What is the right olive leaf extract dosage?

Because products differ widely, it can be difficult to know if the olive leaf extract dosage you are taking is enough or too much for your purpose.

If you have already purchased a product, this page will help you decide within the manufacturer's recommended range how much to take.

If you are wondering what to purchase, it will show you how to compare strengths and choose a product with the right olive leaf extract dosage for you.

To start off, choose a suitable dosage form for you. Click olive leaves, for some options then return to this page.

Is it toxic?

It is reassuring to know when considering olive leaf extract dosage, that it has very very low toxicity. (Even water taken in excess can be toxic).
In tests using oleuropein, one of the major active constituents, researchers were unable to find the toxic dose.* Other complete extracts used in animal tests and on human tissues had no ill-effects on the cells tested.

Olive leaf extract dosage, within generally recognised limits is determined by the purpose for taking it and the effect it has on the person who takes it.
Over years as a supplier to health shops, health professionals and the public I've had no feedback from users of my products that were of serious cause for concern. The few reactions experienced by some people were easily dealt with by reducing the dosage or ceasing to take it.

Having said that, correct olive leaf extract dosage is very important if success is to be had, and certain things need to be understood, especially where disease conditions are present.
These are highlighted in 8 points further down this page.

Olive leaf extract dosage

The dosage on a container is often given as a range and this may leave some uncertainty as to where in the range to begin.
There is a big difference between maintaining good health as winter approaches and struggling to overcome a bad infection.
Manufacturers are not allowed to make any claims regarding the curing or prevention of any disease as this would class the food supplement as a drug requiring full medicine registration complete with human trials and a doctor's prescription to buy it.
For this reason a wide dosage range may be given on the container without specifying an illness condition.
The three points given below may help to determine the best olive leaf extract dosage in that range.
  • General health maintenance before and during winter, or maintaining cardiovascular health - Use minimum age-related dose
  • Shorter term disease prevention when under stress or in an infected environment, or for chronic (long term) illnesses - Use middle age-related dose.
  • Immune support during acute bouts of illness or when dealing with a stubborn chronic (ongoing) disease - Use maximum age-related dose, then reduce when feeling better.
The basis for calculating olive leaf extract dosage is usually the oleuropein content which is normally shown on the container.
This is a rule-of-thumb method which works well for a balanced extract, not as well for one which has had oleuropein content boosted too far out of proportion to the rest of the constituents.
A reputable herbal manufacturer should have a balanced product.

If a product has "extra strength" or "super potency" splashed all over the label without quoting actual oleuropein concentration or tincture strength, be suspicious.
If you want to take it to alleviate a real problem it may produce disappointing or no results.

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I use the following guide for olive leaf extract dosage.

Step 1:

From the list below, decide how many mg. of oleuropein is required per day for your purpose. These values I have found empirically (by trial and error).

Health Maintenance: 25mg per day divided into 1-2 doses
Disease Prevention: 75mg per day divided into 3 doses
Acute Illness: 180mg per day divided into 3-5 doses

Health Maintenance: 12.5mg per day divided into 1-2 doses
Disease Prevention: 38mg per day divided into 3 doses
Acute Illness: 90mg per day divided into 3-5 doses

Health Maintenance: 7mg per day divided into 1-2 doses
Disease Prevention: 18mg per day divided into 3 doses
Acute Illness: 40mg per day divided into 3-5 doses

Health Maintenance: 5mg per day divided into 1-2 doses
Prevention: 12mg per day divided into 3 doses
Acute: 25mg per day divided into 5 doses

Under 2 years
Consult your health care professional.

Step 2.

Tinctures only.
Calculate how many drops this is equivalent to in the product purchased. (Must only be olive leaf extract, not a combination of herbs).
Proceed to step 3.

Capsules and powder - For adults, add 20% to 30% to the oleuropein requirement due to reduced absorption.
For children, do not add the extra.

Calculate how many capsules are required to supply this amount of oleuropein.
Proceed to step 3.

Step 3.

Divide this total dose up into 1 to 5 doses per day according to the list.

Step 4

Check that this falls within the manufacturer's recommended range.

For example:

Step 1.

You need 75mg oleuropein per day according to the list.
You are an adult and have bought olive leaf capsules, each containing 35mg of oleuropein.

