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Amazing Olive Leaf!

June 28, 2017

Amazing Olive Leaf!

©2017 Greg Tilford

Virtually any credible herbalist will tell you, “there are no silver bullets; no panaceas.”   This is absolutely true— nothing cures everything, and there is not a single herb, drug or medical treatment that will help every individual, every time.  There is however a few herbs that reach closer to being a “fix-all” than most others, their medicinal values just waiting to be discovered.   At the top of my list of discoveries is the humble but very powerful olive leaf (Olea europaea); an herb that can quite literally transform a non-believer of botanical medicine into a devout follower.

For thousands of years humankind has realized the remarkable values of olive trees.  Their delicious and nourishing fruit, the sacred and curative oil contained within the pits, and perhaps most important of all, the strength and resiliency of the trees themselves.  Compared to most other types trees and neighboring flora, olive trees are remarkably resistant to drought, blight and marauding insects — so much so that olive trees are often seen flourishing amongst a virtual boneyard of weaker neighbors.  It’s no wonder that early healers picked up this plant and began to use it in pursuit of their own wellness.  Holistic herbalists, like myself and our ancestors, know that a medicinal plant isn’t merely a botanical resource from which certain chemistries can be extracted and exploited, but an integral part of a much grander design.  One which includes and requires participation of all who feed upon the fruit of a tree,  or rest in the shade of its branches. Watch the birds as they feed upon berries to ultimately plant seeds for future generations.  Observe the deer as they feed upon foliage while at the same aerating the soil with their hooves, and scattering droppings to build rich compost.  Check out the bacteria and fungi that transform fallen fruit and leaves into food for other plants.   Herbalism isn’t about replacing pharmaceutical drugs with natural alternatives, it’s about an awareness that all life is connected and that we must not just consume, but participate in the natural systems of our living planet.

Humans of course, are difficult students. After all we are relatively new to all of this— we’ve only been around for a couple million years.  Plus, we are endowed with an amazing, super developed brain that, as part of its uniqueness, has forced us away from the instinctive behaviors of animals.   We don’t fit here, unless of course we learn to.

Olive leaf brings the lessons to us.  By all accounts, early healers saw the natural resilience of Olea europaea as an indication of its medicinal capacity, and began using it for sore throat, infections of the skin and many other ailments.

Perhaps the first formal medical review of the plant came in 1854, when fellow named Daniel Hanbury reported to a Pharmaceutical Journal that olive leaf had demonstrated an ability to cure severe cases of fever and malaria.  Hanbury published a simple formula:  “Boil a handful of the leaves in a quart of water down to half of its original volume.  Then administer the liquid in the amount of a wineglass every three or four hours until the fever is cured.”  In his article Hanbury reported that he had discovered the herb in 1843, when he used it to successfully treat sick Britons who were returning from Her Majesty’s tropical colonies.   Olive leaf soon became well known as a very effective febrifuge remedy, and was seen as much more effective than quinine in treatment of malaria.  In 1962 Italian researchers recorded that one of several active components of olive leaf, oleuropein, could reduce blood pressure in both humans and animals, and it was soon established that oleuropein is strongly antibacterial and antifungal as well; two traits that help explain it’s remarkable resistance against various plant-killing pathogens.

By the mid 1900’s multiple studies had been published about the amazing healing capabilities of olive leaf, and in 1969, Upjohn; a major pharmaceutical manufacturer, went to work at develop what they envisioned to be a powerful antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal drug.  To accomplish this they focused their studies on what was already regarded as the most active component of olive leaf,  oleuropein, along with calcium elenolate, another compound that showed strong activity against various viruses, bacteria and pathogenic fungi.  The findings of Upjohn’s in vitro (test tube) studies were astounding.  Virtually every microbe that was inoculated in their studies was killed by even the weakest extracts of the herb.  Olive leaf was shown to be effective against dozens of pathogenic microbes, ranging from rabies, HIV, influenza and even polio, to several of the most drug resistant strains of bacteria and fungi.  Best of all, olive leaf and its derivatives exhibited almost no risk of toxicity.  But despite Upjohn’s amazing findings, their plans of developing a new super drug were ruined when they learned that oleuropein and elenolate didn’t work so well when used in vivo (inside a living body) unless the rest of the plant’s chemistry remained as part of the formula. It turned out that like all herbs, the “entourage effect” of multiple chemical components, including among others, caffeic acid, verbascoside, luteolin 7-O-glucoside, rutin, apigenin 7-O-glucoside, luteolin 4’-O-glucoside, maslinic acid, hydroxutyrosol and oleocantha all contribute to the wonders of this amazing botanical.  Hence the old herbalist’s saying, ”The whole plant is greater than the sum of its parts.”  Knowing that it would be virtually impossible to develop a patentable drug from a whole plant that lives in easy access to billions of people worldwide, Upjohn abandoned their studies, leaving their amazing findings to herbalists like me, who will always regard olive leaf extract as my number one “go to” in virtually any case of viral, bacterial or fungal infection.  Unlike conventional pharmaceuticals, olive leaf extract is virtually harmless.  And unlike many conventional antibiotics which are quickly becoming useless against deadly forms of drug-resistant bacteria, olive leaf offers a complex mix of antimicrobial compounds that even the most stubborn bacteria will have a very difficult time finding a foothold against.

