Kill Germs Fast with Olive Leaf Extract

The olive tree, a small evergreen native to Mediterranean regions, has been revered throughout history for its contribution to the culinary and healing arts.  Its extracts have been used for thousands of years as a folk remedy for treating fevers, wounds, and infection, and for skin rashes and boils.1 The oil is symbolic of purity and goodness, the olive branch represents peace and prosperity, and Greek Olympians were crowned with a wreath of olive leaves.2

Now, scientific research has proven that the active ingredients in olive leaves do indeed have vast healing powers.

It’s been well documented that the Mediterranean diet—rich in fruits, vegetables, grains and olive oil—is associated with a lower than average risk of coronary heart disease.

Olive Leaf Extract provides a number of powerful health benefits by:

  • Protecting low density lipoprotein from oxidation3
  • Inhibiting the growth of bacteria and viruses4 5
  • Inhibiting platelet aggregation and production of thromboxane6 7
  • Exerting a vasodilator effect8
  • Providing potent antioxidant protection9 10 11 12

Olive Leaf’s biochemical constituents

Olive Leaf has a variety of active constituents including several types of flavonoids (rutin, apigenin, luteolin).10

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The most abundant active ingredient called oleuropein, (pronounced oh-lee-or-oh-pin) has proved to be a powerful antioxidant and antimicrobial.11 12

Antimicrobial activity

When unheated olives are brined in order to preserve them, oleuropein is converted into another chemical called elenolic acid. The same thing happens in the human body. Oleuropein breaks down to elolenic acid—in the form of calcium elenolate, a calcium salt—which has been found to be effective against dozens of different viruses.5 The elolenic acid interacts with a target pathogen at a receptor site—similar to how a key fits into a lock. The elolenic acid disrupts the replication of most pathogens, which allows the immune system to do its job of protecting the body from getting sick.

Elenolic acid has shown antibacterial actions against Lactobacilli and Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus subtilus in a test tube study.4 This is particularly significant because Staph infections are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics. Olive Leaf Extract has also been shown to be effective against viruses, retroviruses, parasites, yeasts, protozoans, fungi, molds and other microbes and diseases in laboratory testing.

Based on successful animal studies, Olive Leaf Extract may be able to diminish the complications of diabetes in humans.

Inhibits transmission of HIV-1

One of the most exciting discoveries has been oleuropein’s ability to inhibit acute infection and cell-to-cell transmission of HIV-1. It also has shown antiviral activity against viral haemorrhagic septicaemia rhabdovirus— a highly infectious viral disease that affects rainbow trout and other fish.13 The study’s researchers believe that Olive Leaf Extract could be a potential source of promising natural antivirals used for humans.14

Supports a healthy cardiovascular system

It’s been well documented that the Mediterranean diet—rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, and olive oil—is associated with a lower than average risk of coronary heart disease.2 Researchers believe that the natural antioxidants found in the diet—and especially in olive tree by-products—prevent cardiovascular disease by inhibiting the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL), the “bad” cholesterol,3 which, in turn, retards the formation of atherosclerotic plaques. Olive Leaf Extract also plays a role in supporting normal blood pressure, and in reducing the risks associated with stroke by inhibiting the production of thromboxane—a factor in blood clotting.6 7

A study at the University of Granada, Spain, also found that an Olive Leaf Extract caused endothelium relaxation in the aorta in laboratory animals, which is significant because of its potential as a vasodilator to help prevent cardiovascular disease in humans.8

Produces a hypoglycemic effect in diabetic laboratory animals

Olive Leaf Extracts have been shown to lower elevated blood-sugar levels in diabetic rats. 15 16

This past October, a study published by researchers at the University of Baghdad, Iraq, found that Olive Leaf Extract reduced oxidative stress and hyperglycemia in rabbits with alloxan-induced diabetes. (Alloxan is the chemical that makes white flour look “clean,” and the drug used to induce diabetes in laboratory animals.) After being treated for 16 weeks, the blood glucose and antioxidant levels in the rabbits were restored to the levels of normal rabbits. On the other hand, the rabbits that were untreated showed increases in an oxidative stress marker and blood glucose, and a decrease in antioxidant levels. The scientists concluded that these results demonstrate that Olive Leaf Extract may be helpful in inhibiting hyperglycemia and oxidative stress caused by diabetes, and that it may be able to help diminish the complications of diabetes in humans.16

Researchers believe that the natural antioxidants found in olive tree by-products prevent cardiovascular disease by inhibiting the oxidation of LDL cholesterol.

