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Olive Leaf

Scientific names: Olea europaea

Efficacy-safety rating:

ÒÒ...Ethno or other evidence of efficacy.

Safety rating:

...Little exposure or very minor concerns.

What is Olive Leaf?

The olive tree is an evergreen that is native to the Mediterranean region. The trees also are cultivated in areas with similar climates in the Americas. The small, leathery leaves are gray-green on top, and the undersides contain fine, white, scale-like hairs. The leaves are gathered throughout the year.

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What is it used for?

Traditional and ethnobotanical uses

The olive tree was cultivated in Crete as far back as 3500 BC, where the leaves were used to clean wounds. Symbolically, the olive branch stands for peace. The leaves were worn by athletes in ancient Olympic Games. Medicinal uses of the plant in the 1800s included malaria treatment. In the 1900s, the leaf constituent oleuropein was found to aid in disease resistance.

Miscellaneous uses

Laboratory and animal testing has shown that olive leaf possesses antioxidant and antimicrobial activities. Human clinical trials have not been performed to validate current use for antioxidant and antiviral activity.

Olive leaves possess hypotensive properties in animal experimentation, probably as a result of action on the smooth muscle. Additionally, olive leaf extracts may possess antispasmodic, vasodilator, and antiarrhythmic properties. The hypoglycemic and thyroid enhancing activities of olive leaf have been demonstrated in animal testing. No human studies have been performed to validate these actions.

What is the recommended dosage?

There is no basis for dosage recommendations.

How safe is it?

Contraindications

Contraindications have not yet been identified.

Pregnancy/nursing

Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.

Interactions

None well documented.

Side Effects

None well documented. Supervise patients with diabetes carefully because of potential hypoglycemic effects.

Toxicities

Potential toxicity of olive leaf is not well documented.

References

  1. Olive Leaf. Review of Natural Products. factsandcomparisons4.0 [online]. 2006. Available from Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. Accessed April 17, 2007.

Copyright © 2009 Wolters Kluwer Health

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