How to treat yourself naturally with the Olive leaf tea. All the benefits, the therapeutic properties and the recipe to prepare it yourself at home.
- Treat yourself with the olive leaves
- How to make the Olive leaf tea
- Where the leaves are bought to make the infusion
- Contraindications and side effects
The olive tree has always been present in the history of medicine and herbalism in the Mediterranean area. All the successive civilizations have used it not only as a food plant, or as a supplier of fuel and lighting, but also as a medicinal plant.
In fact, olive oil, in addition to being a very popular medicine, has always been used as a fundamental component of numerous herbal preparations.
And at the same time the olive leaves are always used for healing purposes.
Later, however, over time, the olive leaves, as it was for many other simple natural remedies, have fallen increasingly disused, to remain confined to the field of medicine of popular tradition.
Today, however, thanks to the numerous scientific researches carried out since the ’60s, the olive leaves are back in the limelight.
So let’s find out why they are considered so precious today.
The studies carried out over the last few years on the olive tree have led to the discovery of different active ingredients present in fruits (olives) and above all in the foliage of the olive tree.
One of the most important substances discovered by researchers is oleuropein .
Oleuropein is a polyphenol with a bitter taste, present in very high concentrations in olive leaves and to a lesser extent in olives. This substance, due to the effect of hydrolysis, is divided into different molecules inside our body:
- Oleanolic acid : according to a research published in the British Journal of Pharmacology , it is a powerful molecule with anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory action, extremely useful in the treatment of autoimmune diseases and even multiple sclerosis. The results of the study were also published in Italian on the Sole 24 Ore website .
- Listic acid : it is a glucoside with a very strong antioxidant action. In fact, this molecule shows a marked ability to fight free radicals. It also facilitates blood circulation and in vitro has proven a very powerful antibacterial and antiviral. Further research has shown that this molecule also has cardiotonic and antiarrhythmic, hypoglycaemic, vasodilatory and antimycotic properties.
- Hydroxytyrosol : it is a polyphenol and it is one of the most powerful antioxidants present in nature, able to slow down the cellular aging process of our body. It also has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and beneficial properties on the cardiovascular system. It reduces the negative effects of oxidation of bad cholesterol and has a powerful neuroprotective action. In addition to the olive leaves, it is also present in high quantities in extra virgin olive oil.
- Rutin (vitamin P): it is a flavonoic glycoside also present in other plants, such as buckwheat, peppermint, eucalyptus, etc. This substance plays an important role as an antioxidant, in countering the action of free radicals (has an antioxidant action 2.5 times higher than that of vitamins C and E). Rutin strengthens the wall of the capillaries, reducing the symptoms of bleeding such as those related to hematomas and hemorrhoids. Improves blood and lymphatic circulation, counteracting edema. Reduces the effects of oxidation of bad cholesterol (LDL), reducing the risk of heart disease. Helps prevent blood clots from inhibiting platelet aggregation. Finally it has an important antihistamine activity.
- Tyrosol : it is a polyphenol with undisputed beneficial properties. It is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, stimulates the immune system, improves the lipid profile by reducing the bad LDL cholesterol and helps to lower blood pressure and blood sugar. And recent studies show that it has the power to prevent and slow down the onset of senile dementia, as well as the fearful Alzheimer’s disease.
In the olive leaves we also turn:
- Secoiridoids (4-7%) : oleoside, oleoside-11-methylether, oleuropein, ligstroside, excelsioside, ligustaloside B, morroniside, oleacein;
- Triterpenes (2-4%) : oligoolic acid glycosides, maslinic acid, erythrodiol;
- Lignani : (-) – olivyl-4′-glucoside, (+) – acetoxydinoresinol and derivatives, cycloolylivyl;
- Flavonoids : luteolin-4′-glucoside, luteolin, olivine, rutin, apigenin and derivatives;
- Alkaloids : cinconidina, cinchonine;
- Sesquiterpeni : aromadendrene, eudesmina;
- Chinoni : tannins; polyphenolic acids.
The synergy of all these substances has a beneficial effect on the organism at different levels.
Drinking a simple Olive leaf tea , you can fully enjoy all the benefits that this plant can offer us. Let’s see what are the most important:
- Reduces arterial pressure : one of the properties that have made the aqueous extract of olive leaves (infused) “famous”, is its marked hypotensive action. In fact, several studies have confirmed that the active ingredients contained in olive leaves, in particular oleuroposide, are able to reduce blood pressure, both by promoting peripheral vasodilatation and by acting on the metabolism of copper (contained in some enzymes involved in control of arterial pressure).