Anti-cancer compound

A recent test-tube study found that Olive Leaf Extract is a powerful antioxidant and anti-cancer agent, inhibiting the proliferation and migration of advanced tumor cell lines. When it was given orally to mice that had developed spontaneous tumors, the extract completely regressed the tumors in 9-12 days. The tumors were cut open before they completely dissolved and researchers noted that they had a crumbly consistency, and that no viable cells could be recovered from them. This study provides hope that Olive Leaf Extract can be developed into a potent anti-tumor medicinal, and may explain the cancer-protective effects of the olive-rich Mediterranean diet.17


There are numerous studies that show promising results of the effects of Olive Leaf Extract on diabetes, cardiovascular disease, HIV-1, cancer, and a myriad of infections caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microbes. The significance of this potent, all-round antimicrobial cannot be underestimated in our modern world.

With the hundreds of viruses and bacteria mutating into forms that are resistant to drugs, it’s more important than ever to become familiar with the benefits of Olive Leaf Extract. Keep it on hand for when you or a family member is stricken with any sort of viral or bacterial illness … and you just might want to add it to your daily health regimen as an excellent antioxidant for cardiovascular health.


  1. Foster S. 101 Medicinal Herbs. Loveland, CO: Interweave Press, 1998, 148–9.
  2. Grieve M. A Modern Herbal, vol II. New York: Dover Publications, 1982, 598.
  3. Turner R, Etienne N, Alonso MG, de Pascual-Teresa S, Minihane AM, Weinberg PD, Rimbach G. Antioxidant and anti-atherogenic activities of olive oil phenolics. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2005 Jan;75(1):61-7.
  4. Fleming HP, Walter WM, Etchells JL. Antimicrobial properties of oleuropein and products of its hydrolysis from green olives. Applied Microbiol 1973;26:777–82.
  5. Renis, H. (1969). In vitro antiviral activity of calcium elenolate. Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy 9: 167-172.
  6. Petroni, A., Blasevic, M., Salami, M., Papii, N., Montedoro, G.F. and Galli, C. (1995). Inhibition of platelet aggregation and eicosanoid production by phenolic components of olive oil. Thrombosis Research 78: 151-160.
  7. Bruneton J. Pharmacognosy, Phytochemistry, Medicinal Plants. Paris, France: Technique & Documentation-Lavoisier, 1995, 487–9.
  8. Zarzuelo A, Duarte J, Jimenez J, Gonzalez M, Utrilla MP. Vasodilator effect of olive leaf. Planta Med. 1991 Oct;57(5):417-9
  9. Kruk I, Aboul-Enein HY, Michalska T, Lichszteld K, Kladna A. Scavenging of reactive oxygen species by the plant phenols genistein and oleuropein. Luminescence. 2005 Mar-Apr;20(2):81-9.
  10. Bruneton J. Pharmacognosy, Phytochemistry, Medicinal Plants. Paris, France: Technique & Documentation-Lavoisier, 1995, 487–9.
  11. Visioli, F., G. Bellomo and C. Galli (1998). “Free radical-scavenging properties of olive oil polyphenols.” Biochem Biophys Res Commun 247(1): 60-4.
  12. Bisignano, G., A. Tomaino, R. Lo Cascio, G. Crisafi, N. Uccella and A. Saija (1999). “On the in-vitro antimicrobial activity of oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol.” J Pharm Pharmacol 51(8): 971-4.
  13. S Lee-Huang, L Zhang and PL Huang. Anti-HIV activity of olive leaf extract (OLE) and modulation of host cell gene expression by HIV-1 infection and OLE treatment. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2003 Aug 8;307(4):1029-37.
  14. Micol V, Caturla N, Perez-Fons L, Mas V, Perez L, Estepa A. The olive leaf extract exhibits antiviral activity against viral haemorrhagic septicaemia rhabdovirus (VHSV). Antiviral Res. 2005 Jun;66(2-3):129-36. Epub 2005 April
  15. Gonzalez, M., Zarzuelo, A., Gamex, M.J., Utrilla, M.P., Jimenez, J. and Osuna, I. (1992). Hypoglycemic activity of olive leaf. Planta Medica 58: 513-515.
  16. Al-Azzawie HF, Alhamdani MS. Hypoglycemic and antioxidant effect of oleuropein in alloxan-diabetic rabbits. Life Sci. 2005 Oct 15.
  17. Hamdi HK, Castellon R. Oleuropein, a non-toxic olive iridoid, is an anti-tumor agent and cytoskeleton disruptor. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2005 Sep 2;334(3):769-78.

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