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Olive Leaf Extract

Note: This is an updated version of the article first published 11/13/11. To meet the requirements of federal law this article no longer includes supplement product names. The rest of the article is accurate and up to date.

In chronic Lyme and associated diseases Olive Leaf Extract (OLE)

  • is an antimicrobial for acute viruses, like the cold and flu viruses, and chronic viral infections like Human Herpes Virus 6 (HHV-6), Cytomegalovirus (CMV), and Epstein Barr Virus (EBV).
  • limits viral infectivity
  • stimulates the immune system to fight acute and chronic viruses, and
  • decreases inflammation from viral infections.

In addition to fighting viruses OLE lowers blood pressure. 

Marty Ross MD on Olive Leaf Extract in chronic Lyme and associated diseases.

     I primarily use OLE to treat acute and chronic viral infections. Acute viruses include the cold and flu viruses in addition to other respiratory and gastrointestinal virus infections. Taken at the first signs of an acute viral infection such as generalized achiness, nasal congestion, sore throat, and fatigue (worsening of these symptoms acutely if they are part of the usual Lyme disease symptoms), OLE limits the course of the virus infection or may even stop it in the first 24 hours.

     Some with chronic Lyme and associated disease also have active chronic virus infections (CMV, EBV or HHV-6) that contribute to the illness. OLE can treat these viruses as well. However, treating these viruses requires six months or longer. Many healthy people have evidence of these three virus infections. Testing will help determine if these common viral infections are active enough to require treatment in a person with chronic Lyme Disease. Persons with marked elevation in IGG antibodies may require treatment with antiviral like OLE or prescriptive antivirals like Valcyte. 

Method of Action:

      Test tube experiments show that an ingredient of OLE, calcium elenolate, inhibits many types of viruses. In addition to inactivating viruses, OLE blocks viruses from infection cells, limits viral growth, and stops viral shedding (release). OLE limits the symptoms of viral infections through antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Finally OLE stimulates phagocytosis which is one method the immune system uses to fight virus infections.


     Acute Virus Infections: This is most effective if taken at the earliest signs of an infection but can help even if started in the first 48 hours of an infection. Take 1 500mg pill 3 times a day for 7-10 days depending on how quickly the symptoms resolve.

     Chronic Virus Infections: Start out slowly and adjust the dose as tolerated. (Killing chronic viruses can sometimes trigger a die-off (Herxheimer) reaction. In this reaction the immune system makes more inflammatory chemicals called cytokines that can make a person feel worse.) Take 1 500mg pill 1 to 3 times a day and work up to 3 pills 3 times a day. Start at the lowest dose of 1 pill daily and increase by 1 pill daily every few days. Do not increase if having a die-off reaction. Once the die-off reaction passes, continue to increase. 

 Drug Interactions:

      Use with care if you are taking blood pressure lowering medicines because OLE can lower blood pressure too. In addition, it decreases blood clotting by blocking platlets from sticking together. So you should use it with caution if you are on blood thinners.