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Olive Leaf Extract

(Olea europaea)

olive leaves


The crushed leaves of the olive tree, or teas made from them, have been used to fight wound infection and for a number of other medical purposes for thousands of years by mediterranean and middle-eastern peoples. In the early nineteenth century, it was recorded that a tea brewed from olive leaves was effective against malaria, but it is only relatively recently that the range of infective agents and other conditions that olive leaf extracts have been shown to be effective against has begun to grow steadily.

The active ingredients of olive leaf extract have been identified as oleuropein and elenolic acid, although a number of other, possibly synergistic, phytochemicals such as hydroxytyrosol, and tyrosolare also present. In the body, enzymes convert oleuropein to a specific form of elenolic acid called d-elenolic acid (the ‘right handed’ version of two possible ‘mirror-image’ molecules) which is the main compound responsible for the effectiveness of olive leaf extract. It should also be noted that the ’left-handed’ version of elenolic acid (laevo- or l-elenolic acid) and its synthetic salts such as calcium elenolate do not have the same effects in the body as the natural ‘dextro’ form derived from oleuropein, because they quickly become attached to amino acids in the blood and are inactivated.

It is now known that oleuropein has very strong antiseptic, anti-protozoan, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties, is an antioxidant more powerful than most other herbal antioxidants or even vitamin E, can protect LDL (good) cholesterol, directly stimulates the immune system and may even have anti-cancer properties. These properties continue to be investigated and it is likely that oleuropein will soon be recognised as one of the most valuable resources available from the plant kingdom.

 

Powerful natural antibiotic

Oleuropein has been confirmed as an effective treatment and preventive for malaria and other protozoan diseases, can control fungal infections such as Candida albicans, and can even help prevent the onset of colds, flu, and a range of other viral infections including HIV/AIDS. However as antibiotic resistance continues to grow around the world, its greatest value may be in the fact that it is effective in the control of many diseases where allopathic antibiotic treatment is failing.

Research conducted in Hungary has shown positive results in combating a huge range of infections including pneumonia, bronchitis, tonsillitis, pharyngitis, stomatitis, stomach ulcer (caused by Helicobacter pylori), pulpitis, leukoplakia, herpes, ‘hospital staph’ and others.

There is growing evidence that some generalised disorders such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are caused or aggravated by long-term infections such as Candida albicans overgrowth, or the chronic presence of other inimical organisms. Because it has such ‘broad-spectrum’ antibiotic properties, olive leaf extract is showing great promise in treating this type of ‘unwellness’ where there is no single readily identifiable cause.

Note: Individuals who begin taking olive leaf extract to eliminate Candida or other unwanted pathogens may experience a ‘Herxheimer reaction’ (die-off symptoms), for a few days as toxins are released by dying yeast cells and excreted by the body, and dose should be temporarily adjusted downward if this is severe.

 

Immune supporter and ‘adaptogen’

Olive leaf extract’s anti-oxidant properties (it has been shown to be more powerful than green tea, grape seed and pine seed extracts, and vitamins C and E) prevent oxidation of cholesterol so that LDL (good) cholesterol is not converted to LDL (bad) cholesterol, it stimulates production of phagocytes (germ-killing white blood cells), increases blood flow in the coronary artery, normalises blood pressure and may help prevent hardening of the arteries.

 

Toxicity

Years of safe use and extensive research show that olive leaf extract has no toxic or other adverse side effects, even in very high doses.

A word of caution

Because of its immense potential for treating such a wide range of ailments, including many that are no longer treatable by allopathic antibiotics, there is a great deal of competition between manufacturers and suppliers, and the facts may occasionally suffer. Whether leaves used for extraction are fresh or dried, the use of different subspecies of olive, or differing extraction processes result in different levels of activity. Also, the search by manufacturers for a patentable version of the natural extract means that synthetic compounds such as d-calcium elonate may be touted as being equal or superior to the natural product (the opposite is true).

The simple bottom line when comparing different products is to look for a preparation containing at least 20% natural oleuropein standardised using the Merck method. The analysis should also confirm that the synergistic polyphenols and bioflavonoids that naturally accompany oleuropein make up the balance of the analysis - in other words that is a fully natural extract.

 

 

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