Nature’s Variety issues raw diet recall

February 16, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

Nature’s Variety has initiated a voluntary recall of its Chicken Formula Raw Frozen Diet for dogs and cats with a “Best If Used By” date of 11/10/10 because the products may be contaminated with Salmonella. The products affected are limited to chicken medallions, patties and chubs.

The affected product was distributed through retail stores and internet sales in the US and in limited distribution in Canada.

No pet or human illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this lot code.

Stay posted for details, as they become available.

Genetically Modified Corn Causes Organ Damage

January 14, 2010

Virtually anyone who pursues an interest in natural health has heard of controversies surrounding genetically modified foods. Two of the big questions of this topic:   When the molecular structure of a food source has been altered through genetic manipulation, will the body still metabolize it the same way when consumed?  And, if not, what might be the consequences?

Well, a new study published in the International Journal of Biological Science strongly suggests that the consequences of eating or feeding genetically modified corn— a common ingredient of grain based pet foods— might be anything but good.

The study concludes that genetically modified maize can damage the liver and other internal organs in mammals.  Other effects were also noticed in the heart, adrenal glands, spleen and haematopoietic system
In the study, rats were fed three GM maize products (NK 603, MON 810, MON 863) found in food and feed around the world, for four and half months. Compared to the rats consuming non-GM feed, the GM-fed rats experienced adverse impacts to many organs but particularly the liver and kidneys.   “Our analysis highlights that the kidneys and liver are particularly important on which to focus such research as there was a clear negative impact on the function of these organs in rats consuming GM-maize varieties for just 90 days,” the researchers said.   Read more…

Milk Thistle Shown to Reduce Chemotherapy Related Liver Toxicity

December 15, 2009

Milk Thistle

A brand new study, funded by the American Institute for Cancer Research, the Tamarind Foundation, and the National Cancer Institute, has just been published that supports what most herbalists have known for quite sometime— milk thistle (Silybum marianum), helps to reduce liver toxicity in patients receiving chemotherapy. The study, which was published on December 14, 2009, also shows that milk thistle appears to have no antagonistic impact on chemotherapy drugs. To read more, click on this link: http://www.medpagetoday.com/HematologyOncology/Leukemia/17506

Greg Tilford talks about Herbs for Pets on “Welcome Home”

December 1, 2009

While at SuperZoo, the pet industry trade show in Las Vegas last September, I was interviewed for a segment of “Welcome Home”, a TV show which aired in November in the greater New York city/New England region.  In the video I talk about my work as a veterinary herbalist and introduce viewers to the Animal Essentials line of natural pet supplements and  principles of  holistic pet care.   You can check out the video right here— but if the buffering seems slow, I recommend that you link directly to YouTube  by clicking here.  Hope you like!     —GT

Rethinking Cancer

November 17, 2009

The “C” word. Many people dare not even think about it, fearful that the monster will someday awaken within them if they do. Someday it might come for our pets too, and if it does, our greatest weapons may be useless against its attack. To many, cancer is synonymous with “certain death”.   After all, it has no cure, and there is really nothing we can do but hope and pray that it doesn’t claim us or our loved ones. Right? Wrong!  There are actually many things that can be done to prevent cancer from striking your companion. Read more…

Natural Aids for Treating IBD

July 22, 2009

Here is a link to an excellent article from Veterinary Practice News on the subject of using complimentary therapies in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).  The article, written by Dr. Narda Robinson, DO, DVM, MS, FAAMA , identifies the potential of using various herbs, supplements, acupuncture  and raw foods in the management of IBD in dogs, cats and other animals…  http://www.veterinarypracticenews.com/vet-practice-news-columns/complementary-medicine/natural-aids-for-treating-ibd.aspx