KNOWN throughout the world, almost since the dawn of time, the health giving properties of the humble olive has been well documented.
Whether used for cooking, in salad dressings, as a preservative or just nibbled with a plate of tapas, the olive and it’s oil are full of healthy monosaturated fats, essential for maintaining a healthy body.
However, although dry olive wood is perfect for our winter fires, we normally throw the leaves away, which is a shame, as drunk as an infusion with hot water,they have amazing health benefits:
The benefits of olive leaves are nothing new, as they were used in the past for treating severe fevers and malaria.
In Britain, the brew from green olive leaves was also used for aiding the sick returning from tropical colonies.
Decades later, it is believed by scientists that the oleuropein substance, contained in the olive leaves was indeed responsible for the treatments and cures.
Oleuropein is active against bacteria and insect pests, thus protecting the olive tree. This property has also been found to help protect humans too.
European researchers discovered that oleuropein was effective at lowering blood pressure as well as increasing blood flow.
Another olive leaf benefit is its positive effects on brain function. Studies show that oleuropein reduces the symptoms or occurrence of age-related disorders, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
The olive leaf has antiviral properties, giving it the ability to prevent the common cold as well as treat dangerous viruses. Research shows that olive leaf extracts effectively fight against a number of disease-causing microbes, including some of viruses that cause influenza and other respiratory infections.
The powerful compounds found in olive leaves destroy invading organisms and don’t allow viruses to replicate and cause an infection.
In fact, the olive leaf is so beneficial to our health that treatment with olive leaf extracts reversed many HIV-1 infection-associated changes in a study done at the New York University School of Medicine.
Olive leaves show an important role as a natural cancer treatment because of its ability to stop the angiogenic process, which stimulates the growth of tumors.
The compound oleuropein has an antioxidant and anti-angiogenic effect by inhibiting the reproduction and migration of advanced tumor cells.
Historically, olive leaves are known as a symbol of peace, so it is not surprising that olive leaf tea provides a soothing, relaxing, gently mellow herbal brew that evokes a sense of wellbeing.
Some lemon or honey enhances the flavour; it is excellent chilled and drunk over ice.
Olive leaf tea leaves can be added to a marinade, especially for fish, or used in a spice rub to season a variety of dishes.