Dried or Fresh Olive Leaves

by Granny Bee

Question:

I have access to unsprayed olive trees and have been making tea from ground fresh leaves. I see that you suggest using dried leaves. Are dried leaves better than fresh for this purpose?

Answer:

Not at all.
Tea made from ground fresh leaves contains volatile constituents that are lost by drying.
Fresh leaves would also have sustained less damage from oxidation.

While one could not categorically claim the fresh to be better than dried for all uses without extensive testing, it does seems to be the case with olive leaf from experience.

If you drink it for the health benefits, fresh would be the better option in most cases.
If you drink it as a beverage, tea from dried leaves may taste better than from fresh, but I can't compare as I have only tasted tea from dried leaves.

Thank you for the question.

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Eating olive leaf fresh from the tree

by Christel Webb
(Upper Hutt New Zealand)

Question:

Which olive leafs are better the young, light green ones or the older, dark green ones and are they at their best all year round?

Answer:

I don't know that anybody has done a study on this, but commercial growers would likely pick a range of leaves including more of the older ones rather than the new growth and this gives a good result.
The important thing is to pick healthy leaves that have not been attacked by parasites or bugs, although a healthy tree that has ample sunlight in suitable soil and is not overgrown by other plants will not have many of those.

To answer the second question the potency of the leaves is seasonal, and the best time to pick them would be when they are most likely to have to ward off attack from their natural enemies, that is, during the growing season. This will vary according to latitude and location, but is probably the most practical way to choose when to pick.
Having said that, the supplier of my leaves has always picked them fresh when needed, and the results have been consistently good.

Farmers pick leaves after the olive harvest when producing both leaves and olives for oil and the table, as the leaves are needed to supply food for the fruit. These leaves are purchased by large companies producing standardised extracts so after the growing season also produces good results.

Comments for Eating olive leaf fresh from the tree

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I eat leaves right off the tree, too!
by: George

I live in the Middle East, and all around there are olive trees.

I live in a city and look for trees that aren't, say, right by a busy road. I figure no one is spraying such trees... so they're organic to boot.

I aim for about 3 leaves a day because I hear so many good things about olive leaf. I clean the leaves with a bit of spittle and rubbing first! I hardly taste bitter (genes) so they have just a mild flavor to me as I chew them. I can't say what they do, but I've heard all the good things about olive leaf, so am happy to chew them.

I'm especially careful to get olive leaf if I feel a cold coming on ... and I can usually chase it away with interventions like olive leaf (and aspirin, zinc gluconate, elderberry syrup & echinacea and the like).

Purity of leaves
by: Lea

Question:
1. Is it possible to obtain the extract from organically grown olive leaves, bar growing your own?

Have you any information on how much fungicide, miticide, pesticide and other toxic sprays the trees receive in olive tree plantations?

Answer:
1. Yes, there are a number of organic olive leaf products available, leaves, tea and extracts.

2. The spraying of olive orchards is strictly controlled, and is used to deal with pests such as the Olive fly and various fungi, usually occurring where there is much rain and poorly drained soil. There are organic and non-organic means to do this but this is really beyond the scope of this website. There are websites which deal in much detail with this important topic.

Eating olive leaves straight from the tree
by: Anonymous

I live in New Zealand and it is winter here right now. I have experimented with eating 6 leaves per day straight from the tree and experienced a mild headache. I presume this was because of the detoxification that was taking place.
I have now reduced to eating 3 leaves per day. The headaches have gone and I feel great. Everybody around me has colds and I used to catch them but not now. I feel GREAT!!!

The leaves are quite leathery and taste a bit bitter but not disgusting. The juice that is released while chewing leaves the inside of your mouth a bit dry but this goes after a couple of hours. Once the leaves have been chewed they do get rather dry and hard to swallow but with an apple or something else to eat or drink they go down alright.

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