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What Is Oleuropein?

An olive branch with black olives. Oleuropein is found in olive leaves.
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  • Written By: K.C. Bruning
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 10 April 2014
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Oleuropein is a chemical compound found in olive leaves. It is believed to have strong medicinal properties as an antibiotic, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral substance. The compound is also thought to help increase the body’s immune response. Common conditions that have been treated by the compound include colds and the flu.

Some people use oleuropein for medicinal purposes because it is believed that it only kills bad bacteria. It essentially works to find and destroy these bacteria. This is the opposite of synthetic antibiotics which kill both good and bad bacteria without making a distinction.

Oleuropein is also thought to have powerful antioxidant properties. It is believed to help promote overall good health by preventing free radicals in the body from causing cell damage. They do this by holding off excessive oxidization, which can cause the breakdown of materials in the body.

Once oleuropein is in the body, it first searches out infectious germs. Then it attacks them by dissolving their external lining. This disrupts the structure of the germ so that it not only no longer functions on its own, but also can’t reproduce.

When used for health purposes, oleuropein is usually taken as an oral supplement. It is typically taken for several days, after which use is stopped for a few days. This is so the amounts taken are able to be absorbed by the body. It is also partly because the body can only use a limited amount of the compound at once.

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In order for the compound to be effective, it must also be administered in consistent amounts. For this reason, it is typically best to take oleuropein products from one source, as it is more likely that they will have a consistent composition. It is also advisable to consult a doctor before taking the supplement, as these products do not tend to be regulated.

Other antioxidants found in olive leaves include resveratol, tyrosol, and hydroxytyrosol. Resveratol is believed to boost heart health and fight heart disease. Tyrosol is another compound that protects against oxidization of the cells. Hydroxytyrosol is known as a powerful antioxidant.

Oleuropein was first isolated in the early 1900s. It was then thought that it was the compound that helped olive trees resist disease. Scientists hoped it would have the same effect on human ailments. In the later part of that century more laboratory studies were conducted on the compound. This research found that it decreased blood pressure in laboratory animals, and it was then that the compound came into widespread use as a supplement.

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