olive leaf

Olea europaea

Description

Olive leaf comes from one of the oldest known cultivated trees in the world. The olive tree is indigenous to the Mediterranean region, as well as tropical regions of Asia and Africa. To the Ancient Greeks, its leafy branches symbolised abundance and peace, and were used as holy offerings. While its fruit is the best-known part of the olive tree, especially for the delicious role of its oil in the ‘heart-healthy’ Mediterranean diet, it’s the olive leaves that have drawn the attention of healing practitioners throughout the centuries.

Parts used

The leaves.

Constituents

It’s believed that the various bio-active components of olive leaves work in harmony to benefit health. Of these compounds, two of the most effective are oleuropin and oleacein, which have antioxidant, antihypertensive, anti-atherogenic, anti-inflammatory, hypoglycaemic and cholesterol-reducing properties.

Medicinal uses

Olive-leaf extract is recommended to:

  • Lower blood cholesterol level.
  • Help lower blood pressure.
  • Reduce the risk of diabetes by keeping insulin levels stable.
  • Slow the progression of degenerative joint diseases.
  • Help reduce damage to skin and risk of melanoma after sunburn .
  • Help prevent and treat candida infections.
  • Help treat viral infections such as colds, influenza and herpes conditions.
  • Treat intestinal or respiratory infections caused by Salmonella, Staphylococcus and E. coli bacteria.
  • Help maintain a stable metabolism.
  • Help delay the ageing process.

CAUTION

Talk to your medical practitioner before taking any herbal supplements.
Taken in moderation, olives, their leaves and and oil have few to no side effects. However, remember that too much of any oil can pile on the kilojoules.

Flora Force Products containing Olive leaf

Domestic & culinary uses

Although the leaves are not used in cuisine, olives, and especially their oil, feature widely as part of a healthy eating regime. In fact, a glug of olive oil enhances the flavour of most dishes.

Cultivation

Olea europaea is a hardy, drought-resistant tree that thrives along the Mediterranean. It grows easily in South Africa. The small subspecies Olea europaea subsp. africana is equally hardy and is an excellent small tree in gardens. Its white flowers, borne between October and February, are sweetly scented and are followed by small, purple-back olive fruits.
The easiest way to plant an olive tree is to buy a good-sized specimen in a container. Plant in a well-prepared hole to which bone meal, superphosphate and compost have been added, and mulch thickly. Water when dry.

RECIPE

There’s a little olive oil goodness in this quick and easy supper dish.

Parmesan and balsamic pasta

  • 500g linguine
  • I can (400g) diced tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Fresh oreganum and basil, to taste
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Boil the pasta according to the instructions on the packaging. While it is boiling, heat the olive oil in a pan and sauté the chopped garlic. Add the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, oreganum, basil and Parmesan cheese to the pan. Simmer until heated through. Drain the pasta, toss it into the sauce and serve with a swirl of extra-virgin olive oil and a scattering of Parmesan.

Photo credits

  1. By Emőke Dénes (Botany Bay, UK)
[CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons
Information in our herb library is intended only as a general reference for further exploration. It is not a replacement for professional health advice and does not provide complete dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription medicines. Accordingly, this information should only be used under the direct supervision of a suitably qualified health practitioner such as a registered homeopath, naturopath or phytotherapist.