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What is Olive Leaf ?
The olive leaf has been a sign of peace and prosperity for many generations. In the book of Genesis, a dove returns to Noah's arc with a fresh olive leaf in its mouth, pronouncing the end of the flood. Today, the olive branch has become a symbol of peace, and even appears on the flag of the United Nations. We have heard plenty about the health benefits of olive oil, but very little of the health benefits of olive leaves. Recent research has shown that the extract made from olive leaves can both cure people of and protect them from various diseases and symptoms. It all begins with phytochemicals ("plant chemicals") whose main purpose is to protect the plant from parasites and maladies. By consuming the plants, our bodies absorb the phytochemicals that protect us from the same hazards. One of those phytochemicals is called Oleuropein, which can be found in olive leaves.
The History of Olive Leaf
The olive tree is the most important oil producing plant in the world, both in history and modern commerce. It is native to the Mediterranean region and grows well in all Mediterranean climates around the world. The first olive tree may have been planted on the Acropolis by Athena during an argument with Poseidon over the possession of Attica, and everafter the winners of Olympic competitions were crowned with olive wreaths in homage to Athena. In ancient times it was even a capital offense to cut down an olive tree in parts of Greece! Olive trees are a subtropical, broad-leaved, perennial trees which produce edible fruit. Its ancestor, Oleastro, dates back millions of years. Archaeological records indicate olives have been eaten for over 35,000 years, and that man has cultivated the tree for at least 6,000 years. The long, rich tradition of the olive tree, which Sophocles described as "the tree that stands unequaled," is woven through the tapestry of human history. Moses decreed that men who cultivated the olive tree leaf be exempt from serving in the army. The olive oil is symbolic of purity and goodness, while the olive branch represents peace and prosperity. The oldest known record of olive oil is on earthenware tablets from 2500 BC, from the island of Crete, in the reign of King Minos. Today, there are some 5 million acres of almost 800 million olive trees throughout the world. Olive trees range in height from 10 to 40 feet or more and can reach a great age,some olive trees in the eastern Mediterranean are estimated to be over 2,000 years old. Olive leaf was first used medicinally in Ancient Egypt. It is gaining recognition as a powerful defender against sickness and numerous scientific studies have been conducted to investigate the extract?beneficial properties. The reported benefits of olive leaf extract's range from promoting increased energy and healthy blood pressure, to supporting the cardiovascular system, and the immune system. Contains 500mg herb per tablet (6% Oleuropein). Suitable for vegetarians. The olive tree came from Asia Minor and spread along the coasts of the Mediterranean, in the area between the 30th and 45th parallels. The use of olive oil is said to have originated in Syria where the first olive trees were cultivated. The uses of olive oil extended well beyond the kitchen. The oil was used as a fuel for lamps and also as anodyne for burns and wounds. Olive trees extended into the Mediterranean where the climate was highly conducive to their cultivation. Olive trees quickly spread to Crete, flourishing in the island's dry climate. Cretans became wealthy by exporting the olive oil and making lotions and cosmetics from olive trees. An entire shipping fleet was made for selling olive oil to the Egyptians and the Greeks, carrying large quantities of oil in amphorae (vase-like jars) known as pithoi. It is said that in Italy there is an olive tree that is 3500 years old. Olive trees can be seen as a symbol of tradition and a witness of eras gone by. It is a bearer of long forgotten times and legacies. This is one of the reasons why the olive tree is regarded as a symbol of patience: looking at an olive tree gives a feeling of serenity, peace and tranquility. Furthermore, the olive tree is the symbol of immortality: it gives power to kings and priests, and its boughs crown heroes and Olympic champions. The cultivation of olive trees has produced over 900 varieties of olives from which to press oil. Olive trees are propogated from cuttings. When the cutting has taken root under special care in the greenhouse, it is ready to be planted in the ground. Depending on the type of olives desired, anywhere from fifty to three hundred olive trees could be planted per acre. The first fruit will appear after four years, and the olive trees reach peak production between twelve and fifteen years. Young unripened olives are green with a smooth, tight skin. Mature olives are black with a wrinkled