- Reduces bad cholesterol : the olive leaf infusion also plays a very important lipid-lowering and anti-atherosclerotic action. This thanks to the content of tyrosol and polyunsaturated fatty acids, in fact, the olive tree is able to reduce the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) responsible for the formation of plaques and thrombus, and increase that of good cholesterol (HDL) that instead it involves a scavenger cleaning up the vessels from the accumulations of LDL and other lipid waste.
- Reduces blood sugar : olive leaves also have hypoglycemic properties. In fact some of its active ingredients have been shown to reduce blood glucose levels and have proved to be excellent adjuvants in the treatment of mild non-insulin-dependent diabetic forms.
- Combats gout, arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis : the Olive leaf tea seems to give excellent results in the reduction of joint pain due to gout, arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Gout is caused by the accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joints, the by-products of reduced recurrence of DNA and RNA in the cells. In a mechanism identical to that of allopurinol (drug therapy used for gout), it has been proven that oleuropein can prevent the accumulation of uric acid by inhibiting xanthine oxidase, the enzyme responsible for the conversion of DNA and RNA in uric acid.
Oleuropein has also been tested in the prevention and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. When administered to the first signs of arthritis, on animal models, oleuropein prevented the symptoms from developing, producing a noticeable improvement in the articular tissue of these animals. When administered after the arthritis was fully developed, significant improvements in inflammation of the joints were recorded, compared to untreated animals.
In a subsequent study , oleuropein gave similar benefits for osteoarthritis. In animal models affected by this degenerative joint disease, olive leaf extract reduced joint swelling, improved the microscopic appearance of articular tissues and prevented the production of inflammatory cytokines.
- It is an anti-intestinal : a 2011 study highlighted the anti-tumor and antiproliferative properties of some of the active ingredients present in olive leaves. The study, carried out on laboratory rats, showed that the phytocomplex is able to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells in cases of breast cancer and melanoma . In both situations, the phytochemical countered the development of cancer cells and, in some cases, even destroyed them.
- Prevents osteoporosis : another study , carried out by Spanish researchers, showed that oleuropein, a substance present in excellent quantities in olive leaves, acts by stimulating the production of osteoblasts, ie those cells present in the bones, responsible for matrix formation bone, reducing bone density loss and therefore reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
- Helps to lose weight : the extract of olive leaves is an excellent natural remedy for weight loss, as it helps the body to burn excess abdominal fat. This is supported by research by the University of Southern Queensland (Australia), directed by Professor Lindsay Brown and published in the “Journal of Nutrition”. The study was conducted on laboratory rats, previously fed with many carbohydrates and fats. These rats presented metabolic problems, such as overweight with excess abdominal fat, hypertension and fatty liver. The rats who received olive leaf extract had obvious cardiovascular improvements, improvements in liver health and a marked reduction in abdominal fat.
- Cardiovascular estimates : thanks to the presence of oleuropein, the olive leaves act on the vascular system on several levels, reducing cardiovascular risk. First of all it reduces the oxidation of LDL particles, known for their high atherogenicity. It has a high antithrombotic action, exerted through the inhibition of platelet aggregation. Finally it has an anti-inflammatory and protective effect against the vessels and capillaries.
- It prevents alzheimer : oleuropein, present in the leaves and in olive oil, is a powerful neuroprotective, able to prevent senile dementia and alzheimer. The Italian researchers of the University of Florence are convinced of this, and on the beneficial properties of this molecule they have published several studies in these years, the last of which in the ” Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease “. The animals studied in the laboratory, which has been given oleuropein, maintain their cognitive abilities for longer and have fewer plaques of abnormal proteins in the brain – explains Massimo Stefani, who coordinates the team of Florentine biochemists -. This molecule, in fact, is able to stimulate cellular autophagy “. In practice, the cell consumes those proteins that could accumulate dangerously, leading to the formation of toxic aggregates. Like the beta-amyloid plaques typical of Alzheimer’s.
