Olive leaf has been used for centuries as a medicinal herb to treat a variety of health conditions. Packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients, olive leaf is used as a tea, a liquid concentrate or as a supplement in powdered form. Recent research has revealed significant benefits of olive leaf extract for the treatment of some skin conditions.
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Wounds heal faster with olive leaf extract, according to a study published in a 2011 issue of "Journal of Medicinal Foods." In the animal study, wounds treated with olive leaf extract showed 87 percent increased closure and 35 percent better strength compared to wounds treated with a commercial ointment. High quantities of antioxidants that were present in a water extract added to the healing qualities as well, say the researchers, who identified a compound called secoiridoid oleuropein as the main active ingredient in olive leaf.
Reduces Skin Tumors
A study published in a 2010 "International Journal of Cancer" shows that olive leaf protects against skin cancer. In the study, performed on mice, olive leaf extract significantly inhibited cell reproduction and induced early apoptosis -- programmed cell death -- in a tissue culture of skin cancer cells. Also, treatment of established tumors in mice with olive leaf extract reduced tumor volume.
Protects Against Sun Damage
You may want to consider using olive leaf extract to protect against skin damage from sun exposure, say researchers of a study published in a 2010 "Phytotherapy Research" journal. Olive leaf extract and an active constituent of olive leaf, called oleuropein, given twice daily for 14 days inhibited skin-thickening reactions to ultraviolet radiation. The extract and oleuropein also slowed melanin production and inhibited an enzyme that breaks down skin tissue.
Better Than Vitamin E
Oleuropein extract of olive leaf reduced reddening of the skin, dehydration and blood flow to the skin better than vitamin E, according to a study published in a 2008 "International Journal of Cosmetic Science." In the study, volunteers used gel containing oleuropein after undergoing ultraviolet radiation treatment. The researchers encouraged further study into the benefits of olive leaf extract, possibly in combination with other active compounds, for protection of skin from sun damage.