While olive oil gets most of the recognition, olive leaf offers almost as many health benefits. Olive leaf benefits the body by fighting dangerous free radicals, enhancing immune system function, acting as an antibiotic and reducing both blood pressure and cholesterol for optimum health.
The Compounds Responsible for the Olive Leaf Benefits
Long before olive oil became a kitchen staple, the olive leaf was used to treat the common cold, flu and skin infections. The use of olive leaf was believed to originate in the Mediterranean in around 1000 B.C. In the past several decades, scientists have discovered a great deal about the olive leaf. Not only does this herb offer a wide range of nutrients, but olive leaf extract benefits almost the entire body.
Olive leaf is a great source of iron, zinc, chromium, selenium, beta carotene, vitamin C, essential amino acids and powerful antioxidants called polyphenols and flavonoids. Of all the compounds in olive leaf, two polyphenols called hydroxytyrosol and oleuropein are among the most powerful. These compounds work as potent antioxidants, stimulate thermogenesis, enhance the immune system and play a role in many other olive leaf extract benefits.
While olive leaf is not as popular as olive oil, it is one of the most abundant natural sources of antioxidants. According to the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) test, a scientific test used to measure the antioxidant abilities of a substance, olive leaf is one of the most powerful antioxidants. It is almost four times as powerful as vitamin C, mangosteen juice, acai juice and other known superfruits.
How Olive Leaf Benefits and Strengthens the Immune System
Olive leaf benefits the immune system on a cellular level by increasing the body’s ability to eliminate harmful microbes. While scientists have not pinpointed exactly how olive leaf boosts immunity, they have found that oleuropein improves the white blood cells’ ability to fight infection. People who regularly consume olive leaf extract will enhance their ability to fight infection, battle disease and eliminate toxins.
Olive Leaf Health Benefits: Naturally Fight Bacteria, Fungus and Parasites
In addition to enhancing the immune system, olive leaf extract benefits users by acting as an antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and antimicrobial. Olive leaf can be used both internally and externally to rid the body of infection and harmful parasites. Because olive leaf is such a strong antimicrobial, it is commonly referred to as a natural antibiotic. People who want to treat infections naturally without using traditional antibiotics can use olive leaf to get over the common cold, the flu, respiratory infections and other common illnesses.
Another benefit of using olive leaf is that it does not kill good bacteria like acidophilus or lactobacillus. It has, however, been found effective against E coli, staph infection, streptococcus and other common bacteria.
The Benefits of Olive Leaf on the Heart and Circulatory System
When it comes to heart health, olive leaf is one herb that has all of the bases covered. One of the benefits of olive leaf is that the herb works as an anti-inflammatory agent. Chronic inflammation inhibits immunity, increases a person’s risk of heart attack and has been linked to atherosclerosis. Reducing inflammation benefits the heart as well as the joints and other tissues.
Olive leaf has also been found to reduce high blood pressure, increase nitric oxide production and prevent platelet aggregation. By increasing nitric oxide production, olive leaf acts as a vasodilator and promotes healthy circulation. The better a person’s circulation, the less plaque will build up on the walls of the blood vessels, thus decreasing the individual’s risk of heart disease and stroke. These olive leaf health benefits make the herb one that all adults should incorporate into their diet.
The Benefits of Olive Leaf on Cholesterol and Blood Sugar
Another way that olive leaf extract benefits the heart is by lowering cholesterol levels. Olive leaf inhibits the production of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and triglycerides. LDL cholesterol is dangerous because it causes atherosclerosis, which inhibits blood flow. By lowering LDL and triglyceride levels, adults greatly reduce their risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke.
While research on the subject is limited, preliminary research has found that olive leaf can also lower blood sugar. Olive leaf is believed to reduce blood sugar by facilitating the uptake of glucose. When paired with diet and exercise, olive leaf might be an effective way to treat hyperglycemia.
Powerful Antioxidant-Fighting Olive Leaf Health Benefits
The benefits of olive leaf are primarily due to the plant’s antioxidant content. Antioxidants are powerful substances that protect the body against free radical damage. Free radicals are dangerous molecules created during oxidation. These molecules travel through the body damaging the tissues, cells and bodily systems. Free radical damage is believed to cause many of the effects of aging and lead to disease.
Olive leaf benefits the body by eliminating these dangerous free radicals. Olive leaf contains two of the most powerful antioxidants, hydroxytyrosol and oleuropein, as well as many others. To enjoy the free radical-neutralizing olive leaf health benefits, children and adults can take daily olive leaf supplements or extracts. This will provide your body with a fresh supply of healthy antioxidants and maintain the health of all your bodily tissues.