Olive Leaf (Olea europea)


Olive Leaf Summary

Olive leaves are often marketed as antibacterial agents — however, they aren't the best antibacterials out there, and the fad of using olive leaf to prevent cold and flu is likely just a temporary trend.

What olive leaf is useful for, is supporting cardiovascular health. Oleorupin, as well as some of the other iridoid glycosides present in the leaf, have been found to produce mild ACE inhibition, dilate the coronary arteries, and lower blood pressure.

Olive leaf has been shown in animal studies to be anti-atherosclerotic, anticholesterol, and hypolipidemic. All of these actions directly benefit the health of the heart.


+ Indications:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Prophylaxis for cardiovascular disease
  • Hypercholesterolemia
  • Hypertriglyceridemia
  • Influenza
  • Upper respiratory infection
  • Prophylaxis for colds/flu
  • Hypertension
  • Angina pectoris
  • Possible uses for gout and fluid retention
  • Bacterial infection (especially Campylobacter jejuni, H. pylori, Staphylococcus aureus)

+ Contraindications:

  • Caution when taking other cardiovascular medications due to agonistic interaction.

Herbal Actions:

  • Hypotensive
  • Antioxidant
  • Bitter Tonic
  • Antiviral
  • Cardiotonic
  • ACE Inhibitor
  • Coronary vasodilator
  • Hypocholesterolemic
  • Hypolipidemic

What is Olive Leaf Used For?

Olive leaf's most popular uses is for cold/flu prophylaxis. However, this is not the best use for this herb, nor the best herb for this action. Its prophylactic activity is not well backed up in the scientific literature and is considered to have only mid-grade antiviral or antibacterial activity.

The primary use for olive leaf by health practitioners is as a cardiotonic, and antiatherosclerotic treatment.


Technical Details: Olive Leaf

Weekly Dose

Part Used

  • Leaves

Family Name

  • Oleaceae


  • The Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern Regions

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Constituents of Interest

  • Iridoid glycosides
  • Flavonoids
  • Elanoic acid
  • Caffeic acid

Common Names

  • Olive Leaf
  • Ullir
  • Zeytun
  • Olea
  • Oliva
  • Oliba




No adverse effects expected.

Duration of Use

  • Long term use of this herb is acceptable.

Traditional Uses

The olive tree was first mentioned in the Bible (Ezekiel 47:12) as; "The fruit thereof shall be for meat and the leaf thereof for medicine." The ancient Egyptians also used it for mummification and the ancient Greeks for treating fevers. [5].

Olive leaf has been traditionally used to treat high blood pressure, angina, coughs, fevers, and as a diuretic, emmenagogue, liver stimulant, and stomachic. Topically it has been used for snakebites, and mouth ulcers. [1].


Botanical Information

Olive is a part of the Oleaceae family of plants, which includes roughly 700 different species in 26 genera. Plants in this family are generally trees or shrubs and have fragrant flowers.

Other medicinal species in this family include jasmine, ash, fringe trees, lilac, and ligustrum.


Products Containing Olive Leaf

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Olive Leaf Extract

By Toniiq

40% Oleuropein Content

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Pharmacology & Medical Research

ACE Inhibitor

An aqueous extract of olive leaf was found to inhibit ACE in vitro. This action was noted to be through the oleacein content of the leaf [4].


Olive leaf was not only found to inhibit ACE activity but was also shown to be hypotensive, decrease arrhythmia and coronary spasm, and shown to dilate the coronary arteries of the heart [1, 3]. This action was shown in general vasodilatory effects to be at least partially due to its ability to suppress the L-type calcium channel through both direct and indirect mechanisms. This resulted indirectly in vasodilation [9, 10].

Olive leaf was found to produce anti-atherosclerotic, anticholesterol, hypotensive and hypolipidemic action in animal studies [5, 11].


Olive leaf extract was shown to exhibit hypotensive activity after oral intake in several studies [2]. This action was found to be at least partly due to the oleuropein content [3].



Olive leaf contains iridoid glycosides (oleuropein 6-9%), flavonoids, elenolic acid, hydroxytyrosol, oleuropeoside, hydroxytyrosol, polyphenols (verbascoside, apigenin-7-glucoside, and luteolin-7-glucoside), triterpenes (including oleanic acid), flavonoids (rutin, diosmin) [1, 5-8].


Clinical Applications Of Olive Leaf:

Olive leafs cardiotonic, ACE inhibitory, hypotensive, and coronary artery vasodilating activities makes it a great candidate for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. it has been shown to reduce arrythmias, lower cholesterol levels, and slow or inhibit the formation of atherosclerotic arteries.

This is a very useful herb in long term applications for preventing and treating people who have experienced a myocardial infarct, angina, arrythmia, or high cholesterol levels.



Caution advised if taking cardiovascular medications due to the possibility of agonistic interaction.

Olive leaf extracts are generally very safe, even at high doses (1g/kg for 7 days) [12]. 



Justin Cooke, BHSc

The Sunlight Experiment

(Updated May 2019)


Recent Blog Posts:


  1. Bone, K. (2003). A clinical guide to blending liquid herbs: Herbal formulations for the individual patient. Edinburgh [u.a., MO: Churchill Livingstone.

  2. Ribeiro, R. D. A., De Melo, M. M. R. F., De Barros, F., Gomes, C., & Trolin, G. (1986). Acute antihypertensive effect in conscious rats produced by some medicinal plants used in the state of Sao Paulo. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 15(3), 261-269.

  3. Petkov, V., & Manolov, P. (1972). Pharmacological analysis of the iridoid oleuropein. Arzneimittel-Forschung, 22(9), 1476-1486.

  4. Hansen, K., Adsersen, A., Christensen, S. B., Jensen, S. R., Nyman, U., & Smitt, U. W. (1996). Isolation of an angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor from Olea europaea and Olea lancea. Phytomedicine, 2(4), 319-325.

  5. Olive leaf. Monograph. (2009). Alternative Medicine Review : A Journal Of Clinical Therapeutic, 14(1), 62-6.

  6. Briante R, Patumi M, Terenziani S, Olea europaea L. leaf extract and derivatives: antioxidant propertics.J Agric Food Chem 2002;50:4934-4940.

  7. Japon-Lujan R. Luqac de Castro MD. Superheated liquid extraction of oleuiopein and related biophenols from olive leaves.J Chromatogr A 2006:1136:185-191.

  8. Sato H. Genet C, Strehle A. et al. Antihyperglycemic activity of a TGR5 agonist isolated from Olea europaea. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2007:362:793-798.

  9. Gilani AH, Khan AU, Shah AJ, et al. Blood pressure lowering effect of olive is mediated through calcium channel blockade, Int J Food Sci Nutr 2005;56:613-

  10. Scheffler A. Rauwald HW. Kampa B, et al. Olea europaea leaf extract exerts L-Type Ca(2+) channel antagonistic effects. Ethnopharmacol 2008;120:233- 240.

  11. Wang L, Geng C, Jiang L, et al. The antiatherosclerotic effect of olive leaf extract is related to suppressed inflammatory response in rabbits with experimental atherosclerosis. Eur J Nutr 2008:47:235-243.

  12. Petkov V, Manolov P. Pharmacological analysis of the iridoid oleuropein. Arzneimittelforschung 1972:22:1476-1486