More About Olive Leaf Extract from Your Health Professor
In today’s stressful world, immune system health is more important than ever. History has proven that no matter what we do to combat viruses, bacteria and parasites, they have the remarkable capability to mutate for survival, often returning in a more virulent form than before. New strains of the flu and other microbial invaders are being discovered at an alarming rate, and modern medicine is constantly on the defensive. At the time this was written, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta is predicting a “bad flu season” because a “killer drift variant” strain of flu has been discovered, called type A Fujian. This new strain has already caused deaths abroad, and vaccinations are strongly recommended, especially for the very young and the elderly.
However, mutating microbes are only part of the problem confronting our immune systems. Factors such as environmental pollution and over-processing of foods are believed by many researchers to play a major role in many health conditions. Which means, more than ever before, you need to make sure your immune system is functioning at peak efficiency.
Fortunately, there are a number of natural products available that can assist you in reaching this goal. One of the most effective discovered to date is Olive Leaf Extract (OLE). Natural olive leaf extract is derived from the olive tree (Olea europaea), which happens to have a very long and interesting history. One of the most revered botanicals, the olive tree is mentioned numerous times in the Bible. One of the earliest and most powerful mentions is the delivery of the olive branch to Noah by a dove, a sign that the floodwaters were receding and life was returning. The olive tree was, and still is, a life-giver. Its fruit is used for food, and the oil is used for cooking and as a source of light to ward off the darkness. Ancient cultures soon discovered that the various components of the olive tree provided a myriad of health benefits as well, benefits confirmed by modern science.
Extract of olive leaves is one of the best, if not THE best, natural antimicrobials and antioxidants ever discovered.* Oddly enough it might have been well recognized in this role much sooner since it was reported in the mid-1850’s that a bitter tea brewed from olive leaves might be a potential cure for malaria. However, not all great discoveries are immediately recognized as valuable, and physicians of that era didn’t give much credence to the reports. It wasn’t until decades later that a simple analysis conducted on olive leaves led to the discovery of an active component, the phenolic compound oleuropein, which has since been associated with many health benefits.
More recently, numerous studies have been conducted on olive leaves and the active components found in the leaves, with a preponderance of positive results. A 1999 study conducted at the University of Rome assessed the antimicrobial activity of oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol, two of the most active components in olive leaf extract. They were pitted against many different bacterial strains, including salmonella and staphylococcus, in vitro. The study concluded, “Olea europaea can be considered a potential source of promising antimicrobial agents” for the support of intestinal and respiratory health.*4
A 2002 study conducted at the University of South Australia compared the effectiveness of some of the typical components of the Mediterranean diet, including oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol, as reactive oxygen species inhibitors and free radical scavengers. Researchers also examined their capability in protecting against low-density lipoprotein oxidation in vitro. Results clearly indicated that these components are potent inhibitors of free radical generation, as well as effective free radical scavengers.*5
NOW® Foods carries a number of olive leaf extract products, including our Olive Leaf Extract 500mg, standardized to contain 6% oleuropein, our Extra Strength product with 18% oleuropein and 100mg of Echinacea Extract, and Olive Leaf Glycerite liquid, which contains 18% oleuropein.
Why would you want a standardized Olive Leaf Extract product over a whole herb Olive Leaf product? We’re glad you asked! Standardization allows for consistently effective herbal products because the active ingredient, or marker compound, is accurately identified and measured, ensuring that the product delivers a certain minimum level of the active component or components. In simpler terms, standardized herbal products allow the consumer to obtain the benefits of an herb without having to consume massive quantities because there is a much greater concentration of active components, which also improves the effectiveness of the herbal product. Purchasing standardized Olive Leaf with a guaranteed concentration of oleuropein is a smart choice.
1.Balch, Phyllis A.; Prescription for Herbal Healing; Avery, Penguin Putnam, 2002
2.Walker, Morton; Nature’s Antibiotic: Olive Leaf Extract; Kensington Books, 1997
3.Walker, Morton; Olive Leaf Extract: The New Oral Treatment To Counteract Most Types Of Pathological Organisms; Explore!, Vol. 7, No. 4, 1996
4.Bisignano, G. et. al.; On the In-vitro Antimicrobial Activity of Oleuropein and Hydroxytyrosol; J. Pharm. Pharmacol., 1999, 51: pp. 971-974
5.Stupans, I. et. al.; Comparison of Radical Scavenging Effect, Inhibition of Microsomal Oxygen Free Radical Generation, and Serum Lipoprotein Oxidation of Several Natural Antioxidants; J. Agric. Food Chem., 2002, 50, pp. 2464-2469