffness and improve endothelial function without adverse side effects makes it an essential herb for heart health. In 2013 the Arizona Republic published an article on our Olive leaf & Dandelion tea blend and the amount of people experiencing reduced blood pressure from drinking it daily.
After demonstrating the hypotensive action of Olive leaf extracts, the University of Granada began also researching potential hypoglycemic activity of olive leaf and yielded equally exciting results. They concluded that Olive leaf does indeed have anti-diabetic and hypoglycemic effects by means of potentiating glucose-induced insulin release as well as increasing peripheral glucose uptake. Click here to read the full study, and here for another related study performed in 2006.
In 2017 the anti-bacterial action of Olive leaf extract was tested on clinical strains of Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epedermidis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Escherichia coli (E. coli) using the antibiotic neomycin as a control. They found Olive leaf compounds to be just as effective as neomycin against both gram positive staph bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus & S. epedermidis), however it was not active against the gram negative bacteria P. aeruginosa, or E. coli.
Another study conducted in 2017 found that at a higher concentration Olive leaf extract was effective against gram negative bacteria E. coli as well as against Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella enterica. Click here and here to read the full studies.
Anti-oxidant & anti-cancer activity
In 2014 the University of Tsukuba in Japan published their study of the effects of Olive leaf extract on Myelogenous Leukemia K562 Cells. They found that Olive leaf extract had the ability to induce apoptosis(cell death) as well as differentiate between healthy and cancerous cells. This ability to differentiate between healthy and mutated cells was most exciting considering that chemotherapy and radiation are non specific therapies that cannot target cancer cells specifically and indiscriminately damage healthy cells. Click here to read this full study.
Another study published in 2018 found that Olive leaf extract had an anti-cancer effect by inducing apoptosis in human Melanoma cells. They also found that the extract potentiated other chemotherapy drugs, thus making them more effective.
How to prepare Olive leaf at home
"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food". The wisdom of this ancient folk proverb is profound yet simple. Incorporating medicinal herbs into the diet though daily routines is the easiest and most satisfying way to maintain vibrant health.
Each night I prepare Olive leaf tea by slowly bringing dried Olive leaf to boil in 24oz of water on the stove. Once the tea boils, it's removed from the heat and allowed to steep covered, all night. In the morning, you wake to a proper medicinal Olive leaf decoction, i.e. a water based Olive leaf extract. Taking the brief moments needed each night for this ritual is a profound act of self love that your mind, body and spirit will thank you for.
Keeping true to our name, every one of the Olive Leaf Tea Company tea blends begin with Organic & Fair trade Olive leaves hand harvested by the Greek monks at St. Anthony's Monastery. Happy sipping fellow tea lovers!
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and this post is intended purely as information. It is not intended to treat or diagnose.