skin. Sizes range anywhere from the small Nicoise olive to the giant Kalamata. The wood of the olive tree resists decay, and when the top of the olive tree is killed by bad weather or human mistakes, a new trunk will grow back from the roots. Despite harsh winters and burning summers, olive trees continue to grow and produce fruit. The olive tree branches are able to carry a large amount of fruit on their numerous twigs, which are so flexible that they sway with the slightest breeze but remain very strong. Olive tree leaves are thick and leathery. Each leaf grows over a 2-year period and flowers bloom in late spring. They are small and white, grouped in loose clusters in the axels of the leaves. There are two different kinds of flowers: perfect flowers, containing both male and female parts, which are capable of developing into the olive fruits; and staminate flowers, male only, which contain the pollen-producing parts. The thin spiky leaves are a dark green on top with a silver scaly underside and they live for about three years before being replaced by new leaves. The olive tree bears fruit from five years but does not mature until 20 and can live for over 100 years. Even when the tree dies, shoots sprout up from the base, replacing the old trunk, eventually becoming new trees themselves. While Olive Leaf Extract in capsule form is new, the knowledge of the medicinal properties of the tree (Olea europaea) date back to the early 1800's where it was used in liquid form as a very effective treatment for malarial infections. According to the 1854 Pharmaceutical Journal of Provincial Transactions, pages 353 and 354(a), the doctors at that time stated that the properties of the tree, Olea europaea, deserved more extensive investigation. In the early 1900's, a bitter compound was found in the leaves of certain olive trees called "Oleuropein." This compound was determined to be part of the olive tree's powerful disease resistant structure. In 1962, an Italian researcher recorded that oleuropein had the ability to lower blood pressure in animals. Other European researchers validated that claim and also found it to increase blood flow in the coronary arteries, relieve arrhythmias and prevent intestinal muscle spasms. (b) The search began for the chemical agent within oleuropein that would be the most important medically. A Dutch researcher found it. The chemical was elenolic acid. Further European research determined this compound to have strong bacteriocidal capabilities as well. (c,d,k,l) (See listing under Viruses, Bacterias and Parasitic Protozoans) Olive Leaf Olea Europaea Leaf Olea Europaea Leaf Olive LeavesIn the late 60's and early 70's, The Upjohn Companies' test studies were published by The American Society for Microbiology (e) in regards to a new multifunctional monoterpene which they had isolated from various parts of the olive tree. The compound was called calcium elenolate, a crystalline salt form of elenolic acid. When they tested this compound it was found to be virucidal against all viruses for which it was tested. The compound acted effectively at low concentrations without any harmful influence on host cell mechanisms. It was also found to be extremely safe and nontoxic, even at high doses. While it worked extremely well in-vitro, it was unsuccessful in-vitro. When injected into the blood stream, the compound bound quickly to the blood serum protein and rendered itself ineffective. They were unable to overcome this problem and terminated their research. During this same period, other companies had interest in the compound and performed various tests, but also lost interest. (f,g) Then in 1990, interest was renewed and the process of bringing the remarkable product Olive Leaf Extractto market began. Finally in 1995, through independent scientific research, success was achieved by East Park Research, Inc., opening the way for clinical application of this natural olive leaf extract and Olive Leaf Extract was born. This 100% natural product is classified as a food supplement and currently no other known herbal product in the history of the world is demonstrating itself to be as medicinally wide spectrum
The Top 4 Reasons You Need Olive Leaf
1. Reducing cancer risk Olive leaves can play an essential role as part of a natural cancer treatment, as well as reducing the risk of developing the disease. This is due to its ability to stop the angiogenic process, which triggers tumor growth. The substance oleuropein delivers a potent antiangiogenic and antioxidant effect by preventing the reproduction and migration of advanced tumor cells. Research conducted out of the University of Ioannina in Ioannina, Greece in 2009 found that the extract of olive leaves had high antioxidant potency that was able to inhibit cancer and endothelial cell reproduction. It was also able to slow the growth of cells linked to brain cancer, urinary bladder cancer and breast cancer.
