Most people already know the health benefits of eating olive oil on a regular basis, but an increasing amount of research is showing that olive oil isn’t the only therapeutic part of these trees. The leaf of the trees have long been used for their anti-viral properties as well. And, according to research in the medical journal Phytomedicine, the leaf extract showed comparable ability to the drug Captopril to reduce high blood pressure.
Participants in the double-blind study took either Olive leaf extract (Olea europaea L.) or the drug Captopril for eight weeks. Their blood pressure was evaluated every week for the study duration. At the four-week mark, researchers also conducted blood tests to determine their levels of triglycerides. After eight weeks of treatment both groups experienced a significant reduction in blood pressure.
Where the herb and drug differed considerably, however, is that the herb group also experienced reduced triglyceride levels in their blood while the drug group did not. High triglyceride levels can be a marker for heart disease so a reduction in high levels of the fat is an added bonus for the group taking the Olive leaf extract.
The study used a product known as EFLA® 943 to obtain the results however there are many excellent brands of olive leaf extract that should have a similar effect. Participants in the study took 500 mg of the herbal medicine twice daily throughout the eight week study.
Researchers concluded that at that dose, olive leaf extract “was similarly effective in lowering systolic and diastolic blood pressures in subjects with stage-1 hypertension as Captopril.”
The olive tree produces a compound known as oleuropein that is abundant in both the leaves as well as the olives. It is believed that this compound is responsible for the many health benefits of olive oil and olive leaf extract.
In another study, published in Phytotherapy Research, of identical twins with borderline hypertension researchers found that the twins who took the placebo had no change in blood pressure while those who took the olive leaf extract had a significant reduction. The people taking the olive leaf extract also showed significant reductions in cholesterol as well. The study dose was 1000 mg. of olive leaf extract daily.
The drug Captopril has been linked with side-effects, including: dizziness, fever, coughing, rapid heartbeat, and bruising. Be sure to consult your physician before discontinuing any medication or starting an herbal medicine.