Olive Tree: Bountiful Health Giver

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The olive tree is known by the botanical name Olea europaeaThe magnificent olive tree produces three foods/substances that provide a wide range of health benefits.  It is highly recommended to consume all three foods/substances from the olive tree to maximize their extensive health benefits.

The three foods/substances are:

  • Olive fruit
  • Olive oil
  • Olive leaf

Olive fruit

There a large variety of olive fruit (olives) from all over the world .  A comprehensive list can be searched separately.  From a nutritional point of view, olives contain very important polyphenols:

  • tyrosols 
    • oleuropein
    • free hydroxytyrosol
    • demethyloleuropein
    • oleoside
    • Hydroxytyrosol-elenolate
    • Hydroxytyrosol-1-glucoside
    • Hydroxytyrosol-4-glucoside
    • oleoside-methylester
    • 3,4-DHPEA-EDA in fruit but more in olive oils.
  • Coumaric acids
  • anthocyanins
    • 3-O-rutinoside
    • cyanidin 3-O-glucoside
  • flavonols
    • Quercetin 3-O-rutinoside
    • Quercetin 3-O-rhamnoside
  • Flavones
    • Luteolin 7-O-glucoside
    • Luteolin
    • luteolin 6-C-glucoside
    • apigenin 7-O-glucoside
    • apigenin 7-O-rutinoside
  • methyl acetal of the aglycone of ligstroside
  • ß-hydroxytyrosol ester of methyl malate
  • Verbascoside
  • sinapic acid
  • syringic acid
  • protocatechuic acid
  • 4-hydroxybenzoic acid
  • p-hydroxyphenylpropanoic acid
  • 4-hydroxyphenylacetic acid
  • 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylacetic acid
  • ferulic acid
  • caffeic acid
  • Chlorophyll
  • Triterpenic Acids
    • Maslinic Acid
    • Oleanolic Acid

Olive oil

Olive oil is the fat derived from the olive fruit.  There are many varieties each with a particular flavor, texture, and shelf life. The composition varies by cultivar, region, altitude, time of harvest, and extraction process.   

Olive oil should always be consumed as extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and in its raw state and never heated or used for cooking or in the cooking process, like frying, grilling or baking.  Always use EVOO on food after it has been cooked or on raw foods, e.g., salads, vegetables, etc. 

Heating olive oil will create peroxidation and result in rancid olive oil.  Olive oil should always be stored in a cool environment (refrigerator) and never left in the direct sunlight or a warm or hot environment.  This will also result in the olive oil becoming rancid, thus losing all of it health benefits and actual may do damage to cells.

The active compounds in olive oil are as follows:

  • Fatty acids
    • Oleic acid
    • Linoleic acid
    • Palmitic acid
    • Stearic acid
    • α-Linolenic acid
  • Polyphenols
    • tyrosol
    • hydroxytyrosol
    • oleocanthal
    • oleuropein
    • elenolic acid
    • 10-hydroxyoleuropein
    • ligtroside
    • 10-hydroxyligstroside
    • Apigenin
    • Luteolin
  • Flavonoids
  • Lignans
  • Pinoresinol
  • Phytosterols
    • Beta-sitosterol
    • Campesterol
    • Stigmasterol
  • Triterpenes
    • Squalene
    • Cycloartenol
  • Triterpenic Acids
    • Maslinic Acid
    • Oleanolic Acid
    • Ursolic Acid

Olive leaf

Olive leaf is from the leaf of the olive tree and is usually consumed in powdered form or as a capsuled supplement.

Olive leaf is quite a powerful substance and it main active substance is oleuropein.  The highest concentration of oleuropein is found in the olive leaf.  The other active substances found in olive leaf are:

  • Glucosides
    • Oleuropein
  • Polyphenols
    • Hesperidin
    • Elenolic acid
    • Luteolin
    • Rutin
    • Apigenin   

The Table below lists the recognized and researched health benefits of Olive fruit, Olive oil and Olive leaf extract:

Health Benefits of Olive Fruit, Olive Oil and Olive Leaf
SystemConditionOlive FruitOlive OilOlive Leaf#
Cardiovascular
AtherosclerosisXX2
Blood clottingX1
HypertensionXX2
Cardiac muscleX1
Blood circulationX1
Endothelial dysfunctionX1
Prevent the formation of arterial plaquesX1
Fibrinogen levelsX1
StrokeXX2
Immunity
CancerXXX2
Bladder cancerX1
Colon CancerXX2
InflammationXX2
Breast cancerXX2
Lung cancerX1
Skin cancerX1
Heliobacter pyloriX1
Candida albicansX1
LeukemiaX1
InfluenzaX1
Anti-bacterialX1
Metabolism
AntioxidantXX2
LDL CholesterolXX2
HDL CholesterolX1
Chronic Fatigue SyndromeX1
DiabetesX1
Non-Alcoholic Fatty LiverX1
HypothyroidismX1
Musculoskeletal
Rheumatoid ArthritisXX2
Neurological
Parkinson’sX1
Age related memory impairmentX1
Multiple sclerosisX
NeuroprotectiveX1
Tau aggregation inhibitorX1

Informational References:

International Olive Council


Resources:

Swanson Health Products – Olive Leaf

Life Extension – Olive Leaf

Starwest Botanticals – Olive Leaf Powder

Mountain Rose Herbs – Olive Leaf Powder


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