Olea europaea

A small evergreen tree averaging 20ft (6m) in height. It has many thin branches with opposite branchlets that are short stalked. The leaves are small and leathery, pale green topside and silvery underneath and lanceolate in shape. The bark is pale grey in colour and deeply grooved. The flowers are in clusters and greenish white in colour. The fruit is green to dark purple in colour, ovoid in shape. The fleshy part of the fruit is filled with oil and contains a single seed.

Family: Oleaceae

Which probiotic is it in?: Olive is a key herb in Sustain

Habit and cultivation: The Olive tree grows wild in Mediterranean countries and is cultivated throughout the Mediterranean and worldwide in countries of similar climate. The leaves are gathered throughout the year and the fruit is harvested in late summer. The leaves of the wild trees are believed to contain higher concentrations of active principles.

Actions (known for): Hypotensive, immune stimulant and hypoglycaemic.


The olive branch is symbolic as an emblem of peace and happiness. During biblical times Moses exempted men who worked in the olive groves from military service. Believed to have been first cultivated in Crete around 3500BC, the leaves have been used since that time to clean wounds and also use for ritual anointing in some religions. The oil has been used widely in food, and was burnt in sacred lamps of the temples. During the ancient Olympic Games the victors were crowned with olive leaves. Traditionally taken with lemon juice to treat gallstones.

Parts used:

Leaves and oil.

Constituents (bio available chemicals):

Leaf: oleasterol and leine. Oil: 75% oleic acid (a mono-unsaturated fatty acid), smaller amounts of palmitic and stearic acid glycosides.

Nutritional constituents:

Vitamin E, iron, copper and calcium.


Severe hypertension, influenza, common cold, meningitis, herpes l and ll, hepatitis B, chronic fatigue and diabetes. Externally: dry skin, stretch marks, cradle cap, to soften ear wax and many other uses.


Liquid extract (1:): 25-50ml per week.

British Herbal Pharmacopoeia

Cautions for therapeutic doses

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