Introduction About Olive Leaf Extract

The olive tree has served humanity faithfully for thousands of years, particularly in the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. This remarkable plant has nourished and supported us through the ages, with olive fruit and oil for food; and olive leaf extract for our medicine.
It is a hardy tree and can remain productive for an unbelievably long time. One of the oldest known specimens that still bears fruit, is in Vouves, Crete, in Greece. This trees are live for 2,000 and 5,000 years old! I’m sure you’ll agree that’s an impressive age…even for a tree!

The reason I mention this is because the olive tree’s anti-aging and immune-boosting properties are the main reason why olive leaf extract is so greatly valued. Whether you’re a tree or a human, you cannot live to a “ripe old age” without a strong, healthy immune system.

Olive leaves are an ancient remedy. As far back as we can remember, people have used them in poultices, tinctures and teas, to help with boils and rashes; sore throats and fever; coughs and colds; and as a general health tonic.

At that stage, no-one knew about free radicals, or viruses, or antibiotics. They didn’t know how olive leaf medicine worked, they just knew from experience that it did. However, human nature being what it is, some bright people set out to discover the healing secrets of the olive.

History of Olive Leaf

In the 1800’s, there were two scientist inclined, keen observers who became catalysts for further studies into the healing nature of olive leaf extract. Both gentleman observed how the leaves helped to reduce fever. Both of them believed that this attribute came from an unknown bitter compound in the leaves.
First, was a French Colonel, Etienne Pallas, M.D. who examined the olive leaf  and identified a bitter, crystallisable compound that he called vauqueline. Second, was Daniel Hanbury, a British botanist and pharmacologist, who published his findings, (in 1854) regarding the efficacy of olive leaf tea in treating Malaria.
The bitter-tasting substance that they both believed was the healing ingredient from the olive leaf, was not identified as the phytochemical we now call oleuropein (pronounced oh-lee-ah-ro-pin) until the mid 1900s.
Scientists have now discovered why olive leaf, the latest “super nutrient”, works so well and how the key components, oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol, (hy-droxy-ty-ro-sol) benefit the human body.

Not All Olive Trees, Or All Parts
Of The Olive Tree, Are Created Equal


There is only one species of olive tree, Olea europaea, which is native to the Mediterranean area, but there are many subspecies (or varieties) of olives being grown in many parts of the world. Although all olive trees are protected from insect invasion and pathogens, by the chemical compounds within their cells, not all varieties have the same concentration of these beneficial chemicals.
Polyphenols, oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol, are not the only beneficial compounds that are found in the Olea europaea leaves. These olive leaves contain more than 100 naturally occurring compounds, but there are only a few varieties that yield them in high enough quantities, and in the best synergistic balance to create an effective medicine.
The different parts of the tree will also yield different quantities of the desired compounds. The leaves, especially when they are processed as fresh leaves instead of dried, contain a greater amount of oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol, plus other polyphenolic antioxidants and flavonoids, than do either the fruit or the oil.

100 year old olive tree

What Are The Benefits Of Taking Olive Leaf Extract?

The main benefit is the olive leaf’s ability to fight off infection due to its antimicrobial properties. It strengthens the immune system; and kills or inhibits many viruses, bacteria, yeasts and parasites, even some that are resistant to synthetic antibiotics.
It also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, both through topical application to the skin (for example with psoriasis), and by ingesting the liquid, tea or capsules. This can help with a variety of health issues, including arthritis, hayfever and atherosclerosis.
Tests have shown olive leaf extract to be an excellent antioxidant, hugely surpassing the results (as shown by its ORAC or Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) of even the best known super nutrients like gogi juice, grape seed extract and vitamin C.
Olive leaf extract has also been shown to assist cardiovascular health; reduce blood pressure; reduce excess weight; lower blood sugar; and increase energy levels. Anecdotal reports indicate that olive leaf extract may help with the management of musculoskeletal pain, asthma, sore throats and coughs and colds.

