Olive Leaf Benefits

December 3, 2010 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

Marinated olives are a staple whenever we entertain company. Not only are olives an excellent low carb source of antioxidants and nutrients, but they’re also incredibly versatile. They can be mild or spicy, plain or stuffed, served as a tapenade or as whole fruits. We typically offer them along side an assortment of fresh cut vegetables and dip, raw cheeses and nuts and of course, a selection or biodynamic or organic red wine. But I must admit that olive leaves never seem to make the cut. I suppose we could serve olive leaf tea as a beverage option, though the bitter taste is probably a bit too acrid and unfamiliar for us and most guests. This is likely a shame because emerging research is revealing some rather noteworthy attributes for olive leaf extract (OLE).

The October 2010 edition of the journal Phytotherapy presents a fascinating study that compares the efficacy of a conventional anti-hypertensive medication (Captopril) vs a patented olive leaf extract (EFLA 943) in patients with stage-1 hypertension. The treatment leg of the trial lasted 8 weeks. The participants received either 500 mg of OLE twice daily or 12.5 mg to 25 mg of Captopril twice daily depending on the response to treatment. The changes in systolic and diastolic blood pressure were as follows:

  • Captopril Group: 148.4/93.8 mmHg (baseline) and 134.7/87.4 mmHg (after 8 weeks)
  • Olive Leaf Extract Group: 149.3/93.9 mmHg (baseline) and 137.8/89.1 mmHg (after 8 weeks)

Both groups were considered to have a similar response in relation to their blood pressure. However, only the olive extract group evidenced a significant reduction in triglyceride levels – another risk factor for cardiovascular disease. (1)

Olive Leaf Extract May Protect Skin Against UVB Radiation
Source: J. Nutr. November 2009 vol. 139 no. 11 2079-2086 (link)

Olive leaf extract follows in the long tradition of many other natural remedies in that they may afford users select side benefits rather than the side effects expected from pharmaceutical options. The leaves of the Olea europea tree are reservoirs for numerous phytochemicals which may protect against common causes of aging and disease. Two recent inquiries presented in the journals Food and Chemical Toxicology and Phytotherapy Research reveal that natural substances found in olive leaves such as hydroxytyrosol and oleuropein can potentially discourage the growth of breast cancer cells and shield skin from damage induced by sun exposure. These findings are leading researchers to wonder whether the leaves of olive trees may one day give the prized fruits a run for their money. (2,3)

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

Be well!


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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Heart Health, Nutritional Supplements

8 Comments & Updates to “Olive Leaf Benefits”

  1. Orna Izakson, ND, RH (AHG) Says:

    JP —

    I’ve always found olive-leaf tea to be surprisingly palatable. Mine, at least, tastes a bit like artichokes. Do you know where yours are coming from? I wonder if the variety — or age — makes a difference. I’ve only used leaves from the Arbequina in my back yard, fresh or recently dried.

    And what do you use to marinate yours? Fresh or dried? I’d be very interested in ways to use the leaves beyond tea or buying an extract.

    And, of course, there’s the whole antiviral aspect of olives leaves. I’m sure you’ve got that on here somewhere. 🙂

    Thanks again for your great work!

    —Dr. O

  2. JP Says:


    Based on your experience, I think I’ll give olive leaf tea another try. Thank you. 🙂

    In terms of marinating olive leaves, I really can’t say. I meant that we frequently enjoy marinated olives. Delicious!

    Be well!


  3. Orna Izakson, ND, RH (AHG) Says:

    Oops, misread that one. No more commenting before bedtime!

  4. JP Says:

    No worries, Orna! Something good came of it. I’m going to give olive leaf tea another try! 🙂

    Be well!


  5. JP Says:

    Update 06/05/15:

    https://www.thieme-connect.com/products/ejournals/html/10.1055/s-0035-1546017 (Full Text)

    Planta Med. 2015 Jun;81(8):648-54.

    Effects of the olive tree leaf constituents on myocardial oxidative damage and atherosclerosis.

    The olive (Olea europaea) leaf is considered an important traditional herbal medicine utilized against infectious diseases, and for the treatment of diabetes and hypertension. Moreover, olive leaf constituents have been related to cardioprotection, probably due to their association with cellular redox modulating effects. The pathogenesis of certain common diseases, including those of the cardiovascular system, involves oxidative stress and tissue inflammation. Olive polyphenolic compounds, such as oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol, or tyrosol, possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiatherosclerotic, anti-ischemic, and hypolipidemic effects on the myocardium as demonstrated by various in vitro and in vivo studies. In this review article, we summarize the current knowledge on the role of the olive leaf constituents in the prevention of cardiac dysfunction and highlight future perspectives in their use as cardioprotective agents in therapeutics.

    Be well!


