Olive Leaf Extract Liquid

Water/Glycerine Extracts - Best Uses

Olive leaf extract liquid comes mainly in the form of ethanolic tinctures and water/glycerine-based liquid extracts.
This page discusses water/glycerine (glycerol) extracts, which are good general olive leaf tonics and contain no ethyl alcohol (drinking alcohol).

More about olive leaf extract ethanolic tinctures

Glycerine-based extracts

These are generally marketed for anti-oxidant, immune support and cardiovascular-health purposes.
As they contain no ethanol they are a popular choice by parents for their children or for general family use.

There are a few different extraction methods each with variations used by different manufacturers resulting in a range in the quality of products.

Possibly the best water-based olive leaf liquid is produced as follows:

Leaves are picked, chopped and cold-pressed while still fresh in such a way that purified or spring water is used to extract and dissolve the phytochemicals.

Glycerol is then added as a preservative against opportunistic organisms and natural flavourings are added to minimise the bitter taste of olive leaf.
This method has the advantage of retaining the volatile constituents of the leaf and causing no heat damage to the phytochemicals.

Other extraction methods of olive leaf liquid glycerine tinctures.

Dried leaves are chopped/crushed and soaked in a glycerol or water/glycerol solution to extract the phytochemicals.
This is a slow process as glycerol is a weak solvent but it can be sped up by heating the mixture. This is not ideal as some constituents can be damaged by heat and some of the volatile constituents lost.

The mixture is then pressed and filtered to obtain the liquid extract.
Once again the glycerine acts as preservative in a concentration of about 50% by volume.

A stronger ethanol-free olive leaf extract liquid can be obtained by means of a normal ethanolic extraction followed by the removal of the ethanol by distillation in a partial vacuum.
Leaves generally should not be heated above about 65deg C which means that the vacuum needed is about one half of atmospheric pressure which will likely also remove some of the volatiles as well.

Other solvents may be used in the extraction process such as apple cider vinegar.
The quality of olive leaf extract liquid is largely determined by the care taken in the process and this can usually be determined from the information supplied by the manufacturer.


  • Contains no alcohol which is preferred by many parents and some religions.
  • More appropriate for people engaged in programs to overcome alcoholism.
  • Has a naturally sweet taste and can easily be flavoured. (This is not practised by some manufacturers who believe that taste is what sets the body chemistry up for efficient absorption and utilisation of a plant.)
  • Is generally milder for long term antioxidant supplementation in adults and immune support in adults and children.
  • Does not need additional preservatives, fillers or excipients. Glycerine is believed to be harmless to humans and animals and is used in many food products.


  • Where practised, hot processing may damage some constituents, and a percentage of volatile oils are lost. Extraction is not as efficient or comprehensive as a cold ethanolic extraction.
  • Glycosides, such as oleuropein in olive leaf, and many other plant substances are more stable in an alcohol solution than in water/glycerine giving them a longer shelf-life.
  • Does not have as rapid and possibly as comprehensive absorption into the body as an alcoholic tincture.

Look for:

1. Products containing good quality leaves. As this is important to the extract, suppliers of good quality leaves will promote this in their advertising material.

2. Standardised products certified to contain a specified percentage of oleuropein.

Note: Glycerol contains approximately the same energy in calories as table sugar but does not increase blood sugar levels.

More about Olive Leaf Capsules


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