Olive: Practice Points – Patient Counselling. FAQ

• Consumption of olive oil has beneficial effects on arterial blood pressure and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease when ingested as part of the Mediterranean diet.

• Several studies have demonstrated that supplemental olive oil produces significant improvements in disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis.

• When used as part of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil may reduce the incidence of some cancers and increases longevity.

• Olive leaf extract contains a greater concentration of biologically active phenolic compounds than olive oil; however, it has not been significantly studied in clinical trials.

• Preliminary studies with olive leaf extract show it has significant anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity and possibly hypoglycemic effects.

Answers to Patients’ Frequently Asked Questions

What will this herb do for me?

Long-term consumption of olive oil as part of a Mediterranean diet is likely to reduce the incidence of heart disease and promote longevity. It may also reduce the risk of cancer; however, this is less well established. Used as a stand-alone supplement, it may reduce blood pressure and improve symptoms in rheumatoid arthritis. Olive leaf extract may also be useful in hypertension and inflammatory conditions; however, little research has been conducted to confirm effectiveness.

When will it start to work?

In rheumatoid arthritis, benefits start to appear after 12 weeks, with further improvement noticed after 24 weeks. In regards to other health benefits, olive oil should be used long term.

Are there any safety issues?

Dietary amounts of olive oil are well tolerated and considered safe in healthy individuals; however, the safety of olive leaf extract has not been well studied and it should be avoided in pregnancy until safety is established.