Olive Leaf Capsules - Benefits and Drawbacks.

Olive Leaf capsules contain dried olive leaves, concentrated powdered extracts of olive leaves or a combination of both with or without excipients.

Effective for most uses they do not work quite as quickly as the tinctures nor are they as effective for mouth and throat infections.
For longer term systemic use and intestinal cleansing however, they are ideal.

Have a look at the benefits and drawbacks below, then follow the links to tinctures, powders and teas to see which will work best for you.

If you decide on capsules, follow the "Best Olive Leaf Capsule for You" link at the bottom of the page to choose the most suitable capsule type for your use.

Benefits of Olive Leaf Capsules

  • Olive leaf capsules can contain more active ingredient per dose than tinctures or teas. This can be an advantage for tackling some infections.

    A 500mg capsule containing pure olive leaf extract standardised to 20% oleuropein will contain more oleuropein than a dose of tincture or tonic, even if highly concentrated.

    Olive leaf capsules work well for infections susceptible to oleuropein and its metabolite hydroxytyrosol.

  • They can be conveniently carried and easily taken with a little water. Children's doses can be obtained by opening the weaker strength capsules and dividing the contents in half for example. (The powder is more palatable for children when mixed into a little honey.)


  • They are usually cheaper for the amount of oleuropein you get than other forms.

  • They are often standardised to supply the same amount of oleuropein per capsule and so from batch to batch. This is of benefit when accurate doses are required.

  • The shelf life of capsules is usually about 2 years maximum if kept dry, cool and out of direct sunlight.

  • For intestinal disorders olive leaf capsule contents will reach further down into the digestive tract than tinctures before being absorbed into the bloodstream. If a gut infection is to be tackled, this can be an advantage over tinctures.

  • Olive Leaves and their extracts have a slightly-fruity bitter taste. While some people get to enjoy the taste many prefer to bypass it. This is a drawback of the tinctures especially if they are to be used long-term.

  • Olive leaf capsules are generally packed in plastic containers and can easily be transported in a handbag or pocket without fear of leakage or breakage.

  • Taking olive leaf capsules will likely result in a slower more sustained release of active ingredients. If they are being taken to support the cardiovascular system this may be an advantage over tinctures. Having said that, highly successful clinical trials for lowering blood pressure have used tinctures. This could be a case of "see what works best for you". (If on medication, check with your doctor first).

Drawbacks

  • Capsule ingredients are not absorbed into the system as well or quickly as other forms (tinctures, teas).
    Volatile constituents will have been lost during processing and they will not be absorbed as completely into the body as a tincture for example which is transported into the blood stream through the mouth, stomach and small intestine lining by the alcohol in which it is dissolved.

  • Pure powdered extracts (see Best Olive Leaf Capsule for You below) can cause stomach irritation if they are too concentrated.
    This can be resolved by taking them with meals, however the amino acids glycine, lysine, cysteine and histidine may reduce the virucidal activity.*

    The capsules containing dried olive leaves combined with concentrated olive leaf extract are gentler and provide a better balance of active ingredients. These types should not cause stomach irritation.

  • Strong capsules are not as easily divided up into children's doses as the tinctures are.

  • Excipients (non-active ingredients) are usually added to the capsule contents to prevent clogging of the filling machinery and to add bulk.
    While many of these are safe, recent research indicates that some such as magnesium stearate and titanium dioxide should be avoided.

    I would personally avoid talc-containing capsules/pills which may act as an irritant to damaged intestinal lining, especially if they are taken long term as in vitamin supplements.

    Legally, excipients need not be shown on labels if only added to assist manufacture so you may not know they are there.
    Some capsules do not use excipients or fillers and this would be indicated on the label.


  • Volatile ingredients of the olive leaf are lost during drying and processing of the extract and so may not deliver all the potential benefits.

Look for :

1. An accurate description of strength in mg of dry leaf per capsule.

2. The quantity of powdered extract in mg per capsule and at what % of oleuropein (indicative of potency).

3. Does the manufacturer grow their own leaves or have control over the cultivation of the plants?

4. Are the leaves organically grown? This is usually a good sign.

5. Are they a mixture of dried leaves and powdered extract? This gives a better spread of active ingredients.

6. Are fillers and excipients absent? Some companies use other dry herbs as fillers which is preferable to inert fillers.

Choose the Best Olive Leaf Capsule for You here.

More about Olive Leaf Extract Liquid.

More about Olive Leaf Water/Glycerine Extracts

For the adventurous, why not Make Your Own Capsules?

*H.E. Renis "in-vitro antiviral activity of calcium elenolate." Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 167-172, 1970.

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