- Anti-viral, anti-bacterial and antifungal : the Olive leaf tea has a marked antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal action, useful properties to support the immune system, both in prevention and in the treatment of numerous diseases. This is due to the presence of oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol and elenolic acid, which act in synergy, attacking pathogens located in the intestine and respiratory system. Here are some of the pathogenic microorganisms where the olive leaf extract has proven effective: Candida albicans, Campylobacter jejuni, Helicobacter pylori, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Bacillus cereus, Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus parasiticus, Moraxella catarrhalis, Salmonella typhi , Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Vibrio cholerae, Vibrio alginolyticus, Mycoplasma hominis, Mycoplasma fermentans, Mycoplasma pneumoniae and Mycoplasma pirum and Hydroxytyrosol inactivates the herpes, colds and influenza A viruses of type H1N1, H3N2, H5N1 and H9N2.
- It fights chronic fatigue : in the United States the extract of olive leaves is proving a great success in the fight against Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. A disease that has recently been associated with a particular virus, Epstein-Barr , the same that causes infectious mononucleosis. Olive leaves seem able to inhibit the growth of this virus, thus also reducing symptoms of chronic fatigue.
- In case of hemorrhoids : the Olive leaf tea is an excellent natural remedy for the treatment of hemorrhoids. Thanks to the presence of rutin, the infusion acts by strengthening the wall of the capillaries, and thus reducing the symptoms of bleeding of the hemorrhoids.
- Cellular aging slows down : as we have seen many of the substances present in olive leaves exert a strong antioxidant action, neutralizing the harmful action of free radicals and therefore slowing down the cellular aging process.
- Reduces fever : in the past the infusion made from olive leaves was used as a febrifuge, given that as well as the china, the leaves favor a reduction in body temperature.
- Helps in case of reflux and gastritis : even if there are no studies to this effect, many people suffering from gastritis, or gastroesophageal reflux, say they feel better drinking one or two tablespoons of olive tree infusion immediately after meals . This infusion seems to have an anti-acid effect such as to improve the symptomatology of these disorders.
In fact it is wrong to talk about the Olive leaf tea, because with the leaves you have to prepare a decoction .
How to prepare?
It is important to use the leaves of a plant that is organically grown , therefore without chemical treatments. If you have your own olive tree you can use the fresh leaves, or you can decide to dry them and use them later, if necessary.
If you do not have a plant, you can always ask a friend who owns them, but make sure that the plant has not undergone chemical treatment of any kind. Alternatively you can always buy dried leaves ready .
The decoction is prepared in this way :
- Serve 5 g of dried olive leaves (10 g if the leaves are fresh) for a quantity of water equal to one cup (about 250 ml);
- Put the leaves in a saucepan with cold water and bring the water to a boil. When the water starts to boil, lower the flame and let it simmer for another 15 minutes. Finally filter the infusion and let it stiffen a little.
- At this point the infusion (or rather the decoction) is ready to be drunk.
How to use it?
One to three cups of this decoction per day can be drunk.
If the taste seems too bitter, you can dilute it with water, or sweeten it with a little honey, with stevia , or with brown sugar.
You can choose to prepare even 1 liter or more of decoction, to be bottled and stored in the refrigerator. For one liter of water we would like about 20 g of dried leaves, or 40 g of fresh leaves.
The agricultural company Erbe di Mauro , based in Fermo, has been cultivating olive trees for years in a completely organic way , without the use of any chemical treatment. The olive leaves are harvested and then dried for a few days in the shade.
Once dried, they are ready to be packaged and shipped to the customer, who will use them to prepare their infusions.
Here’s where to buy Erbe di Mauro product:
OLIVE LEAVES HERBAL TEA, 60g/500g/1kg
- Italian product;
- Ingredients: Olive tree (Olea europaea), leaves
- Pack of 60g, 500g, 1kg
- Company: Erbe di Mauro
There are no noteworthy contraindications, except for those who take certain types of drugs. In particular, the Olive leaf tea is not recommended for those who take drugs with hypotensive action, in particular those with vasodilatory action, as the infusion would be to excessively increase the action of the drug.
If you are taking medicines, it is always best to consult with your doctor.
Side effects : some people allergic to the derivatives of the Ulivo and to the other plants belonging to the Oleaceae family, can have allergic reactions also generalized, of an essentially urticarial type, sometimes accompanied by allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma.
Did you know that with the name of “olive leaves” you also identify a type of pasta?
This is a typical pasta of Puglia (Italy), so called because of the shape resembling an olive leaf.