WE LOVE A SALTY olive in a very dry martini, but those aren’t the olive benefits we’re talking about here. It’s the extract from olive leaves we’ve been paying attention to lately for their incredibly high antioxidants. We were turned on to a specific brand of air-dried olive leaf tea ‘strips’ recently (learn more about them below) that is uniquely rich in bio-available antioxidants (polyphenols) — 26,250 mcg per serving to be exact! — which equates to more than 5 packs of freshly picked blueberries.
The use of olive leaf extract originated in Ancient Egypt and has been used extensively in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments. You may already be familiar with the health perks of olive oil, but olive leaf contains a much higher concentration of polyphenols, and the therapeutic substance oleuropein, than is found in the fruit from which the oil is extracted.
We were struck by how little we hear about the supplement in health coverage and conversations with health-conscious friends. And that could be because matcha has many similar benefits and caffeine. But matcha isn’t for everyone. If you’re avoiding caffeine, or simply prefer coffee instead, olive leaf extract could make a powerful addition to your supplement regimen. And, yes, we’re big believers in supplements here at TCM — here are a few reasons why.
One of the toughest things about supplementation for most of us is just remembering to work them in to our daily routines. Some people get stressed about taking pills, others just don’t know what to do with a powder or tincture. We get that. Here are a variety of ways to get olive leaf extract into your diet including a new favorite that’s ridiculously easy and delicious…
7 Impressive Benefits of Olive Leaf Extract
Boosts Energy. According to a 2006 study, olive leaf contains oleanolic acid, a compound that interacts with bile acids in a way that increases the metabolism. It also stimulates thyroid function and helps improve energy levels.
High in antioxidants. Antioxidants fight free radical damage that can be caused by common lifestyle issues like stress, low immunity, alcohol and a standard American diet. Olive leaf is high in bioactive compounds such as secoiridoid oleuropein, secoiridoids, flavonoids and triterpenes. According to functional medicine pro Dr. Axe, “these are plant metabolites that provide health benefits through cell signaling pathways and antioxidant effects.”
Antiviral + Antimicrobial. An important olive leaf benefit is its ability to fight off infections, including candida, pneumonia, chronic fatigue, shingles and even gonorrhea. According to Axe, “a study done in 2003 proved that olive leave extracts have an antimicrobial effect against bacteria and fungi. This suggests that olive leaf works as a natural antibiotic, due to its ability to fight some bacterial infections. In the study, the olive leaf extracts killed almost all bacteria tested, including dermatophytes (causing infections on the skin, hair and nails), candida albicans (an agent of oral and genital infections) and Escherichia coli cells (bacteria found in the lower intestine).”
Regulates blood pressure. There are studies that show olive leaf to prompt significant drops in elevated blood pressure. This effect was evident when the supplement was given to the subjects before they develop hypertension as well as to those who already have it. This indicates that olive leaf benefits include an ability to both prevent and treat high blood pressure.
Balances blood sugar. Balanced blood sugar can keep cravings chill and helps regulates appetite. According to a 2012 study, “olive leaf extract is associated with improved glucose homeostasis in humans. Animal models indicate that this may be facilitated through the reduction of starch digestion and absorption.”
Enhances Brain Function. According to Axe, “Research suggests that there is a connection between free radicals and Alzheimer’s. Because olive leaf is an antioxidant, it helps to combat the damage caused by free radicals and protects the brain from memory loss. Using olive leaf infusions or extracts is a safe and effective way to treat Alzheimer’s disease naturally.”
Improves Immunity. Based on studies, olive leaf extract has been shown to stimulate phagocytosis, “the process by which cells called phagocytes engulf and destroy harmful foreign particles in our bodies like bacteria and viruses.”….
How To Take Olive Leaf Extract Daily
While many pros believe that a liquid supplement allows for better absorption of the olive leaf benefits, others claim that taking capsules is better because there are standardizations for dosing (500 to 1,000 mg of olive leaf extract per day is what’s typically recommended). Which one is right for you? Here are three ways to supplement with olive leaf daily…
olyxir tea strips | We are obsessed with these air-dried strips of olive leaf that dissolve into hot water for the simplest version of olive leaf tea ever. The effects can be felt right away — similar to, say, fresh green juice. It’s a great warm beverage to sip on upon waking before running out for that first cup of coffee.
According to Olyxir, they’ve done the research to show that active components in Olyxir powder include a wide variety of antioxidants — not true of some olive leaf extract supplements which just contain oleuropein. The other antioxidants in Olyxir include:
Luteolin-7-glucoside: known to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation.
Verbascoside: known to reduce inflammation, colics, and risk of cancer.
Apigenin-7-glucoside: known to slow down aging, reduce anxiety and heart problems.
Oleuropein: known to lower blood pressure and strength the immune system.
Olyxir founder Jospehine Musco has taught us quite a bit about olive leaf’s benefits. Musco uses the tea strips daily herself as a powerful antiviral, antimicrobial, cancer preventive, and to regulate blood pressure and blood sugar. Regulating blood sugar in turn regulates appetite and prevents midday snacking promoting weight loss. By the way, Olyxir also makes a clean chocolate bar with olive leaf extract infused right in. CHECK OUT
gaia olive leaf capsules | Taking olive leaf in capsule form is an efficient way to ensure you get a daily dose and helps ensure standardize dosing. Gaia Herbs’ fresh-picked whole olive leaf is concentrated into a high-quality extract. We visited Gaia’s gorgeous farm in North Carolina and saw their responsible production practices in action. CHECK OUT
Barlean’s Olive Leaf Complex | This liquid supplement has a total ORAC value of 7,700 and and 95mg Oleuropein per serving. It’s wasy to swirl into your morning smoothie, drizzle into a salad or take by the spoonful. CHECK OUT
The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programs.