2. Lowering blood pressure Olive leaf extract also offers anti-hypertensive properties that can address hypertension, lowering blood pressure and ultimately helping to lower the risk of potential heart complications. In 2011, experts at the University of Indonesia evaluated its effectiveness as compared to a common prescription medication given to those with high blood pressure or hypertension known as Captopril. The patients were given 500 milligrams of olive leaf extract twice each day for a period of eight weeks and experienced dramatically reduced diastolic and systolic blood pressure. The researchers noted that while both the medication and extracts were able to prevent high blood pressure, the olive leaf extract treatment also offered another benefit: reducing triglyceride levels. As Captopril comes with a number of potential side effects like loss of taste, dizziness, and dry cough, those who took olive leaf extract were able to enjoy the medicinal benefits without the side effects.
3. Fighting off “superbugs” As you may already know, antibiotics that were once highly effective become ineffective as bacteria mutate and develop a resistance to them. Some bacterial strains, such as MRSA, have become a huge problem in hospitals where they’ve become antibiotic-resistant, earning them the name “superbugs,” and they can be lethal. The good news is that bacteria can’t become resistant to natural antibacterial substances as they’re generally made up of a number of complex substances which all work together to produce wanted results and simple bacteria cannot mutate around them. Olive leaves have been able to resist bacterial attacks for thousands of years. One of the most important benefits of olive leaves is its ability to battle infection, including pneumonia, hepatitis B, meningitis, malaria, tuberculosis, candida, and gonorrhoea. The leaves are even known to fight ear infections, urinary tract, and dental infections. Research conducted in 2003 found that the extracts of olive leaves offer antimicrobial properties that effectively battle fungi and bacteria. In fact, they were able to kill nearly all bacteria tested, such as candida albicans, Escherichia coli cells, and dermatophytes.
4. Boosting the immune system Thanks to its antiviral properties, olive leaves may not only treat dangerous viruses, but it might even be able to help fight off the common cold. Studies have shown that the extracts of olive leaves can battle a host of disease-causing microbes, including some viruses that are known to cause respiratory infections and the flu. Powerful substances that are found in olive leaves work by destroying organisms that invade the body, preventing viruses from replicating and causing an infection. In 2003, a study out of the New York University School of Medicine, even found that treating patients with olive leaf extract was able to reverse many HIV-1 infection-associated changes.
Shocking Facts About Olive Leaf
1.Olive trees thrive in poor soil and drought The olive tree’s long roots penetrate deep into the earth, reaching damp soil even during hot, dry summers. Olives are thought to be native to northern Israel and southern Syria, and are ideally suited to the hot, dry weather of the Mediterranean region.
2. Copious Production Olive trees can produce surprising amounts of oil. A single tree can produce up to 20 gallons of oil per year.
3. Laborious process to make In both ancient times and today, making olive oil is a slow, laborious process. In ancient times, olives were crushed with a wheel. The resulting pulp was placed in woven baskets and squeezed in a press, yielding rich olive oil that flowed out of the basket’s many holes. This process could take days. Many olive presses have been excavated throughout Israel, attesting the central role this food played in ancient Israel.
4. Olives represent wisdom According to the 17th Century Jewish sage Malbim, the “olive represent light because it brings forth oil for a lamp, which represents the light of wisdom and Torah, and light is called good” (Malbim, Judges 9:8) 5. Olive wood doors When the ancient Temple stood in Jerusalem, its beautiful wooden doors were built of fragrant olive wood.
