Researchers have discovered that the primary active compounds present in the olive tree leaves include hydroxytyrosol, oleocanthal, some other polyphenols and flavonoids and also oleuropein. These compounds are responsible for its health benefits. It helps in strengthening the immune system and in combating pathogens such as fungi, virus, bacteria and retrovirus. Olive leaf extract has the ability to inhibit the replication of virus. It is for this reason that this is effective in the treatment of shingles, flu, herpes and colds. In addition, it is used in treating dental and surgical infection, yeast infection, tuberculosis, pneumonia, gonorrhea, meningitis, ear infection and malaria.
To this point, no severe side effects have been reported. Some people will experience some side effects of olive leaf which are frequently termed as “die-off effect” or “Herxheimer Reaction”. These refer to the symptoms of detoxification. Such symptoms are produced when the extract of the olive leaf will detoxify the body from the microbes or pathogens. Those who are more likely to have the detoxification symptoms are people suffering from chronic fatigue and other illnesses. The symptoms include skin rash, diarrhea, flu like symptoms, headaches, muscle and joint aches and fatigue. All of these will occur at once following the use of olive leaf extract.
The symptoms of detoxification are produced when the olive leaf extract begins to destroy the harmful microbes. Consequently, the body becomes overburdened with these dead microbes as well as the toxins released by them. Thus, the symptoms will persist for some time until the dead microorganisms and toxins are removed from the body. Meanwhile, the amount of extract should be reduced for a short time until the detoxification symptoms will disappear. Those with low blood glucose and blood pressure must practice extra care when using the extract. The reason behind this is that olive leaf can reduce the blood pressure as well as the blood glucose which would then result to more health problems to these people.
Since the effects of olive leaf extract on pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers have not been properly evaluated, they are usually told not to take this supplement. Even those who are taking other medications and supplements must speak with their doctors before using it. Once the side effects become very severe, it may be important to decrease the dosage. Hence, it is extremely necessary to use any herb or herbal supplement only under the supervision of a doctor. Finally, make sure that you drink plenty of water while using this supplement. Water helps in eliminating the toxins from the body. Thus, any health risks may be minimized.