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Olive leaf

Botanical Name

Olea europaea

Common Name

Olive leaf, African olive, black olive, European olive, feral olive, olive, wild olive



Parts Used


Native To


Harvesting Guidelines

If you're looking to extract the most beneficial phytochemicals from olive leaves, it's best to harvest them in the fall and avoid picking on hot days. To ensure the leaves are clean and free of dust, give them a gentle wash and allow them to dry for a few hours before tincturing if using fresh leaves. This will help to maximize the levels of oleuropein, a key active compound found in olive leaves.(1)


The olive leaf has a rich history dating back to ancient Greece, where the Olea europaea plant was first established before 3500 BCE. It was later developed during the Roman Empire in Africa. While there are around 60 species of olive trees found across Africa, South Asia, Central America, South Australia, and New Zealand, the olive is most commonly associated with Mediterranean regions where it is widely cultivated.(2)

The olive leaf has been used for centuries for its various medicinal properties. It is known for its astringent, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and febrifugal actions, which make it a popular choice for treating wounds. In fact, the use of olive leaf for wound healing dates back to ancient times, with references to its use found in the Hippocratic Corpus from around the mid-5th century BCE. The leaf was often used in poultices or boiled vinegars for sores or ulcers, as well as for heavy menstruation.(3)

Olive leaves have been used for their healing properties for centuries, with early Eastern practices utilizing them as a vulnerary and anti-infectious agent. In fact, al-Kindī, an Arab Muslim polymath, philosopher, and physician from the 9th century, noted that olive leaves were used to tend to gums and even as an ingredient in toothpaste. Today, the use of olive leaves as a mouth cleanser can still be found in the Moroccan pharmacopoeia. In other parts of the world, such as Iran, Iraq, and among Yemenite Jews, the leaves have been traditionally used for coughs, disinfecting wounds, and even as a diuretic and stimulant.(4)

Olive leaves have been used for medicinal purposes in various cultures for centuries. In Africa, they have been traditionally used to treat sore throats, colds, and diphtheria. Tunisian folk herbalism also uses olive leaves to treat inflammatory conditions, bacterial infections, coughs, gingivitis, otitis, and jaundice. Recent studies have shown that olive leaves contain compounds with potential health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.(5)

Olive leaf has been traditionally used in Mediterranean folk medicine for its anti-inflammatory properties and its potential to improve bone health, particularly in addressing forms of arthritis like gout. Scientific studies have focused on the active ingredient oleuropein and its ability to prevent the buildup of uric acid. Additionally, the leaf contains hydroxytyrosol, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that has shown promise in improving pain in patients with gonarthrosis. Animal studies have also suggested that oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol may impact the formation and maintenance of bone, potentially making olive leaf a useful tool in treating osteoporosis. However, further clinical studies are needed to confirm these findings.(6)

Olive leaf extract (OLE) is believed to have antiviral properties due to its interaction with the protein coat of viruses, rather than their genetic material. Additionally, OLE is thought to support the immune system. A study conducted by Dr. Robert Lyons at a clinic in Budapest on 500 individuals between the ages of 12 and 50 with various conditions reportedly showed a high recovery rate from infections with the use of OLE. This may be attributed to the elenolic acid found within oleuropein, which has been shown to inhibit viruses.(7)


Adult Dose (8)

Infusion: 2 teaspoons dried leaf per 8 fl oz water steeped for 1 hour) 2-3x/day

Tincture: 1.5-2 mL (1:5, 60%) 3x/day


While there is currently no evidence of any harmful effects from using olive leaf, more research is needed in this area. To avoid any potential gastrointestinal discomfort, it is recommended to take olive leaf with meals. However, individuals with hypoglycemia should be cautious as olive leaf has been shown to lower blood sugar levels. In a study, participants reported mild adverse effects such as coughing, vertigo, and muscle discomfort after using olive leaf extract. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before using olive leaf or any other supplement.(9)




(1)Şahin, S., Sayim, E., & Bilgin, M. (2017). Effect of olive leaf extract rich in oleuropein on the quality of virgin olive oil. Journal of Food Science and Technology, 54(6), 1721-1728.

(2)Bartolini, G., & Petruccelli, R. (2002). Classification, origin, diffusion and history of the olive. Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

(3)Hippocrates. (1567). Opera quae ad nos extant omnia. London, United Kingdom: Juncta. Retrieved from

(4)Lev, E., & Amar, Z. (2008). Practical materia medica of the medieval Eastern Mediterranean according to the Cairo Genizah. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill.

(5)Long, H.S., Tilney, P.M., & Van Wyk, B.-E. (2010). The ethnobotany and pharmacognosy of Olea europaea subsp. africana (Oleaceae). South African Journal of Botany, 76(2), 324-331.

(6)Flemmig, J., Kuchta, K., Arnhold, J., & Rauwald, H.W. (2011). Olea europaea leaf (Ph.Eur.) extract as well as several of its isolated phenolics inhibit the gout-related enzyme xanthine oxidase. Phytomedicine, 18(7), 561-566.

(7)Ritchason, J. (1999). Olive leaf extract: Potent antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agent. Pleasant Grove, UT: Woodland Publishing.

(8) Winston, D., & Kuhn, M. (2008). Herbal therapy and supplements: A scientific and traditional approach (2nd ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

(9)Susalit, E., Agus, N., Effendi, I., Tjandrawinata, R.R., Nofiarny, D., Perrinjaquet-Moccetti, T., & Verbruggen, M. (2011). Olive (Olea europaea) leaf extract effective


Scientific Research:

Information offered on Achula and on this page is for educational purposes only. Achula makes neither medical claim, nor intends to diagnose or treat medical conditions. Women who are pregnant or nursing, and persons with known medical conditions, should consult their licensed healthcare provider before taking any herbal product. Links to external sites are for informational purposes only. Achula neither endorses them nor is in any way responsible for their content. Readers must do their own research concerning the safety and usage of any herbs or supplements.


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