The Benefits of Olive Leaf
1. Lowers Blood Pressure A 2011 study evaluated the effectiveness of olive leaf extract in comparison to Captopril, a medication that is given to patients with hypertension or high blood pressure. Five hundred milligrams of olive leaf extract, taken twice daily for eight weeks, significantly reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure. While both olive leaf extracts and Captopril were able to prevent high blood pressure levels, the olive leaf treatment also resulted in a reduction of triglyceride levels (reducing bad cholesterol); plus, there are a number of possible side effects when taking Captopril, including dizziness, loss of taste and dry cough.
2. Improves Cardiovascular Health Olive leaves have been used as an herbal tonic to support cardiovascular function for thousands of years. High doses of olive leaf extract have been shown to help reduce elevated LDL-cholesterol levels and assist in the maintenance of normal blood pressure. Oleuropein, the main glycoside present in olive leaf, and hydroxytyrosol, the principal product of oleuropein that is present in olives and olive leafs, have both been linked to reduction of coronary heart disease and certain cancers. A study done at the School of Biomedical Sciences in Australia examined rats that were fed a high fat and high carbohydrate diet for 16 weeks. The rats that were not treated developed signs of elevated abdominal and hepatic fat deposition, collagen deposition in heart and liver, cardiac stiffness and oxidative stress markers. The rats that were treated with olive leaf extracts had improved or normalized cardiovascular, hepatic (liver function) and metabolic signs. This study suggests that olive leaf extracts reverse cardiovascular stress and chronic, disease-causing inflammation.
3. Diabetes One study conducted in Greece measured the effects of olive leaf extracts on the formation of advanced glycation end products (known as AGEs), which are substances that can be a factor in the development of diabetes and many other chronic diseases. Inhibiting AGE formation is a preventive and therapeutic target for patients with diabetes, and a 2013 study found that olive leaf extract did just that, working as a diabetes natural treatment. Olive leaf extracts have hyperglycemic effects, meaning they reduce blood sugar levels in the body. The olive leaf also controls blood glucose levels in the body. The polyphenols in the olive leaf plays a vital role in delaying the production of sugar, which causes inflammatory diseases like diabetes. One study proved this when olive leaves suppressed the elevation of blood glucose in volunteers after they were consumed starch.
4. Reduces the Risk of Cancer Olive leaves show an important role as a natural cancer treatment because of its ability to stop the angiogenic process, which stimulates the growth of tumors. The compound oleuropein has an antioxidant and anti-angiogenic effect by inhibiting the reproduction and migration of advanced tumor cells. A 2009 study conducted in Greece showed, for the first time, that olive leaf extracts have strong antioxidant potency and inhibit cancer and endothelial cell reproduction. Olive leaf extracts slowed the growth of cells associated with breast cancer, urinary bladder cancer and brain cancer.
5. Improves Brain Function Another olive leaf benefit is its positive effects on brain function. Studies show that oleuropein, one of the main components in olive leaf, reduces the symptoms or occurrence of age-related disorders, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Why Olive Leaf Is The #1
The benefits of olive leaf extract primarily revolve around improving the health of heart and cholesterol levels. In a 2013 PLoS One study, researchers concluded that olive leaf polyphenols for 12 weeks could improve insulin sensitivity, which is a key indicator for metabolic disease (diabetes) . Another trial over a 2 – 4 week period showed that olive oil could reduce LDL and blood pressure alone . That could be independent of the olive leaf, but another study confirmed the results using only the leaf extract . Generally, most people who find olive leaf extract interesting as a supplement are looking at the benefits for heart disease. However, there are still benefits of olive leaf extract specifically with the intention of protecting neurological connections and even growing new neurons (neurogenesis). In one study, researchers found that olive leaf extract could be neuroprotective because of strong antioxidant effects . Some evidence suggests olive leaf extract works as a neuroprotective with similar mechanisms as rhodiola rosea. The antioxidant effects are powerful, but they may not be as strong as other natural nootropics like green tea extract, for example. The final cognitive benefit of olive leaf extract is the influence on nerve-growth factor (NGF) and brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). While olive leaf extract does reduce both NGF and BDNF in certain regions of the brain, it increases it in others . The conclusion from the 2014 study in Natural Product Research thus seems to be inconclusive given the possible trade offs going on with these brain chemicals.
