Common name: Olive
Latin name: Olea europaea
Other names: Common Olive
Habitat: Olive prefers sub-tropical and temperate regions of the world. It is native to northern Iran, coastal areas of southeastern Europe, western Asia and northern Africa.
Description: The olive tree is an evergreen tree or a shrub. It can grow to 12 m tall, and has a gnarled branching pattern. It has oblong, silver green leaves, growing opposite one another. Flowers are small, white and fragrant, growing on a long stem which appears on the leaf axils. The fruit is a small green or black-purple drupe, usually smaller in wild plants.
Parts used: Fruit and leaves
Useful components: Oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol, polyphenols, flavonoids.
Medicinal use: Olive had been used in traditional medicine for centuries. It was usually used in treatment of hemorrhages, fevers, as a metabolism inducer and bile flow stimulator. It was considered be an astringent, antiseptic and a general tonic. Nowadays, studies are showing more and more that Olive shouldn’t be taken for granted, and that it has proven anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. Olive leaves extract is usually used as a natural antibiotic. It can easily combat different viral infections, such as influenza, herpes and Epstein Barr Virus. Olive leaf is also proving in beneficial effects concerning certain cardiovascular conditions. It reduces LDL cholesterol and blood pressure levels. It also increases blood flow and reduces blood sugar levels. Antioxidant properties of Olive oil are helping our body fight free radicals, which could explain its effectiveness in treatment of certain tumors (including liver, prostate, and breast cancer). Some studies even suggest that Olive oil could act as a chemopreventive agent for peptic ulcers or gastric cancer.
Safety: Some herbs could react with certain medication. Therefore, it is advisable to consult your doctor before consumption of any herb.