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Olive Leaf Extract for Blood Pressure Support

April 3rd, 2009

Ancient herbal remedy: Olive leaf  21st Century benefits: high blood pressure

This ancient herbal remedy benefits 21st Century problems like high blood pressure

Drugs used to treat high blood pressure, or hypertension, are notorious for their side-effects, and aren’t always effective on their own. And the non-drug approaches like dietary modification, exercise, and weight loss aren’t always sufficient either. So both doctors and patients commonly seek out safe and potentially-effective adjuncts to managing high blood pressure, to minimize the patient’s reliance on medications. Research suggests that olive leaf extract (OLE) is an herbal approach that deserves consideration by anyone seeking non-drug support for healthy blood pressure.

Olive trees themselves have been cultivated since antiquity, since almost every part of the tree can be used in some way. Olive leaves have been used as a traditional herbal medicine for as long as olives have been cultivated, for different conditions at different times. One of the traditional medicinal uses of olive leaf has been as a cardiotonic for general support of the cardiovascular system. As happened many times with other herbs and nutrients, scientific research has borne out the folk wisdom of using olive leaf extract for cardiovascular health, especially with respect to blood pressure, but also other factors.

*Not* the best way to use olives to lower blood pressure.

This animal study that suggests OLE works in manner similar to drugs known as calcium channel blockers, used to treat hypertension and some disorders of heart rhythm. OLE has not been shown to produce the side-effects of CCB drugs, however.

Another animal study, was published in Sept 2008. It used monozygotic twin test animals since hypertension develops over such a long period of time and is due to both lifestyle and genetic factors.  By using identical twins, researchers were better able to account for both the lifestyle and genetic factors that cause high blood pressure.  Over 8 weeks, their study showed that OLE lowered both blood pressure and cholesterol.

Also of benefit to heart and cardiovascular health including possible effects on blood pressure, are the effects of olive leaf polyphenols on platelet aggregation and activity. This human study of non smoking makes showed that OLE decreased platelet activity significantly. Platelets are small blood cells involved in clot formation. As we age, platelet aggregation increases which is one of the factors that thickens the viscosity of blood  over time, increasing the chances of unhealthy blood clots, strokes or heart attacks.

If you wish to use an olive leaf extract to help manage high blood pressure, make sure you let your doctor know, especially if you’re taking blood pressure medications. Make sure you’re taking blood pressure readings before beginning OLE so you’ll know how much of a benefit you’re getting. We suggest you buy olive leaf extracts, since those will have standardized, higher levels of active ingredients. You may also want to combine OLE with one of these other blood pressure formulas.

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