How Is It Taken?
Olive leaf extract comes in several, commercially available forms, though some are more easily obtained than others.  It is taken either orally (by mouth) or used topically (on the skin).

Olive Leaf Extract Liquid

This comes in 100ml, 200ml, 500ml, 8oz and 16oz bottles. It can be prepared from dried or feshly-picked leaves. The fresh-leaf one is stronger and has a clearer, more pleasant taste. The liquid is available in a few different flavours and is sometimes mixed with other products such as aloe vera or CoQ10.
There are a few companies, around the world, that advertise the use of fresh-leaves. The one I know, for certain, that only uses fresh leaves in their liquid extract (without adding any dried leaf component) is Olive Leaf Australia. I believe that several companies use their Envirolea® extract as a basis of there product.

Olive Leaf Extract Tincture

Small 2oz bottles of concentrated liquid are available from a few companies. Tinctures may be mixed with alcohol or glycerin. They are usually made from dried leaves and the process may have involved heating the liquid, especially in those containing glycerin. The small bottle and dropper make this form more convenient for travelling, though it can be a more expensive option.

Olive Leaf Extract Capsules

There are some liquid-filled capsules available but the majority of them are filled with dried leaf product. Capsules allow for a stronger dose in some cases, and of course, no bitter taste. They are more convenient for travellers, although it can be a little more expensive, depending on the number of capsules required per day. Vegetarian capsules are available. The only drawback is the fact that the capsule has to be digested before the olive leaf product can enter the blood stream, so it slows the process down.
There are some liquid-filled capsules available but the majority of them are filled with dried leaf product. Capsules allow for a stronger dose in some cases, and of course, no bitter taste. They are more convenient for travellers, although it can be a little more expensive, depending on the number of capsules required per day. Vegetarian capsules are available. The only drawback is the fact that the capsule has to be digested before the olive leaf product can enter the blood stream, so it slows the process down.

Olive Leaf Extract Tea
Fresh (if you can get them) or dried olive leaves can been used to brew a healing caffeine-free tea, that can be a gentler alternative to the extract, for those who are very ill or weak. It is also a pleasant healing herbal tea. Some companies offer teabags or packets of dried leaf tea.

Olive Leaf Extract Powder

Olive leaf powder can also be used to make tea (you’ll need your own teabags or filter) or it can be added to food.  There are two types of powder. One is from crushed dried leaves, the other comes from freeze-drying the liquid extract. Olive leaf powder will readily absorb moisture in the air, particularly the freeze-dried variety, and therefore needs to be stored in an airtight container to prevent the powder from clumping together.
Other Olive Leaf Extract Products
Olive Leaf Australia produce a 20ml size Oral spray. This combines the olive leaf liquid with sage, peppermint and lemon for oral hygiene and fresh breath.
They also have olive leaf extract drops which contain Manuka honey and (unfortunately, in some people’s opinion) corn sugar.
Their olive leaf skin repair contains sea salt, olive leaf extract, extra virgin olive oil, and is lightly scented with lavender. Seagate has a 1oz olive leaf nasal spray to help with sinus inflammation and colds. They also have a 1oz  raspberry-spearmint flavoured throat spray, or an unflavoured one. It is sweetened with Xylitol.

Olive Leaf Extract Dosage

At the time of writing this, there is no standardised olive leaf extract dosage, so hopefully, the following information will assist you in using this herbal remedy wisely.

Laboratory testing has shown that Olea europaea leaves contain phytochemicals. These are naturally occurring, plant chemical compounds, that are not considered to be essential to our survival, even though they have reported health benefits. The Food and Drug Administration do not determine a Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for non-essential nutrients.

Olive leaf extract is not a drug, nor is it claiming to be a cure. There is no established toxicity level and it appears to be safe for an adult to take a maintenance dose indefinitely. For children, however, this is probably not such a good idea, but it will obviously depend on how sick they are. You will need to consult your health care professional about this.  

