It's no secret that olive oil has a particularly high health value among all edible oils. However, highly concentrated olive leaf extract is even more effective than pure olive oil. As the name suggests, it is obtained from the leaves of the olive tree and, in contrast to the olive fruits that are mainly used as food and their oil extracts, is a naturopathic remedy. It is used, among other things, for indigestion, liver diseases and skin problems. But why is olive leaf extract so much more effective than other extracts from the olive tree? Our contribution to the topic provides information.
Olive leaf extract - fields of application
Taken as tea or vital capsules, the olive leaf extract works against a variety of diseases, including:
- Skin and hair problems,
- Liver disease,
- Heart and vascular diseases
- and metabolic disorders.
Of course, the olive oil extract has similar effects. However, the healing effect here is rather preventive on the diet, whereas the extract of the olive leaves acts as a real medicinal ingredient.
The olive leaf
The evergreen leaves of the olive tree are up to ten centimeters long and have a distinctive, elliptical shape, which is divided in the middle of the leaf on both sides by a striking central rib. While the top of the leaf has the classic dark to gray-green hue of the olive leaves, the underside is colored silvery gray and has small leaf hairs.
Olive leaves stand out due to their comparatively leathery and hard surface. This is essential for the leaves to survive in the hot, dry and sunny climate of the regions of origin of the olive tree. Too thin and soft leaves would burn here in no time. In addition, the nature of the olive leaves is also determined by their ingredients. These consist largely of essential oils with a low water content, which also contributes to the tough leaf consistency.
As is known, the olive tree has been in cultivation for a long time. The oldest finds, which document the cultural use of the tree, go back to the fourth millennium BC. However, this was mainly the use of olives and olive oil.
The healing properties of olive leaves, on the other hand, received greater attention relatively late. Although it is known today that the ancient Egyptians relied on the disinfectant effect of pressed olive leaves when mummifying corpses, they only became medically significant in the Middle Ages.
One of the first to describe this was the famous herbalist Hildegard von Bingen. She recommended olive leaf tea in the 12th century for complaints and diseases of the digestive tract as well as for high blood pressure and thus also helped the olive leaf extract to become more internationally renowned.
Nowadays, olive leaf tea is a popular remedy, especially in the Mediterranean. But also in Germany and the rest of Europe, the benefits of olive leaf extract are being rediscovered more and more. In the meantime, it is even sold in capsule form and is said to ensure an uncomplicated intake of the extract, which does not have the bitter taste typical of olive leaf tea.
Olive leaf extract - medicinal properties
Overall, olive leaves have the same ingredients as all other parts of the olive tree. However, some plant substances are particularly highly concentrated in the leaf of the useful wood, which also explains why olive leaf extract is so much stronger than olive oil. Above all, it is the vegetable substance oleuropein, which is found in the olive leaf in about 3000 times higher concentration than in olive oil and thus produces a much increased healing effect.
Oleuropein belongs to the so-called terpenes and here specifically to the bitter substances. These are known for their digestive effects, which is why olive leaf extract specifically helps with indigestion such as constipation or flatulence. In addition, oleuropein in particular also has an intense one
- and immune-boosting
Effect so that even localized infections in the gastrointestinal tract can be treated, such as those associated with gastritis or forms of colitis. Other inflammatory infectious diseases, such as respiratory, urinary and skin infections, can also benefit from the active ingredients in the olive leaf extract.
The extract can even have positive effects in the case of inflammatory diseases of the musculoskeletal system, such as rheumatism or arthritis.
Another beneficial property of oleuropein is found in its antioxidant effect. It plays an important role with regard to heart and vascular diseases, since these often arise from the oxidation processes of pollutants or the deposition of vascular plaque.
The administration of olive leaf tea to patients with high blood pressure or arteriosclerosis by Hildegard von Bingen therefore had a method. And even metabolic diseases like diabetes or high cholesterol indicate an application of the oleuropein-containing olive leaves, all in all
- lowering cholesterol,
- vascular protective
- as well as strengthening the heart and circulation
Act. A number of other active ingredients can be found in olive leaves that all share or enhance the healing properties of oleuropein. Especially other terpenes from the iridoids class such as
- Elenolic acid,
- Maslinic acid
- and oleanolic acid,
but also various flavonoids, which also give the olive leaf extract its typical golden yellow color, are noteworthy in this regard. The aroma that arises in the olive leaf extract as well as in the olive leaf tea is bitter-sweet with a green-natural note due to the ingredients.
By the way: A study by scientists at the University of Leipzig was able to show that the active ingredients contained in olive leaf extract are able to inhibit the enzyme xanthine oxidase. This is responsible for the development of gout, which is why even gout patients can benefit from the use of the extract.
Olive leaves as medicinal herbs
The traditional use of olive leaf extract is in the form of tea. It is recommended to use fresh leaves or leaves that have previously dried on the branch.
