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In the last ten years or so, home chefs and restaurant cooks have turned more and more to olive oil for use in frying and as a salad oil. Olives themselves have been a traditional complement to Thanksgiving meals for decades.
But who would have thought that the lowly leaf of the olive tree would come into its own right? Among its many properties, olive leaf extracts in particular boost the body’s attack mode against microbes.
That’s right — a supplement derived from the leaves could help keep you well and even help fight a cold or flu you’ve already gotten.
Substances in olive leaf boost a cellular infection-fighting process known as phagocytosis (fag-uh-sigh-toe-sis). That idea is defined by Merriam Webster as:
The engulfing and usually the destruction of particulate matter by phagocytes that serves as an important bodily defense mechanism against infection by microorganisms and against occlusion of mucous surfaces or tissues by foreign particles and tissue debris.
In other words, phagocytes eat up (engulf) and zap (destroy) bacteria, viruses, and other unwanted invaders in the body.
Above, you see the yellow phagocyte gobbling up the deadly anthrax bacteria. While that would be helpful in case of a bioterror event, that same process can help in the remaining weeks of the winter as well as throughout the year.
My friend Dr. Russell Blaylock, a top expert on nutrition after a long career as a noted neurosurgeon, recommends olive leaf extract. While many doctors are reluctant to suggest specific amounts, Dr. Blaylock has some guidelines.
He suggests a maintenance dose of 500 milligrams twice a week. For an active infection, 1,000 milligrams three times a day can help the body get the job done. Even with natural regimens, consulting with your health care provider is wise.
In “The Blaylock Wellness Report,” he explains some of the other benefits of Olea europaea leaf:
Bacteria do not seem to be able to develop antibiotic resistance to olive leaf extract, as is common with antibiotics. It has also been shown to increase blood flow through coronary arteries, lower elevated blood sugar, and prevent oxidation of cholesterol.
Of course, these are all valuable properties. However, those who are being treated for diabetes or high blood pressure should consult their doctors or pharmacists because olive leaf could be too much of a good thing.
At the same time, a good physician will be open to the idea of using olive leaf to replace or reduce synthesized medications. Olive leaf has virtually no side effects — giving it an advantage over pharamaceuticals.
Still, with the degradation of health care accelerating as the worst provisions of Obamacare draw closer, you may have to be your own doctor and research what works best on your own.