Unlike prescription antibiotics, Olive leaf extract encourages the development of a healthy immune system; and does not destroy the “good bacteria” along with the “bad”. That does not mean, however, that we should neglect common sense in taking it.

beautiful olive fruit



The adult dosage will be influenced by the other factors below. In general, children over the age of two years can be safely given up to one half of the adult dose.

Do NOT give olive leaf extract to children under the age of two years, without seeking professional medical advice first.


Basically this depends on how much of your body is affected and how bad you feel. Have you got a small skin infection, like an insect bite, or is your body trying to fight off some super-bug? Have you got a raging chest infection and you’re coughing up nasty green stuff, or have you got a small mouth ulcer? I’m sure you get the idea.

If the infected area is a small spot on your skin, and you feel well otherwise, then a topical application of the liquid may be all that’s required.

If the infection is making you feel ill or exhausted and weak (such as chronic fatigue syndrome) or if it’s an ongoing low-grade inflammation such as arthritis or heart problems, then you will definitely need to ingest the extract. Conditions like bladder and urinary tract infections; and colds and flu, will naturally require the whole body to be treated by swallowing the olive leaf extract in one or more of its forms.

If the  health condition is acute and, or severe, it is likely to require a stronger dose than, for example, a mild infection or cold. (see Required Benefit below)



Not all Olea europaea cultivars are equal, even when the plants look the same. Only a handful of olive tree varieties have the best leaves for creating a high strength, medicinal quality extract, and you can’t tell which ones they are just by looking at them. Laboratory testing, for DNA and for chemical composition, is needed to ascertain which leaves are the most beneficial.

If you want to be sure that you are getting the best olive leaf extract, look for companies that either grow their own researched and tested cultivars, or for products that come from leaves sourced from these quality-controlled companies.

Also, fresh-leaf products are usually of a higher quality than dried-leaf or powdered-leaf products, since the excess processing can damage the healing compounds in the leaves.

Be aware that some companies add powdered dried leaf to their liquids as a cheaper way to increase the concentration of oleuropein (pronounced oh-lee-ah-ro-pin). This means they can advertise their product as extra strength or high potency but it is likely to result in an unbalanced and less effective remedy.


Olive leaf products vary in potency and recommended dosage.

Tinctures are the most concentrated but may have other herbal products added to them. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it will affect the amount of olive leaf extract you receive per dose. They may also include alcohol. The drops can be added to food or drink..                                                            

The dosage is usually 1-3 drops per day. Check the label

Capsules are more convenient for travelling. They come in similar or higher concentrations as the liquid extract but they will take a little longer to be digested and assimilated into the blood stream.

The capsule will, of course, keep the liquid from contacting your tongue, mouth, throat and oesophagus, so if you have infected gums or a sore throat, for example, the liquid would obviously be better, unless you can’t cope with the taste.

Olive leaf capsules contain either liquid extract or powder (this can be powdere dried leaves or freeze-dried extract). Vegetarian capsules are available.

The average maintenance dose is 1 – 4 capsules per day.

Liquid Extracts are the most easily processed by the body and, if the quality is high, the taste is pretty reasonable. If the bitter taste bothers you, the extract dose can be followe up, or blended with juice, or preferably water. (alkaline water is the best) Peppermint and berry-flavoured liquids are available from some companies.

Although the liquid can be taken with food, there is some thought that the benefit is increased by taking it 30 to 60 minutes before a meal or at least an hour after eating. This is because of a possible conflict with some amino acids present in the food.

The usual adult dose is 15mls per day, divided into two 7½ ml doses; or three 5 ml doses. This is a maintenance amount that is supposedly safe to take for years. However, I have seen some naturapathic advice that recommends taking  the extract for 5 days out of 7; or for 3 or 4 months out of 5. The reason for having a break from taking the olive leaf extract was not mentioned.

However, if your condition is severe or stubbornly chronic, or if the extract is of a lesser quality, you can increase the dose to between 15 and 45 mls per day. (Some practitioners have reportedly used double this amount as a short-term dose). If in doubt, check with the manufacturers or your health professional.