  6. JP Says:

    Update 06/10/15:


    Br J Nutr. 2015 Jun 8:1-9.

    Secoiridoids delivered as olive leaf extract induce acute improvements in human vascular function and reduction of an inflammatory cytokine: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial.

    The leaves of the olive plant (Olea europaea) are rich in polyphenols, of which oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol (HT) are most characteristic. Such polyphenols have been demonstrated to favourably modify a variety of cardiovascular risk factors. The aim of the present intervention was to investigate the influence of olive leaf extract (OLE) on vascular function and inflammation in a postprandial setting and to link physiological outcomes with absorbed phenolics. A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over, acute intervention trial was conducted with eighteen healthy volunteers (nine male, nine female), who consumed either OLE (51 mg oleuropein; 10 mg HT), or a matched control (separated by a 4-week wash out) on a single occasion. Vascular function was measured by digital volume pulse (DVP), while blood collected at baseline, 1, 3 and 6 h was cultured for 24 h in the presence of lipopolysaccharide in order to investigate effects on cytokine production. Urine was analysed for phenolic metabolites by HPLC. DVP-stiffness index and ex vivo IL-8 production were significantly reduced (P< 0·05) after consumption of OLE compared to the control. These effects were accompanied by the excretion of several phenolic metabolites, namely HT and oleuropein derivatives, which peaked in urine after 8-24 h. The present study provides the first evidence that OLE positively modulates vascular function and IL-8 production in vivo, adding to growing evidence that olive phenolics could be beneficial for health. Be well! JP

  7. JP Says:

    Updated 03/10/16:


    Eur J Nutr. 2016 Mar 7.

    Impact of phenolic-rich olive leaf extract on blood pressure, plasma lipids and inflammatory markers: a randomised controlled trial.

    PURPOSE: Dietary polyphenols have been demonstrated to favourably modify a number of cardiovascular risk markers such as blood pressure (BP), endothelial function and plasma lipids. We conducted a randomised, double-blind, controlled, crossover trial to investigate the effects of a phenolic-rich olive leaf extract (OLE) on BP and a number of associated vascular and metabolic measures.

    METHODS: A total of 60 pre-hypertensive [systolic blood pressure (SBP): 121-140 mmHg; diastolic blood pressure (DBP): 81-90 mmHg] males [mean age 45 (±SD 12.7 years, BMI 26.7 (±3.21) kg/m2] consumed either OLE (136 mg oleuropein; 6 mg hydroxytyrosol) or a polyphenol-free control daily for 6 weeks before switching to the alternate arm after a 4-week washout.

    RESULTS: Daytime [-3.95 (±SD 11.48) mmHg, p = 0.027] and 24-h SBP [-3.33 (±SD 10.81) mmHg, p = 0.045] and daytime and 24-h DBP [-3.00 (±SD 8.54) mmHg, p = 0.025; -2.42 (±SD 7.61) mmHg, p = 0.039] were all significantly lower following OLE intake, relative to the control. Reductions in plasma total cholesterol [-0.32 (±SD 0.70) mmol/L, p = 0.002], LDL cholesterol [-0.19 (±SD 0.56) mmol/L, p = 0.017] and triglycerides [-0.18 (±SD 0.48), p = 0.008] were also induced by OLE compared to control, whilst a reduction in interleukin-8 [-0.63 (±SD 1.13) pg/ml; p = 0.026] was also detected. Other markers of inflammation, vascular function and glucose metabolism were not affected.

    CONCLUSION: Our data support previous research, suggesting that OLE intake engenders hypotensive and lipid-lowering effects in vivo.

    Be well!


  8. JP Says:

    Updated 12/07/18:


    Clin Nutr. 2018 Nov 20.

    Olive leaf tea may have hematological health benefit over green tea.

    Olive leaf extracts are rich in several polyphenols having potential health benefits. We conducted the current parallel-group randomized controlled trial to compare the effects of long-term consumption of olive leaf tea (OLT) and green tea (GT) on hematological parameters in 31 female volunteers aged between 40 and 70 years of old. We found that RBC count, hemoglobin, and hematocrit were increased significantly in the OLT group than those of in the GT group at 6 and 12 weeks of intervention. Within-group comparison showed that hematocrit was significantly increased in the OLT group at 6 weeks of intervention, whereas RBC count and serum iron was significantly decreased in the GT group at 12 weeks of intervention. This is the first clinical study reporting the beneficial effects of continuous intake of OLT on hematological parameters. This observation is supported by our previous in vitro study reporting the differentiation-inducing effect of certain olive leaf components on human hematopoietic stem cells. However, further investigations in larger cohorts with a careful consideration of target population are required to confirm the preventive effect of OLT against anemia and other red cell disorders.

    Be well!


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