Though olive leaf appears to have some antiviral properties, there have not been any scientific studies conducted that prove it can effectively clear up an outbreak of herpes. As long as the herpes outbreak is not severe, this herbal treatment can be safely taken by most patients because herpes will clear up on its own even if the olive leaf is ineffective. It is important to keep in mind, however, that olive leaf has not been studied to examine how safe it is for human patients and proper dosing is currently unknown. While it is possible that olive leaf may decrease the length of time it takes to recover from an outbreak of herpes, this treatment will not cure the disease.
Extract from the olive leaf has been used as an herbal treatment for thousands of years. Scientific studies have confirmed that the leaves of the olive tree contain antioxidants, which can improve health, and antimicrobial properties that help the plant fight off infection from bacteria and viruses. It is believed that some of these antimicrobial properties can assist the human immune system as it clears up infections. Many people who use olive leaf for herpes take it for its antiviral properties and consider it to be effective. The treatment will never cure a patient of herpes, but, it may clear up the current infection and then cause the virus to go dormant again for a time.
The only way to know whether using olive leaf for herpes is effective is to conduct a trial in which the effects of olive leaf are compared against the effects of a placebo. These studies have not been conducted, though the herb has received some attention from the scientific community because the olive leaf's antimicrobial properties might allow it to fight off herpes and other hard-to-treat viral infections. Tested antiviral drugs are often prescribed for herpes outbreaks, especially if they are serious, though the majority of outbreaks will clear up on their own. Patients can try using olive leaf if the outbreak is minor and if a doctor agrees that this treatment would be safe.
There are some severe effects that can occur when taking olive leaf for herpes. The treatment can cause a condition known as die-off syndrome, which occurs as viruses die and are attacked by the patient's immune system. This syndrome can cause symptoms similar to those experienced with the flu, so patients may want to take this into account before deciding to take olive leaf for herpes. Other antiviral drugs may have milder side effects and have proven to be effective.