Although olives and olive oil are used as foods, olive leaf is primarily used medicinally or as a tea. Olive leaf and its extracts are used in the complementary and alternative medicine community for the presumed ability to act as a natural pathogen killer by inhibiting the replication process of many pathogens.
Olive leaves come from the olive tree ( Olea europae ), native to Mediterranean countries. Laboratory studies indicate that olive leaf may be beneficial as an antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, or antioxidant. However, there is insufficient evidence in humans to support the use of olive leaf for any indication. In the Middle East, olive leaf tea has been used for centuries to treat sore throat, coughs, fevers, high blood pressure, cystitis (bladder infection), and gout (foot inflammation), and to improve general health. Olive leaf poultices have been applied to the skin to treat dermatological conditions, such as boils, rashes, and warts.
Olive leaf is commonly used to fight colds and flu, yeast infections, and viral infections such as the hard-to-treat Epstein-Barr disease, shingles and herpes. Olive leaf has been shown to reduce low-density lipoproteins (LDL) or bad cholesterol. Researchers have found that olive leaf lowers blood pressure and increases blood flow by relaxing the arteries.
Olive leaf harbors antioxidant properties that help protect the body from the continuous activity of free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive chemical substances that, when oxidized, can cause cellular damage if left unchecked. Some recent research on the olive leaf has shown its antioxidants to be effective in treating some tumors and cancers such as liver, prostate, and breast cancer but the research on this is preliminary. Olive leaf is especially potent when used in combination with other antioxidants.
Olive leaf can be taken as a liquid concentrate, dried leaf tea, powder, or capsule. The leaf extracts can be taken in powder, liquid concentrate, or capsule form, although the fresh-picked leaf liquid extracts are quickly gaining popularity due to the broader range of healing compounds they contain. Bioassays support its antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory effects at a laboratory level. A liquid extract made directly from fresh olive leaves recently gained international attention when it was shown to have an antioxidant capacity almost double green tea extract and 400% higher than vitamin C.
CAN I GIVE IT TO MY HORSE?
The usual dose for humans is 500 to 1000mg. The recommended dose for a horse is 5 grams as maintenance and 9-10 grams if the horse is in the acute stages of a viral attack. A capsule of ground dried herb is the form available from most local health food stores.
There is also a paste available from VetriScience that contains 333mg of Olive Leaf per gm (cc) of paste. Use the same dosage as with the capsule. Energique has an herbal extract that is available in 20% or 50% alcohol. The alcohol acts as a local vasodilator to help aid absorption of the herb from the gut. The usual human dose is 10 drops 3 times daily; for horses, 20 drops for maintenance or 30 drops in an acute form of viremia.
All three forms are available at Jubilee Animal Health, 214-802-7815, which also serves as the source for this information. www.jubileeac.com
Holistic Horse magazine is your guide to natural horse health. www.holistichorse.com