Olive Leaf

Botanical Name: Olea europaea | Family: Oleaceae

Common name(s): Olive

GROWING

  • Tree; evergreen | Zones 10 – 11 (8 – 9 for some varieties) | 30 feet tall | Small, smooth, leathery leaves, green on top, silver on bottom | Small greenish-white flower clusters | Green fruit that ripens to black
  • Full sun | Non-stratified, moderately fine textured soils containing some amount of loam

HARVESTING

Harvest the leaves throughout the year.

PREPARATION / DOSAGE

Decoction: Simmer 1 tablespoon leaves in 1 cup of boiling water (for 15-20 minutes). Drink 1 cup 2x/day. Alternatively, add a couple of handfuls of leaves to a quart of water and simmer until reduced to 1/2 pint, to help break obstinate fevers.

Tincture 1:2 fresh, 1:5 dried: 2-3 ml, 2-3x/day

Cautions: Check with your doctor before using, especially if on blood pressure or blood-thinning medications or if you have low blood pressure. Do not use when pregnant or breastfeeding, since there have been no studies on olive leaf safety.

MEDICAL

Constituents: Oleotropine, oleasterol, leine

Actions: Antibiotic, antifungal, antihypertensive, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antiparasitic, antiviral, astringent, mildly diuretic, febrifugal

Uses: Cystitis, diabetes (lowers blood sugar levels), fevers, high blood pressure, improving circulation, inflammation, viruses (killing and/or inhibiting)

CHARACTERISTICS

  • Bitter, astringent

SOURCES

The olive tree has been long revered, its oil used in lamps, its leaves made into Olympic crowns, its bark carved into statues. This Materia Medica entry is focused on the leaves while the olive fruit is nutritive and lubricating, often used as a flush to remove gallstones and as a base in herbal preparations.

As always, start slowly with any new herb and listen to your body. If you are pregnant or have any serious medical conditions, check with your doctor or an experienced herbalist who is knowledgable of  herb/drug interactions.

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