Supports immune function while also offering antioxidant support.
Olea europaea is a small evergreen tree of the Oleaceae family, that is native to the Mediterranean region. The genus Olea got its name from “elaia”, the ancient Greek word for olive, and “oleum”, the Latin word for oil. Olive trees share a family with the genus Forsythia, a common ornamental of the northeast U.S., Syringa, the genus of lilacs, Fraxinus, ash trees, and Chionanthus, commonly called Fringe Tree. Other notable genera in the family include Ligustrum (privet), and Jasminum.
Olive has been cultivated for over 3,000 years. Ancient Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians all used this tree as a food source and source of plant medicine and referenced it in their religious writings as a symbol of peace, purity, and goodness. Egyptians used olive oil in the mummification process for both practical and spiritual purposes. To the ancient Greeks, who utilized the olive tree for medicine, food, and ornamental purposes, it was a symbol of life. The olive tree was thought to be a sacred symbol of the goddess Athena, who was revered for her wisdom and compassion. Victors in the ancient Olympic Games were crowned with wreaths of its leaves. The English herbalist, John Gerard (1633) reported that Olive leaves and buds were useful in supporting the body’s proper function.
Olive leaf and extra virgin olive oil have been traditionally used to support heart health, and contain various polyphenols that act as antioxidants in the body to protect cardiovascular tissues. Extra Virgin Olive oil delivers the most amount of polyphenols. Compared to common olive oil, which is a mix of virgin and refined olive oil. Refined olive oil undergoes intensive processing and has little to no polyphenol content. Traditionally, the oil was used to support healthy gallbladder function and gastrointestinal motility. The leaf was traditionally used to support healthy glycemic, cardiovascular and immune health.
While much attention is given to the heart-supporting aspects and antioxidant support of olives and olive oil, Olive leaf (Olea europaea) also helps maintain immune function with antioxidant support. Olive leaf’s active constituent, called oleuropein, also supports cardiovascular health.