Whole-Leaf Teas Or Dried, Crushed Leaf Teas. I’ve only found three suppliers of tea bags. Olivus has both bags and whole-leaf tea; Seagate has olive leaf tea bags with peppermint; and Dr Red has olive leaf and purple carrot sachets.                            

There are a few more companies that advertise dried leaf tea (whole or crushed) for brewing at home.                               

Olive leaf tea is apparently a little like green tea and quite pleasant to drink. The recommended daily maintenance dose is 1 – 3 cups, but for a serious illness, more would be required. Brewing time will affect the tea’s potency since the healing compounds in olive leaves are water soluble. The longer you brew it, the stronger it will taste. Use hot water, not boiling, to minimize the destruction of heat-sensitive compounds in the leaf.                    

Olive leaf tea will not be as strong as the fresh-leaf extract but it does provide a pleasant, and gentler alternative.

Powder  This can come from crushed dried leaf, or freeze-dried extract. Both of these powdered forms have undergone a great deal of processing, so they are likely to be the least beneficial of all the olive leaf products. However, the powder is easy to sprinkle over food or add to drinks (for example, smoothies). Some people even suggest feeding it to pets. (See the end of this article) 


Some health practitioners have suggeste three levels of dosage, depending on the severity of the health condition being treated and whether it is acute or chronic. Many products only list one dosage amount but if there is a range of doses suggeste on the product that you purchase then you can work out a low, middle and high dose.

Level 1: (lowest dose) is for general health maintenance for colds and flu or to maintain cardiovascular health.

Level 2: (mid range dose) is for short-term treatment at times of greater stress; when there is an infection; or for chronic (long-term) illness or disease.

Level 3: (Highest dose) is for a short duration, for support of the immune system during an acute severe illness or for stubborn chronic ill-health.


There are no known side effects from taking olive leaf extract but some people may experience what’s refer to as the “Herxheimer reaction” or “die off” effect. As harmful microbes in the body are killing, they break down, releasing their contents into the blood stream and surrounding tissues. This can cause a temporary allergic reaction or heightening of your symptoms.

This detoxification process may present as nausea, diarrhoea, achy joints, headaches and other cold or flu-like symptoms. They usually last from somewhere between 4 and 7 days; and they are an indication that the product is working!

This is where you must make your own decision about whether to maintain the same olive leaf extract dosage; or to reduce it for a few days, or stop it for a day or two. It is better to continue if you can, but the severity of your symptoms will determine that for you. It will also help to drink plenty of good quality water, filtered if possible. Alkaline water would be great!

I must stress that YOU are in charge of the way in which you use the olive leaf extract. Be kind to yourself.

If you’ve been sick for a while, or you are weak and frail, it may be better to start slowly, with a smaller than recommended dose. This way any “die-off” effect that you have will be minimised.
If you are at all concerned, please consult your healthcare professional for advice.

Make sure that you drink
plenty of water
while you are taking
olive leaf extract.

This will help to
flush out harmful toxins.



If you are taking prescription medicine, then you must check with your medical professional, or your doctor, before taking olive leaf extract.

Just because something is “natural” doesn’t mean that it will mix well with the drug you are taking. It is possible that olive leaf extract could enhance or reduce the impact of any drug you are on.

For example: if you are on insulin, blood thinners, or drugs to lower your blood pressure, you may find that taking olive leaf extract alters the amount of the prescription drug that you need to take.

If you have any serious condition being monitored by a health professional, even if you are not on any medication, please check with them before using olive leaf extract.

If you are pregnant or breast feeding, do NOT take olive leaf extract in any form, unless your obstetrician or doctor tells you it is safe to do so.

To make sure that you take the best, olive leaf extract dosage for you, follow the guidelines on the product that you purchase, and if you have any questions regarding use, direct them to the product manufacturers, and/or your doctor.

Always check with your veterinary surgeon first, but there are many anecdotal records of people using olive leaf powder and liquid extract (that’s free of alcohol) to help their domestic pets.

Examples we’ve seen are with cats, dogs, and horses. We came across one company that sells capsules for cats and dogs.