Olive leaf complex is quite simply one of the most useful natural compounds I’ve ever encountered. It’s a powerful health tonic that’s fantastic for general well-being and enhanced immunity.
Let me explain.
The olive plant is a rich source of such beneficial plant compounds as tocopherols, flavonoids, anthocyanins, sterols and polyphenols. “The real benefit of olive oil is that it delivers these amazing polyphenols,” says David Rubin, MD, MSc, an Israeli researcher and biochemist.
What are Polyphenols, Anyway?
Polyphenols are a group of valuable chemicals found throughout the plant kingdom primarily in berries, walnuts, olives, teas, grapes and other fruits and vegetables. They have a wide variety of health benefits. And the fresh leaves of some olive trees are loaded with them.
These polyphenols also have antimicrobial activity against a wide variety of viruses, bacteria, yeasts and fungi.
Scientific advances have shown there are at least 30 distinct polyphenols in fresh-picked olive leafs and that the full spectrum of these polyphenols in fresh-picked olive leaves gives a synergistic effect greater than any individual isolated compound alone. This is why the most bioeffective olive leaf products on the market today are always made directly from fresh-picked, whole olive leaves which provide the whole spectrum of natural polyphenolic antioxidants just as nature intended. This also enables them to work together in natural synergy to maximize the health benefits.
How is Your Immune System Functioning?
Immunity is one of the keys to good health. Think for a moment about the last time something was “going around” your office. Some people got really sick but others probably didn’t. And even among those who did, whatever “bug” was going around probably laid some people out for two weeks while others were back to work after a day or so.
The difference? The performance of the Immune System.
We can’t do much about the bugs and microbes we’re all exposed to—but what we can do is strengthen and support our immune system.
Olive Leaf Complex Can Help.
Here are some of the questions you might ask yourself if you’re interested in evaluating just how well your immune system is functioning:
- Do you get infections frequently?
- Do you have frequent colds?
- Do you get the flu?
- Do you experience inflammation or infection in the
- upper respiratory tract?
- Do you suffer from bronchitis frequently?
- Do you have recurrent skin infections?
- Have you ever suffered from recurrent infections of
- Candida or “yeast infections”?
- Have you been diagnosed with Epstein-Barr or chronic fatigue syndrome?
- Do you experience a reduction in stamina and resistance, especially when under stress?
- Are your energy levels less than you would like them to be?
Any or all of these can be symptoms of compromised immunity.
What about Olive Leaf for Bacteria and Viruses?
Your best defense against the potential damage of bacteria and viruses is to have a strong, robust immune system that will prevent them from taking root and doing harm in the first place.
Fresh-picked olive leaf complex can be a powerful weapon in the battle between your immune system and invading microbes. The bitter substances in olive leaves—since identified as the polyphenols we’ve been talking about throughout this article (oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol, caffeic acid, verbascoside, etc.) have been found to be particularly helpful in resisting bacterial damage. In fact, early research by the drug company Upjohn found extracts from olive leaves to be effective in treating infection caused by a large number of viruses as well as bacteria and parasitic protozoans.
According to James R. Privitera, MD, these are some of the unique properties possessed by the olive leaf compound for the broad killing power:
- Olive leaf has an ability to interfere with critical amino acid production essential for viruses.
- Olive leaf has an ability to control viral infection and/or spread by inactivating viruses or by preventing virus shedding, budding or assembly at the cell membrane.
- Olive leaf extract has the ability to directly penetrate
- infected cells and stop viral replication.
- Olive leaf can stimulate a process called phagocytosis, an immune system response in which cells act like little Pac-Man, ingesting harmful microorganisms and foreign matter.
In vitro studies have found olive leaf extract is effective against over 50 common disease causing organisms including viruses, bacteria, fungi and protozoa such as herpes, influenza A, Polio 1, 2, and 3; Salmonella typhimurium, Candida Krusei and Coxsackie A21.
Biochemist Arnold Takemoto, talking to the Townsend Newsletter for Doctors and Patients put it this way: “(I have) yet to discover another herbal substance that accomplishes antimicrobially what this substance achieves.”
But not just any old olive leaf…
One brand I particularly like is Barlean’s olive leaf complex. It’s made 100 percent from fresh-picked leaves; it’s never reconstituted, it has no artificial preservatives, no added sugar and it comes in a fast-acting, great-tasting liquid. Every batch has been thoroughly analyzed using High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), the global standard to scientifically identify and measure the healing compounds in herbal medicines. In Australia, consumers already spend up to three million dollars a month on this incredible olive leaf product.
Barlean’s olive leaf complex comes from trees that have been farmed naturally on virgin land in Australia. Organic vermiculture (worm created) fertilizers and pristine irrigation water are coupled with early morning harvesting and immediate transfer of the freshly harvested leaves to the processing plant.
What dosage is best?
Though there is really no “official” recommended dose for taking olive leaf complex, many experts recommend a basic maintenance dose for general use and a “therapeutic” dose for special cases. Generally, the consensus is one tablespoonful (15ml) one to two times a day taken right before eating is ideal for maintenance.
For conditions such as the common cold, flu, sinus infections and basic respiratory tract infections, the recommended dose is 2 × 5ml teaspoons every six hours, says naturopath Jack Ritchason, ND. For acute infections such as sore throat, swollen glands or fever, Ritchason recommends three teaspoons (15ml) every six hours.
On a personal note, I take a capful of olive leaf complex on a daily basis as a general tonic and immune system booster. Although this is hardly a scientific statement, I can tell you I rarely get sick and on the few occasions I do, it’s very mild and I’m back to my routine in record time. Apparently, I’m not alone in being a fan of olive leaf complex. Experts agree taking this wonderful supplement can be a valuable part of anyone’s health routine.
Says Ritchason: “From all indications—research, case studies and widespread use—olive leaf extract appears to be an extremely safe supplement that can effectively aid the body in improving immune function and fighting infection by various microbes.”
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Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS
Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, (aka "The Rogue Nutritionist") is a nationally known expert on weight loss, nutrition and health. He is a board-certified nutritionist with a master’s degree in psychology and the author of nine books on health, healing, food and longevity including two best-sellers, “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth” and “Living Low Carb”. A frequent guest on television and radio, he has appeared on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, and CBS as an expert on nutrition, weight loss, and longevity. He is a past member of the Editorial Advisory Board for Men’s Health magazine, is the Nutrition Editor for Pilates Style, and is a regular contributor to AOL, Vanity Fair Online, Clean Eating Magazine, Better Nutrition, and Total Health Magazine Online.