The health benefits associated with the olive leaf herb are countless and recent research has revealed that this beverage may contain antioxidant levels that are way higher than previously thought.
The olive leaf comes from the olive tree (olea europaea), a small evergreen tree native to Mediterranean regions. It typically grows to a height of 30 feet. The tree has a gray-colored trunk and bears flowers that are greenish white in color. The olive fruit is oblong-shaped and is colored green when raw and black when ripe. It has a distinctively strong taste that can be described as rather astringent, with salty and sour notes.
While most of the olive’s health benefits are derived from the edible oil that comes from its green to black fruit, the dried green-grayish olive leaves have also been used in herbal medicine. Olive leaves are small and have a somewhat leathery appearance. The olive leaf has significant symbolic connotations in history. While the branch of the olive tree stands for peace, the leaves are known to represent victory and honor, as these are used to crown winners of the ancient Olympic Games.
In modern times, the olive leaf and its derivative extract are marketed as anti-aging, immunostimulating, and even antibiotic agents.
There have been clinical studies that prove that oliver leaf extracts have the ability to lower blood pressure. Recently, a liquid extract made directly from fresh olive leaves garnered international attention when it was shown to have an antioxidant capacity almost double that of green tea extracts. Furthermore, it was shown to have 400% higher vitamin C content.
The active constituents of the olive leaf are oleuropein, oleasterol, apigenine, choline, luteolin, mannitol and leine. Oleuropein is a bitter substance in the leaf that makes it very resistant to insect and bacterial damage. It therefore acts as a natural pesticide. Oleuropein is also an antioxidant and is the substance that imbues the olive leaf with many of its healing properties.
To make olive leaf tea, place about 10 grams of olive leaves in a pan containing 2 quarts of boiling water. Upon placing the leaves, immediately switch to a high simmer temperature and let the mix stand for about 15 minutes.
The resultant tea will have a pleasant taste albeit slightly bitter taste, with a weak vegetal taste and an amber to golden color.
Olive leaf tea may be drunk hot or iced. It is also sold either in loose leaf form or tea bag form.
Here are some health benefits claimed by this herbal elixir:
- May help lower levels of bad cholesterol.
- May help lower blood pressure.
- Can help increase blood flow by relaxing the arteries.
- May help fight common illness like colds and the flu.
- May help combat viral infections like the Epstein-Barr disease, shingles, malaria and herpes.
- May help to strengthen the immune system.
- May assist in the prevention of tumors and cancers.
- Claimed to aid in the treatment of diabetes as it is said to help lower blood sugar levels.
- Said to help heal inflammation of the bladder.