With its trunk that seems to knot, its branches reaching out to seek some light and the whole plant that can withstand even the driest climates, the olive tree is the symbol of resilience. And this survival force can also become a valuable ally for our health. In fact, olive leaves are a powerful remedy with an anti-inflammatory and cardioprotective action, as emerged from two scientific studies. The first is a very recent review that appeared in Peer J (Ismail et al, Peer J, 2021), while the second dates back to a few years ago and was published in Phytomedicine by Indonesian scientists (Susalit et al, Phytomedicine, 2011).
Olive leaves reduce blood pressure
Olive leaves help to counteract high blood pressure and do so with an action similar to that of drugs used for hypertension. These are the conclusions of the research published in Phytomedicine. The scientists analyzed the effects of taking 500 mg of olive leaf extracts twice a day for 2 months by patients with hypertension. The action of the olive leaves was compared with that of captopril, a drug commonly used against hypertension. What emerged was that the olive leaf extract significantly reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Not only that, this reduction proved to be similar to that induced by captopril. Unlike this medicine, however, the olive leaf extract has also made it possible to decrease the triglyceride values.
Olive leaves are cardioprotective
The review focused on the beneficial properties of olive leaves with regards to heart health. Olive leaves are a precious source of phenolic compounds with antioxidant action including oleuropein, a substance that exhibits cardioprotective, anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties. Noteworthy is the fact that olive leaves contain significantly greater quantities of oleuropein than olive oil. It is estimated that in the leaves this compound is present between 1 and 14% while in the oil between 0.005 and 0.12%. The other phenolic compounds are also present in the leaves in greater quantities than both the fruit and the oil. Previous studies have shown that olive leaves are capable of counteracting hypertension since they have a vasodilating action. In fact, these leaves improve the release of nitric oxide, a substance that dilates blood vessels and reduces pressure. It is observed that 500mg of olive leaf extracts per day can reduce blood pressure by nearly 6mmHg. Moreover, olive leaves help reduce bad LDL cholesterol by up to 6mg / dL. The ability of olive leaves to reduce pro-inflammatory substances, such as interleukin 6, interleukin 8 and tumor necrosis factor alpha, is also very interesting. Inflammation is associated with arteriosclerosis, which is why, for the purposes of cardiovascular prevention, it is essential to combat it.
Olive leaves, how they are taken
Olive leaves are considered safe and, as shown by studies, there are no effects on the liver and kidneys following their intake. You can find olive leaves in the form of capsules or in the form of loose leaves that you can add to herbal teas. The infusion is prepared by bringing a liter of water to the boil. Remove from the heat and add about ten fresh olive leaves or twenty dried olive leaves. Leave to infuse for ten minutes, then filter and drink. However, always ask your doctor for advice before starting any treatment to avoid interactions with drugs already in use, such as hypotensive medicines.