To prepare a cup, take about a tablespoon (tablespoon) of the olive leaves, pour 250 milliliters of boiling water over them and let the tea steep for about 20 minutes. The long brewing time is important because only in this way can the medically effective ingredients be removed from the hard leaf herbs. After the tea has been drawn through, the leaves are sieved and the tea is drunk in small sips. Up to three cups of the olive leaf tea can be taken daily.
Tip: Olive leaf tea is a good alternative for people who cannot tolerate olive oil for intolerance reasons. For example, this is the case with some pollen allergy sufferers.
There are a number of other extraction methods and various interesting recipes. For example, you can soak the leaves in high-proof alcohol and get an olive leaf tincture. For this purpose, a large screw-top glass is filled to the brim with olive leaves and then poured vodka or brandy over it.
The container must then be properly sealed on the windowsill for two to four weeks. The olive leaves are then filtered off and the tincture can be stored in a dark bottle, protected from light. Diluted with water, such a tincture is used, among other things, to produce capsules from olive leaf extract. We have listed a few more interesting recipes for you below.
Bitters with olive leaves
To stimulate digestion or to alleviate undesirable accompanying symptoms in existing gastrointestinal diseases, a digestive schnapps after eating can be helpful. In addition to numerous recipes for bitter herbs from herbs such as anise or fennel, the healing powers of olive leaf extract can also be used for this.
- 700 milliliters of vodka
- 100 grams of cane sugar
- 50 grams of olive leaf tea
- Half a lemon
- Put the olive leaves together with the vodka, the cane sugar and the zest of half a lemon in a previously cleaned mason jar.
- The liquor batch must then be stored in a cool, dark place for four weeks. Shake the container well every day so that the sugar can dissolve completely.
- As soon as the four weeks of ripening have passed, filter out the coarse constituents and from then on store the bitter bitch in the refrigerator until use.
As an alternative to vodka, you can also use other types of alcohol such as brandy, rum or wine spirit, depending on which taste suits you better.
Day cream from olive leaf extract
Of course, creams and ointments made from olive leaf extract are particularly suitable for skin care and for the treatment of skin diseases. Since creams contain other skin-active additives in addition to olive leaf extracts, they can even be used for daily care.
- 35 grams (g) of well-boiled olive leaf tea
- 7 g jojoba oil
- 3 g shea butter
- 2.5 g Lanette O
- 2 g urea
- 0.5 g Rokonsal BSB-N
- a drop of lactic acid
- The production of creams always requires the separate preparation of fatty ingredients (Fat phase) and water-based ingredients (Water phase). For the fat phase, therefore, first warm the fatty shea butter at around 40 degrees Celsius in a water bath and wait until it has completely melted.
- Next, the jojoba oil and Lanette O are mixed in with a whisk while stirring constantly. The latter is an emulsifier, which ensures that the fat phase mixes well with the water phase later.
- A separate water bath is prepared for the water phase, in which you mix the olive leaf tea, the urea, the lactic acid and the preservative Rokonsal BSB-N one after the other. As is well known, urea is an extremely valuable active ingredient for skin care, while lactic acid serves as a humectant and pH regulator.
- After the two phases have been prepared, they are removed from the hotplate and should cool down for a few minutes. In the end, both the fat and water phases must have a temperature of 40 degrees Celsius before they are mixed together. This is done by adding the water phase to the fat phase drop by drop. It is best to use a hand blender to make your job easier.
- As soon as the cream has been mixed, it is filled into a clean, dark cream jar. Seal the jar airtight and it is best to keep it in the fridge as long as you don't need the cream. The cool and light-protected environment greatly extends the shelf life of the olive leaf day cream.
Side effects of olive leaf extract
As with olive oil, hypersensitivity reactions can occasionally occur with olive leaf extract if the user has a pollen allergy. Possible side effects then mainly consist of diarrhea and allergic skin reactions. We therefore advise allergy sufferers to test only small amounts of the extract in advance to ensure that there is no intolerance. (ma)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- Iming, Sophia: Olive leaf extracts: tried and tested remedies in practice, Double-U Verlag, 2005
- Frohn, Birgit: The healing power of the olive, Mankau Verlag, 2012
- Flemmig, J .; Kuchta, K .; Arnhold, J .; Rauwald, H.W .: Olea europaea leaf (Ph.Eur.) Extract as well as several of its isolated phenolics inhibit the gout-related enzyme xanthine oxidase, in: Phytomedicine, 18/7: 561-566, May 2011, ScienceDirect
- Susalit, Endang; Agus, Nafrialdi; Effendi, Imam; Tjandrawinata, Raymond R. et al .: Olive (Olea europaea) leaf extract effective in patients with stage-1 hypertension: Comparison with Captopril, in: Phytomedicine, 18/4: 251-258, February 2011, ScienceDirect
- Vezza, Teresa; Rodriguez-Nogales, Alba; Algieri, Francesca; Garrido-Mesa, José et al .: The metabolic and vascular protective effects of Olive (Olea europaea L.) leaf extract in diet-induced obesity in mice are related to the amelioration of gut microbiota dysbiosis and to its immunomodulatory properties, in: Pharmacological Research, available online since October 11, 2019, ScienceDirect