Have you been looking for an easy, natural way to support your immune system or help soothe skin irritations? Or, maybe you’re looking for a natural way to help maintain your blood pressure in the normal range and stabilize your metabolism?
Perhaps it’s time to extend the olive branch … to your body. Read this blog post to find out how olive leaf tea may make a difference to your health!
Researchers have recently discovered that the leaves of the olive tree contain the same nourishing and disease-fighting properties as olive oil, which is often highly recommended by medical professionals as part of a healthy diet.
“In 2007, researchers in Australia studying the antioxidant capacity of 55 medicinal herbs found olive leaf extract had the highest radical-scavenging activity of all herbs studied– more than twice that of Camellia sinensis (green tea) and Silybum marianum (milk thistle).”
Olive leaf extract is sold in supplement form, but if you’re looking for quicker absorption, you might want to try olive leaf tea!
Tips to Make Your Own Olive Leaf Tea.
So, now that we’ve made the case for adding olive leaf extract to your daily routine, let’s talk about how to consume it. Dietary supplements such as Olive Leaf by Gaia Herbs or Olive Leaf Extract by NOW Foods are an easy and convenient way to get in your daily recommended dose (500 mg twice a day). However, if you’re looking for a faster way to absorb nutrients, an olive leaf tea is the way to go.
There are several routes you can go when making olive leaf tea. You can gather and prepare the leaves yourself (just dry them out in the oven first, remove the stalks, and crumble). Then pour hot water over loose leaves (bring water to a boil and let cool for a minute or two so you don’t burn the leaves).
Use loose leaves in a tea ball and steep 1 teaspoon (5 grams) of dried leaves in 1 cup (250 ml) of hot water for 10– 15 minutes. Or, you can purchase prepackaged olive leaf tea bags. Dried leaf extracts contain about 6– 15% oleuropein.
Most people enjoy the natural taste of olive leaf tea, but depending on how long you let it steep, it can have a strong bitter taste. To add some flavor (or enhance the natural aroma), here are some tips to spice it up:
- Add a slice of lemon or orange.
- Add a natural sweetener such as stevia or honey.
- Reduce bitterness by adding milk or cream.
- Pair with other herbal flavorings such as lavender, peppermint, or vanilla.
Olive leaf extract also comes in liquid drops or powder, which can easily be added to food and beverages. Try adding a dose of the liquid to your morning juice or some of the powder to your afternoon smoothie. It’s easy to cook with too, particularly if you’re making a recipe with Mediterranean components.
Proven Olive Leaf Benefits.
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.
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 leaves, have both been linked to a 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.
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 play 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.
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 a taste and dry cough.
Improves the Immune System.
The olive leaf has antiviral properties, giving it the ability to prevent the common cold as well as treat dangerous viruses. Research shows that olive leaf extracts effectively fight against a number of disease-causing microbes, including some of the viruses that cause influenza and other respiratory infections.
The powerful compounds found in olive leaves destroy invading organisms and don’t allow viruses to replicate and cause an infection. In fact, the olive leaf is so beneficial to our health that treatment with olive leaf extracts reversed many HIV-1 infection-associated changes in a study done at the New York University School of Medicine.
Olive leaf has the power to reverse years of damage to your skin and the signs of aging. Because of the olive leaf’s antioxidant properties, it helps to prevent certain types of cell damage, especially those caused by oxidation. Foods and herbs that contain antioxidants are great tools for the health of your skin and cells.
The Division of Biochemical Pharmacology in Japan found that olive leaf extract, when given to mice with UV radiation damage, decreased skin thickness and skin elasticity, which are signs of skin damage. The treatment also inhibited skin carcinogenesis and tumor growth.
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.
Research suggests that there is a connection between free radicals and Alzheimer’s– because the 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.
Kills Bacteria and Fungi.
An important olive leaf benefit is its ability to fight off infections, including Candida infections, meningitis, pneumonia, chronic fatigue, hepatitis B, malaria, gonorrhea, shingles, and tuberculosis; it also naturally treat ear infections, dental and urinary tract infections.
A study done in 2003 proved that olive leave extracts have an antimicrobial effect against bacteria and fungi. 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).
Olive leaf extract may increase the effect of blood thinners, such as Warfarin. This is because olive leaf may prevent blood platelets from sticking together. If you are taking Warfarin or other blood thinners, check with your physician before taking olive leaf extract.