Complementary medicine update

Olive leaf extract: olive polyphenols and cardiovascular risk reduction

David Colquhoun

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Abstract

Antioxidant anti-inflammatory polyphenols in olive leaf extract appear to improve risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Animal study results are beginning to be confirmed in human studies.

Article Extract

The products of the olive tree, Olea europaea, have been used in folk medicine in countries such as Spain, Italy, France and Greece since ancient times, and there are over 200 references to the olive tree and its products in the Bible. A Mediterranean diet, or more specifically the diet of Southern Italy, Greece and Spain, has been associated with a very low risk of cardiovascular disease. Features of the Mediterranean diet compared with a northern European diet include having olive oil as the principal source of fat and having a much higher intake of legumes and vegetables (which is probably facilitated by marinating and cooking these vegetables in olive oil).