Hello dear friends!
Slender green leaves shimmer in the setting sun, their silver undersides catching the light just right. These leaves crown a tree that is hardy, and bears abundant, dense fruit, even in harsh and dry conditions. Long revered in the Mediterranean cultures for its longevity-promoting benefits, the olive tree is considered one of the most sacred medicines on earth. And I’ve recently come to fall in love with its soft, warming energy.
If you have been dealing with a chronic Epstein-Barr Virus infection for a while, you’ve probably noticed olive leaf come up before. It’s one of the more common natural treatments for EBV and other viruses in the herpes family. It’s also commonly used to reduce cardiovascular risk, similar to the tree’s fruit, the olive, and the oil made from it.
I love to rotate olive leaf into my supplement routine every few months, to give my immune system a boost. And as an herbalist, I love to really connect with the energy of each plant, before using it- a sort of spiritual journey, if you will. I’ve been using it lately, so I thought what better time to write about this incredible medicine!
So let’s take a journey to the sunny hillsides of Italy…
Olive Leaf (olea europaea)
A small evergreen tree in the Oleaceae family, native to the Mediterranean region. Cultivated for over 3,000 years by the Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians, who were the first to use the leaves as medicine.
The olives are pressed to make one of the most common culinary oils in the world, but the olive leaf contains the most concentrated bioactive substances. The most studied of these is oleuropein, which you will often see standardized in olive leaf extract products. This, along with many of the other antioxidants in olive, is destroyed at high heat, so whether you’re using the leaf, the fruit, or the oil, don’t heat them up past 350 degrees or so.
Olive leaf has been shown to:
Kill viruses, especially herpes-type
Protect cardiovascular tissues
Regulate blood sugar
Support bone density
Have broad antimicrobial action
Reduce risk of cardiac events
Lower blood pressure
Halt the growth of cancers
Mild diuretic, anti-inflammatory, astringent, hypotensive, antiviral
Works well for the heart and solar plexus chakras
Olive leaf is often associated with the energy of the sun, and with the ancient Greek/Roman deities.
Ruling planets: Jupiter, mercury, sun
Zodiac signs: Taurus, Sagittarius
Element: fire, earth
Celebration: Mabon/Autumn Equinox
Olive is mentioned in dozens of historical and spiritual texts, including the Bible. To the ancient cultures of the Middle East and Mediterranean area, the olive tree was thought to bring peace, good fortune, and prosperity. To “extend an olive branch” is to offer a sincere appeal for forgiveness and goodwill, and branches of the olive tree would often adorn front doors and entryways.
It is said that the olive tree is the ideal gift to give the Goddess Athena, and in return she will grant you protection and favor. In many cultures, this tree and its leaves are a powerful symbol of peace, purity, and accomplishment. Ages ago, wreaths and crowns made from olive leaves would be given to Olympic athletes, as a mark of glory.
Use olive leaf in any magic or ritual revolving around peace, prosperity, longevity, or Divine protection.
Ways to use olive leaf:
This herb can be fairly bitter, so it is not typically used in teas or culinary applications (unlike the tree’s fruit, the olive!). Instead, I like to use a potent extract or capsule, as a great immune-booster and antioxidant.
Gaia Herbs makes my favorite olive leaf supplement, which you can purchase through the link.
Keep in mind, that the olive leaf, olive fruit, and olive oil will give very different physiological results, so they are not interchangeable.
Beyond the medicinal uses, I love using olive leaf to grace my mantle, entryway, or altar.
What about you, friend? Have you ever used olive leaf? What have your experiences been like?
Wishing you all the grace and power of Athena!
And of course…
~ Hoping you feel as well as possible ~
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