Healthy and proper nutrition of people is becoming an imperative of daily functioning today. The hectic pace of life, as well as the increasing frequency of stress, has a significant effect on people’s health.
Fortunately, there is a growing awareness in the world of the need to include healthy foods in your daily life rhythm, because food really serves the body as a medicine, if some of the stress triggers have not already started some incurable process in the body. However, in some cases, this can be cured by including mandatory medical care and a healthy diet based on fruit, vegetables, and fish. The Mediterranean diet, in which olives and olive oil play a very important role, has always been considered one of the most proper and healthy types of diet and it is, therefore, desirable to include it in your lifestyle. Although it is mainly the olive fruit that attracts the most attention and is most used, either as the fruit itself or as a product of the fruit (olive oil), the second part of this plant – the leaf – is increasingly being used commercially.
The tame olive, this ancient plant species, is one of the most prized fruits due to its uniqueness. The symbolism of this evergreen tree that is most commonly found along the shores of the Mediterranean has been known to people since biblical times. Olive leaves were used by the ancient Egyptians to mummify the pharaoh, and the tradition of its use for medicinal purposes has persisted to this day, although the first documented data on its medical use date back to 1850 when it was used to treat malaria and influenza. In recent times, its healing properties have been confirmed. It turned out that the olive leaf shows very good properties in the fight against infections and diseases of the body.
Medicinal properties of olive leaves
Olive leaf hides many medicinal properties. The most active compound in olive leaves, which is mainly associated with therapeutic action, is called oleuropein (bitter monoterpene glucoside). It is oleuropein and its hydrolytic degradation products that have an extremely strong antimicrobial effect. Important leaf ingredients with antimicrobial action also include the compound oluropezide and calcium enolate, according to some authors the most active leaf ingredient. Not much is known about many of these compounds, although their medicinal properties have been proven.
Olive leaf improves the condition of many diseases caused by microbes – pneumonia, gonorrhea, tuberculosis, influenza, meningitis, hepatitis B, herpes, etc. It is also good for urinary tract infections, but also for surgical infections. It has been proven that the olive leaf simultaneously prevents infections caused by the action of fungi.
There is a very long list of diseases that have been shown to be treatable using olive leaf preparations. Of the approximately 125 species of pathological microorganisms that cannot resist the action of the compounds present in the olive leaf, we will list only the most common diseases caused by such microorganisms, but also those diseases or conditions that can be effectively treated with olive leaves.
Diseases affected by olive leaf extract:
chronic fatigue syndrome
hepatitis A, B, and C
meningitis (viral and bacterial)
inflammation of the urinary tract
According to some studies, the olive leaf extract is also effective against the Ebola virus, and in some preliminary studies, it has even shown encouraging results in its action against the AIDS virus.
The compounds present in olive leaves are generally considered to strengthen the immune system, increase the body’s energy, have antiviral, antiparasitic, antibacterial and antifungal effects, reduce or even eliminate many health problems, reduce blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and LDL levels. (often called “bad” cholesterol, ie bad fat associated with the development of vascular and heart disease) in the blood serum. These compounds are considered to have pronounced antioxidant properties, ie to prevent the oxidation of LDL.
Mechanism of action of medicinal substances of olive leaves
Although the mechanism of action of the main ingredient of olive leaves – oleuropein – as an antiviral agent has not been fully explained, there are several theses about its action. Most scientists agree that this compound affects the process of synthesis of specific amino acids necessary for the life cycle of the virus. Namely, this compound has the ability to enter a virus-infected cell where it causes irreversible inhibition of its multiplication. In addition to the above action, it disables or slows down the action of numerous enzymes of bacterial cells, which affects the permeability of the membrane of bacterial cells. By doing so, it prevents the harmful effects of bacteria.
The product of the hydrolytic cleavage of oleuropein – oleanolic acid – also shows strong antiviral properties, but in an alkaline medium (pH around 7.5). Since the pH (acidity factor) of human blood is similar to the pH values ?? in which the acid is active, it is logical that its action is most significant in the human bloodstream. Its action can be reversed by free amino acids circulating in the bloodstream (such as lysine, tryptophan, serine, and histidine). Because of this, doctors and nutritionists recommend taking preparations of oleanolic acid an hour to two before or after meals.
Caution with frequent use:
Olive leaf, as mentioned above, shows a number of positive effects on human health. However, it also has the ability to create side effects by acting on the active ingredients of the leaves. It is a useful side effect that emphasizes its value. Although olive leaf extract is completely non-toxic, taking them in excessive amounts from the beginning can only worsen your health.
This temporary side effect is due to the unusually high efficacy of the antimicrobial agent. Namely, the death of a large number of microorganisms due to the action of substances isolated from olive leaves, fills the body with the toxins of these same dying organisms. The liver is not able to remove this toxic substance immediately, so side effects occur. Symptoms vary depending on the type of infection. Symptoms may include headache, mild allergic skin changes, and a feeling of tiredness. But when this reaction passes, the disease itself usually disappears soon.
To avoid side effects, those who intend to take preparations or any products based on olive leaves, it is recommended to gradually increase the daily dose. It should also be noted that said olive leaf compounds can act by inactivating the action of antibiotics. Therefore, olive leaf-based products should not be taken at the same time as antibiotics.
Natural is the best
Although it is very rarely found in our market in the form of dietary supplements, isolating olive leaves can be used, ie consumed, as indicated by numerous scientific studies, and better, in a natural way. One of the natural ways to consume, and the most common, is to prepare tea from dried olive leaves. Drinking olive leaf tea is nothing new. Namely, already in the Middle Ages, it was used as a means of treating diseases and conditions such as cough, flu, cystitis, etc.
The multiple healing effects of olive leaf tea are now scientifically confirmed, so its use in the world is increasing.