Step 2.

Capsules, add 25% to the required dose (due to lower capsule absorption).
This gives you 75mg+18.75mg = 93.75mg approx. needed per day.

Your capsules contain 35mg oleuropein each, so you need 93.75mg divided by 35mg = 2.68 capsules per day.

Round this up to 3 capsules per day.

Go go to step 3

Step 3.

From the list, ideally you need 3 doses per day so take 1 capsule 3 times a day.

Step 4.

Finally, double check that this is within the dosage given on the container.

These basic olive leaf extract dosages may be adjusted if necessary taking into account the eight factors below.

1. Safety first

Olive leaf extract has been shown to lower high blood pressure, regulate blood sugar levels and prevent blood platelets from sticking together. While this is good news for the average person, it may add to the effect of high blood pressure medication (bringing it too low), alter required insulin dosage in diabetics and increase the effect of blood thinners such as Warfarin.
Anyone using medication for any of these conditions should consult their doctor before dosing with olive leaf extract.
People who typically have low blood pressure should first try small doses (about half a maintenance dosage for your age) to check if it has any lowering effect on their blood pressure causing for example a feeling of dizziness when standing up suddenly.
If no effect is noticed, build up to the recommended dosage over a few days.

Pregnant or breast-feeding?

It is not advisable to take olive leaf extract when pregnant or breast-feeding. It may cause you to detox heavily, lower blood pressure etc. and this is definitely an issue to be discussed with your qualified health care professional.
There have been no animal or human tests conducted to demonstrate safety or otherwise during pregnancy.

2. Herxheimer's Reaction, or "die-off"

Some disease-causing microbes (pathogens), particularly in areas such as the digestive tract, sexual and urinary organs, sinuses and ear, nose, throat, lungs, lymph glands, joints, and meninges (protective membranes around the brain) are able to evade your body's immune cells.
When the pathogens' cell walls are damaged by olive leaf constituents, their "remains" are then absorbed by the sensitive surrounding tissue, triggering an immune response and causing inflammation, pain and a temporary worsening of original disease symptoms.
They may also appear as mild 'flu-like symptoms. This lasts until the body has processed these destroyed microbes and is usually followed by a surge of energy and a feeling of well-being.

Herxheimers reaction is experienced in a small minority of people and usually lasts about 4-7 days. It is a good indication that the olive leaf extract dosage is working.
It stands to reason that someone carrying a heavy load of pathogens should kill them off slowly in order to avoid unnecessary discomfort or overload.
This is particularly the case in the old, frail and chronically ill.

Start with the minimum age-related olive leaf extract dosage on the container and increase day by day until die-off symptoms are experienced.
Maintain that dose or increase as comfortable until the maximum dosage is reached. If uncomfortable, reduce dosage of olive leaf extract for a few days or stop taking it and start again in a few days.
It is better not to stop if possible.

3. Product used

Individual brand strengths vary considerably, and product forms have different characteristics as discussed under Olive Leaves.

A useful hint when overcoming the early stages of an infection is to take half the recommended dosage of a tincture and half the recommended dosage of a capsule product together.
While this means buying two products it gives both a quick-acting and a sustained effect.

All products are not equal

Because not all olive leaf extracts are the same, different cultivars having different constituents and amounts of constituents during different seasons, and because like any other herb these components interact with our bodies in a complex and individual way, different products may not have the same effect on everyone.

Some benefits will only be experienced by using a sufficiently strong dosage of an olive leaf extract product which has all the constituents necessary for the desired effect.

For this reason, the benefits of a particular brand depend on the quality of the product itself. The benefits of a highly concentrated, good quality product will differ widely from those of a weak product made from the cheapest leaves available.
A product standardised in terms of one particular ingredient may be deficient in other ingredients which are collectively responsible for some of the properties of olive leaf extract.

The best solution is to buy a good quality product as described under Olive Leaves, start with a low dosage of olive leaf extract to gauge the effect on you and then increase until you have the desired effect.

4. Acute or chronic illness

If you are accustomed to it, you can immediately go to the maximum dose of olive leaf extract when you feel you are coming down with a viral or other infection.

If you have a chronic or long-term illness, or have never taken olive leaf extract before, it is best to start on a low dosage and build up to the recommended dose over a few days or weeks as you feel comfortable.

