The Amazing Olive Leaf
Olive oil is widely used in culinary preparations around the world and known for its wonderful health properties, but the healing benefits of the olive leaf seem to be lesser known. There is a rich history of its use that goes back to ancient times, making it quite possibly one of the most beneficial herbs on earth.
HISTORY OF USE
Historically, the olive leaf was used as a cure-all for many ailments in ancient Egypt. In the 1800’s it served as a treatment for malaria. In the Bible, the olive or olive tree is mentioned numerous times. It was used as both food and medicine. In God’s gracious wisdom He has provided us leaves of various trees to serve as medicine.
"…the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine." Ezekiel 47:12
The olive tree was a symbol of hope and life. It was a life source for the Israelites. It provided them with oil to make bread, oil to light lamps, holy anointing oil used in ceremonies, a nourishing fruit, and its wood was used in the building of the temple. The olive tree is also one of the most resilient of all trees, able to survive the harshest of conditions while continuing to bear green leaves. Olive trees can live for hundreds of years and some have even been dated to be as old as 2,000-3,000 years old. It has the amazing ability to regenerate itself if the trunk is damaged. The olive tree was used symbolically in the Bible, such as in Romans 11 and in Revelation 11:3-4. We also know that when Jesus was on earth He went to pray on the Mount of Olives, where many olive trees grew.
"But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever." Psalm 52:8
"And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf plucked off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth." Genesis 8:11
These are just a few of the many references to the olive tree. It is such an important symbol in God’s Word and a wonderful gift God has given us to use!
PROPERTIES OF OLIVE LEAF
Olive leaf contains a bitter antioxidant substance called oleuropein, which gives it antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. In one in-vitro study, it was shown to shrink growing tumors in mice! It is also anti-inflammatory and has been used to lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar, promote heart health, fight arthritis, and protect brain cell’s from damage associated with strokes and Alzheimer’s disease. There have also been clinical studies done that show promising benefits in treating encephalitis, hepatitis B, candida, meningitis, pneumonia, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, shingles, Epstein-Barr virus, various herpes viruses, malaria, UTI, and surgical infections. It may be one of the best natural antibiotics, along with garlic and oregano, as it has the ability to specifically target bacteria in the body’s system without killing the beneficial bacteria as pharmaceuticals do. There is quite a long list of possibilities of what the olive leaf can do when used as herbal medicine! In my family, it has been used to fight off cold sores (herpes virus), halt urinary tract infections, and as a preventive against influenza or other viruses. I have found wonderful results using it as a daily immune system support and avoided illness this past winter.
One thing I like about olive leaf is that it is generally safe for all, including pregnant and nursing women. It can be used regularly as a preventative for good health, as well as used specifically for treating an ailment. (Consult with a medical provider when treating a serious illness, of course.)
PREPARING OLIVE LEAF
You may consume olive leaf in powder form, drink as a tea (although it would be quite bitter to drink alone), in capsules, or as an extract or tincture. I personally find a tincture to be one of the easiest ways to take herbal supplements and great for people who can't take pills! Make your own tincture at home or purchase a ready-made one. Herb Pharm is one of my favorite brands for ready made ones.
A 1:5 ratio is generally used for preparing an olive leaf tincture, which would mean that if you have 4 oz. of dried olive leaf (by weight), you cover that with 20 oz. of alcohol (80 proof vodka works well). Store in a glass jar in a cool, dark place for 6 weeks, shaking from time to time. If using a metal lid on jar, line with wax paper to prevent corrosion from the alcohol. You may leave it brewing longer for a stronger extraction. When finished, you will strain the liquid from the herb. A cheese cloth works well for this. A small mesh strainer will also work, or you may squeeze the liquid from the leaves by hand. Dosage size is around 1/2 tsp for an adult and much less for a child and determined by weight. Olive leaf may be consumed daily as part of preventative health measures and may be taken every 2-3 hours during times of illness.
If you would like to know more about how to use herbs for health or set up a class or consultation, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org