phytochemicals Phytochemicals

More plants with phytochemicals



Olea europaea

What is olive?

The olive tree is an irregular shaped tree, which grows up to 10 m in height. The olive leaves are opposite and oblong shaped. The leaves are dark green above and silvery below. The white and rather small olive flowers are formed on last year's wood. The typical fruits or olives are ovoid shaped and often pointed.

Parts used

Dried leaves, olive oil and fruits (olives).


These are typical phytochemicals found in olive: the olive leaves contain many phytochemicals including oleuropein, ligustroside, oleacein, flavonoids and triterpenoids. the olive fruit and olive oil contains the antioxidants phytochemicals hydroxytyrosol and oleuropein., .

Benefits of olive

The olive leaves are antihypertensive, diuretic, astringent and antiseptic. Tea made from olive leaves is used to reduce fevers. The olive oil is a nourishing demulcent and laxative. Olive oil is uded externally to treat burns and insect stings.


Olive leaves contain oleuropein, which lowers blood pressure by increasing coronary blood flow. Studies on rodents have shown that oleuropein reduced the infarct size and reduced blood lipids. Oleuropein also helps to prevent the oxidation of high-density lipoproteins. A Spanish study concluded that a moderate consumption of olive oil may reduce systolic blood pressure of healthy men who do not typically consume a Mediterranean diet.


Studies have shown that olive phenolics are powerful antioxidants and could partially account for the observed health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. The main phytochemicals for this antioxidant action are hydroxytyrosol and oleuropein. Oleuropein may inhibit hyperglycemia and oxidative stress induced by diabetes. The intake of oleuropein may help in the prevention of diabetic complications associated with oxidative stress.


In-vitro studies have shown that oleuropein is non-toxic antioxidant with potent anti-tumor effects. Epidemiological data shows that the Mediterranean people who consume a lot of olive oil have low cancer rates.

Other facts

The olive tree is native to the coastal areas of the eastern Mediterranean region. Today, olives are grown in many regions of the world such as South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, The Mediterranean, North Africa and California. The raw olives are very bitter and inedible and must be first treated by steeping in water. Olives can be harvested when still unripe (green olives) or when fully ripe (black olives). Ripe olives are pressed to obtain the well known olive oil. Virgin olive oil has a greenish tint and is the result of the first pressing. Sometimes the olives are left to ferment to obtain a higher yield olive oil.

Other names

Olea, olivier

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