Like everyone else, you must be familiar with the many benefits of olive oil, which is commonly referred to as extra virgin olive oil. The oil is not only popular among chefs all over the world, but it is one the healthiest diets to have. However, not many are aware of the incredible health benefits of the olive leaf. Owing to the potent polyphenolic antioxidants in the herb, it is a used in a variety of medicinal preparations.
The health benefits of the olive leaf include:
Prevents Heart-Related Diseases
The blockage of arteries due to the presence of oxidized LDL cholesterol (also known as atherosclerosis) is a serious risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Although olive leaf may not significantly change the body’s lipid levels, it prevents the oxidation of LDLs and fights against the inflammatory functions of the body. What olive leaf does is to help prevent atherosclerosis even when consumed in small doses.
Prevents Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
Olive leaf can improve nerve growth in certain parts of the brain and protect the nerves from oxidative damage. Although trials on humans have not been conducted yet, an animal study indicates that oleuropein in olive leaves lowers and even avert the buildup of beta-amyloid protein plaques in the brain – which can result in the death of nerve cells and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Olive leaves appear to be also effective in fighting Parkinson’s disease. The antioxidants contained in the herb, mainly oleuropein, can combat oxidative damage and inhibit the death of nerve cells that produce dopamine, a symptom of Parkinson’s.
Olive leaf can be very effective in combating diabetes as it reduces blood sugar levels in so many ways. The herb stabilizes blood glucose levels and improves insulin sensitivity. Even people who are not diabetic can benefit from the anti-inflammatory properties of olive leaf as well.
Lowers High Blood Pressure
Olive leaves can help to inhibit a rise in blood pressure and also does this without any side effects. According to some studies, the olive leaf can significantly reduce blood pressure as well as glucose and triglycerides levels within 3 months. These studies also suggest that the polyphenols found in the herb combat oxidative damage to the arteries and relax the blood vessels by enhancing the production of nitric oxide.
Olive trees are able to destroy several types of bacteria that result in intestinal infections such as Escherichia coli and a fungus like Candida albicans. In fact, olive leaves, according to some studies, have antiviral effects on diseases like HIV-1 as it is able to prevent chronic infection and cell to cell transmission of the infection.
Olive leaf might also be effective in treating the common cold it could suppress a parainfluenza-3 viral infection when consumed within minutes and with no side effect.
Protects the Skin
Studies suggest that olive leaves are effective in cleansing the skin, healing wounds, particularly inflammatory ones. The leaves can also curb DNA damage on the skin resulting from UV radiation and avert the tumor growth by lowering the levels of some enzymes. This is one reason for the presence of olive leaf extract in some skincare products. These skin benefits are as a result of hydroxytyrosol and oleuropein found in the leaf, which also combats free radicals and keeps the skin from aging prematurely.
Olive leaves have very high bioactive antioxidants properties, making them effective in preventing and treating cancer, which basically begins with inflammation. Studies have shown that its antioxidants inhibit DNA damage and halt the formation of malignant cells. Additionally, the antioxidants can even stimulate apoptosis in tumor cells without disturbing normal cells. Its component, oleuropein, helps to curb the growth, multiplication, metastasis of cancer cells and the growth of new blood vessels that feed the cancer cells.
Studies have shown that olive leaf polyphenols may be able to combat prostate, breast, skin, blood, colon, and other forms of cancer. Due to the fact that research is still ongoing as to the effect of olive leaves on cancer, it is difficult to categorically say that olive leaf can prevent and treat cancers.
For so many years, olive leaves have been used as an ingredient in preparing traditional medicines for treating gout. This may be because of oleuropein found in the herb, which prevents the enzyme that increases uric acid that treats the condition. It has the same effect on an inflammatory disorder like early-stage arthritis as well as improve cartilage repair, reduce pain, protect the joints, lower swelling, and curb oxidative damage in cells.
Precautions and Side Effects
Some of the potential side effects of olive leaf include:
Stomach Problems: Due to how powerful olive leaves are, an excessive consumption of the extract can lead to stomach irritations or in some cases, excessive diarrhea. The herb is, therefore, recommended to be taken with food. As a tea made from olive leaf and with drinking extra water, excess toxins can be flushed out of the body. For people who experience these gastrointestinal side effects, they should stop using the supplement and consult with a doctor.
Heartburn: There are reported cases of some people experiencing heartburn when they drink olive leaf tea, but this isn’t often the case for people who take olive leaves in the form of supplements in tablets or capsules.
Inflammation: The herb contains powerful anti-fungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. However, when the pathogens responsible for diseases get killed, they release toxins into the body. This makes the body’s immune system to kick back by detoxifying itself of toxic material which causes inflammatory reactions such as muscle soreness, headache, joint pain, sweating, and fever.
Lightheadedness: Few people have reported side effects like dizziness after using olive capsule supplements. This seems to be common in people who already have low blood pressure, especially as olive leaf has a hypotensive effect on the body.
Drug Interactions: Ironically, olive leaves can also elevate blood sugar levels and lower blood pressure. For those undergoing conventional treatments for hypertension or diabetes, the interactions with the herb could lead to certain health complications.