|February 21, 2013||Posted by admin under Research|
The leaf of Olea europaea, the common olive, has been ascribed a long list of benefits by the Mediterranean cultures to use it over the last few thousand years. A modern list of uses ranges from fighting infections throughout the body to toning the digestive system. researchers have begun the process of cataloging the compounds found in the olive leaf and assessing their effectiveness at providing the claimed benefits.
Assessing the Antioxidative Capacity of Olive Leaf
It is known from past research that olive leaf extract can lower blood pressure, prevent muscle spasms, and increase arterial blood flow. Oleuropin is an active compound in olive leaf that has been isolated and shown to have both anti-inflammatory and antioxidative qualities. Researchers sought to discover whether oleuropin was the primary source of olive leaf benefits and whether other polyphenolic compounds in the leaf play a role in the benefits observed from whole leaf extract.
The array of olive phenols, also referred to as flavonoids, were first isolated and tested using a common marker of antioxidant capacity, the ABTS cation. What they discovered is that although oleuropeosides, including oleuropin, make up the majority of olive leaf content, other compounds occurring in the leaf actually had greater antioxidative power. Further, the researchers found that the different types of antioxidant compounds found in Olea europaea function together to reduce decay rates of individual phenols and enhance antioxidative effects.
Supporting Whole Leaf Extract
The most abundant compounds in olive leaf are antioxidants in the oleuropeoside group. Flavonol compounds showed capacities exceeding vitamins C and E by 2.5 times. More active antioxidants, such as rutin and catechins found in the whole lead extract, decay at faster rates unless combined with the other less active antioxidant compounds. Thus olive leaf benefits are greatest in the whole leaf extract.