The same dosage can be used for all kinds of infections, up to the maximum recommended dose. In some cases, Herxheimers reaction may determine the rate you increase olive leaf extract dosage.

5. Age

Most manufacturers show olive leaf extract dosages for children from 2 years of age upwards.
Tinctures are sometimes administered from age 1 year up.
The manufacturer's stated 1-year-old dosage should be about the 2-year-old dose in the guidelines above reduced by 30%.
The tendency is to give very young children too much because it "looks so little".
Rather go by the manufacturer's recommendations, not the looks.

For adults, the older you are the higher the olive leaf extract dosage generally needed to have the same effect as on a younger person with a healthy immune system.

6. Weight

In general, a large-framed person will need more than a smaller-framed person. If you are substantially above average weight and size build up to a higher olive leaf extract dosage.

An elderly person who is very small should start on a small adult dose and slowly increase until the desired effect is achieved.

The same applies to children.
If dosages are given in a range, for example 5-10 drops for children aged 6-10, give a 6-year old 5 drops, or a 10-year old 10 drops.
Don't start the 6-year-old on 10 drops.

Likewise don't give your 13-year old son the maximum adult dose because he is over 12. Roughly gauge where your child should be in the age range according to age and weight.

As already mentioned, olive leaf extract is a forgiving herb and too much will not likely cause any harm but use common sense to avoid wastage and also ensure a big enough dose to make a difference. Too much too soon can cause too much stress on the system.

7. Health

As already mentioned, a sickly person or one with chronic illnesses should start off on a low dosage.
You may end up taking a relatively large olive leaf extract dosage to finally eradicate the illness but start slowly and give your body time to recover.

8. Duration

For how long should I take olive leaf extract?
This depends firstly on why you are taking it. These are my personal views based upon my own understanding of health. Others may differ.

a.) Children should not be given olive leaf extract permanently like a vitamin tonic as they need to build up their own immune systems.

They should be given it when they are sick (if olive leaf extract is appropriate), when sickness is doing the rounds at school, for a few days in preparation for exams when under stress and perhaps before and during winter when colds and flu are about.
It is also a good idea to dose children before a school outing to museums and when using public transport if they are not used to it.

Other than that, a healthy diet and exercise should keep them in good shape.

After a winter season of taking olive leaf extract, it is a good idea to give the family a course of good probiotics to ensure a healthy, balanced digestive system.

b.) Adults with chronic conditions can take olive leaf extract indefinitely if appropriate to the ailment or if a long term treatment is required.
For example, some people take olive leaf extract every day to keep sinus infections under control.

I have spoken to an elderly lady who had almost no immune system after a career as a radiologist in the early days when safety was not up to scratch. She was adamant that her daily dose of olive leaf extract was her immune system.

It would be well for such people to eat fermented foods or take probiotics regularly to ensure a healthy digestive tract. (Yoghurt is not sufficient).

For a bad dose of candida albicans or thrush, olive leaf extract dosage should be part of a planned treatment which tapers off as the correct flora are rebuilt in the gut and vaginal tract and healthy foods and habits take over from damaging ones.

c.) For acute illnesses in adults or children, continue with a lower olive leaf extract dosage for at least a week after you are feeling better.
The tendency is to forget to take it when you feel better because you don't realise that it is still destroying pathogens. You will soon find out what it was doing if you stop too soon, and the second time it often takes longer to subdue the illness.

Choose the best olive leaf form for you.

Now you are armed with the dosage you need to build up to as well as what to start on, go to olive leaves to help you choose a dosage form to take.

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* Fleming H.P.; Walter W.M.; Etchells J.L. "Antimicrobial properties of oleuropein and products of its hydrolysis from green olives" Microbiology 26(5):777-782, Nov. 1973. "Olive Leaf Extract"; Dr. Morton Walker


Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below. Note: I can't give medical advice. See dosage page for dosage.

Disclaimer: The information given on this page is for general knowledge only and is not intended to replace the dosage instructions or recommendations given by any olive leaf extract supplier for their product.
Any queries regarding a particular brand should be directed to the supplier of that brand.
Responsibility is disclaimed by the owner of this site for anyone using this information in place of consulting their personal health professional and use of the information is at your own risk.