Olive leaf extract (OLE), as the name indicates, is derived from the leaves of the olive tree (scientific name Olea europaea). An unprocessed leaf contains strong antioxidant compounds like oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol along with other polyphenols and flavonoids. These active ingredients are responsible for imparting bitter taste and pungent flavor to the olive leaves.
The benefits of olive leaf extract are not less than those of olive oil. In fact, the therapeutic use of olive leaf extract is believed to have known since 1000 B.C. In those times, it was used for treatment of various aliments, especially in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries. Data collected from people residing in these areas, and whose diet consists of olive leaf reveal that they have a lower risk of developing heart diseases. Let's discuss in brief about the benefits and side effects of olive leaf extract.
Benefits of Olive Leaf Extract
Due to the presence of antioxidants, this plant-based product helps in scavenging free radicals, which are responsible for attacking body cells and tissues. Hence, it restores cells by preventing cellular damage. Commercially, olive leaf extract is marketed for curing aging related problems, stimulating immune system, and for treating bacterial infections. It can be consumed in powder form, liquid concentrate, or capsules. While buying olive leaf extract, always purchase it from a reliable brand to reap maximum benefits.
One of the latest discoveries about olive leaf extract is the ability to fight disease-causing microorganisms. The compound behind this miracle is calcium elenolate, a powerful active ingredient present in the foliage of olive trees. This compound possesses strong antibacterial and antiviral properties. When bacteria and viruses encounter this substance, their replication is hindered rendering them unfit for further spreading of disease.
The therapeutic uses and/or health benefits of olive leaf extract include treatment of diseases that are caused by pathogen infestations such as common cold, influenza, herpes, shingles, meningitis, tuberculosis, urinary tract infections, malaria, blood poisoning, and infections at the surgical sites. Medical researchers opine that this extract lowers hypertension and improves blood circulation. It also helps in reducing bad cholesterol and at the same, increases good cholesterol level.
Side Effects of Olive Leaf Extract
Speaking about the side effects, no serious adverse effects have been reported due to usage of olive leaf extract till now. After taking higher dosage of this extract, one may experience detoxification reactions such as headache, body ache, muscle pain, increased fatigue, flu-like symptoms, or diarrhea. If such conditions are manifested, reduce the intake dose. In order to prevent olive leaf side effects, it is advisable to drink adequate amounts of water after taking the extract.
As of now, clinical trials have not been conducted to determine its possible side effects in children and pregnant women. On a safety note, children, pregnant women, and lactating mothers should avoid taking this product without medical supervision. It is also not recommended for those who have low blood pressure and low blood glucose. Scientific evidences are lacking regarding the interaction of olive leaf extract with other pharmaceutical medications.