Top 3 Questions People Ask About Olive Leaf
1. What does Olive Leaf do? Olive leaf works at the cellular level to measurably strengthen the body's immune response. The oleuropein in olive leaf is a natural wide-spectrum antibiotic, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal. Unlike synthetic antibiotics, it destroys only the bad bacteria and protects the good. Medical research shows that when olive leaf is taken orally, it searches out and "deactivates" bacteria, thus inhibiting the replication of the bacteria. Olive leaf is a cold and flu buster that delivers effective inhibition and prevention of infection by a wide range of pathological microbes, including viruses, bacteria, retrovirus, fungi, yeasts and molds.
2.How does Olive leaf affect Free Radicals? Free Radicals are bad. They can leave the body vulnerable to advanced aging, cardiovascular problems and degenerative diseases. Free Radicals can be caused by many factors: sun exposure, pollution, stress, poor diet, alcohol and smoke. The high antioxidant qualities of olive leaf (12 proven Antioxidants) have been shown to "scavenge" Free Radicals even more than Vitamin C, Green Tea, and Grape Seed Extract.
3.Is Olive Leaf good for the Heart? Like the polyphenolic component of red wine, resveratrol, oleuropein imparts some important antioxidant benefits that may help prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and support healthy heart function. Olive Leaf causes bad cholesterol to slip off platelets in blood vessels, preventing coronary artery clogging. The anti-inflammatory, circulation and vasco-dilating properties of olive leaf relaxes arteries and helps reduce hypertension, lower high blood pressure and stop arrhythmia.
Tips for a Olive Leaf
1. FIND THE RIGHT POSITION Olive trees are known for their love of the sunshine (it’s their natural habitat after all), so you should take care to place your tree in the sunniest spot you have in order for it to soak up the sun. You should place them where they can gain a minimum of six hours of sunlight per day; south-facing is best if possible! While trees can withstand temperatures of -10°C, if combined with a cold wind, young trees can struggle to survive. Where possible, provide suitable wind protection, and cover your tree during winter to protect it from the harsh winter elements.
2. POTTING AND PLANTING GUIDANCE It’s best to plant your tree in the ground. However, it is possible to pot it if you wish. When planting, dig a hole around 50% larger than you need to give the tree plenty of space, and ensure you have a good drainage system in place. Gravel can be used here to help water to drain from the root-ball properly, or you could risk water being contained in the roots, and leading your tree to die slowly.
3. WATER CAUTIOUSLY Olive trees are relatively low maintenance and require little care in terms of food and water. In fact, if the compost you invested in is of a high-quality, you’ll find that you don’t need to feed your tree. You can simply top up the ground with a slow-release fertilizer yearly if you wish. As one of the most drought-resistant trees, you won’t need to water your tree once planted. However, you will want to ensure that the soil doesn’t become dry throughout the year, and especially so during the winter.
4. GROWING FRUIT IS HARD WORK In order to grow fruit on your olive tree, you will need to ensure that your tree endures a period of colder weather below 10°C for two months, as well as a difference in temperatures between day and night. As olive trees are natively exposed to an average of 300 days of sunlight per year, they will need a lot of sunlight in order to produce olives. However, don’t become downbeat if you don’t get as much sunlight, as it is possible to grow fruit in the spring and summer months if the weather has been particularly good. To improve your chances of fruit production, you can shake the branches during the flowering season, as the self-pollinating branches will be caught by the wind and aid flower production. Pruning your tree can also affect how fruit is produced.