Olive leaf comes from the same Mediterranean tree as olive oil. Just like the oil expressed from the fruit of this tree, the leaf is rich in nutrients, including a potent antioxidant called oleuropein. Because the structure of the whole leaf is left intact, its chemical composition is less processed and therefore uncompromised.
Whole olive leaf is typically used to prepare teas, infusions and liquid extracts.
The antioxidant value of olive oil, which is extracted from the fruit of the tree, is well established. Olive leaf also has antioxidant activity. In fact, the herb is known to contain more than 20 phenolic antioxidant compounds.
The olive tree is an evergreen in the Oleaceae family, a large group of flowering trees and shrubs that includes forsythia and lilac. Although this species is native to the warm Mediterranean climates of Greece, Italy and Spain, it is now naturalized in the Middle East, Bermuda, France, South Australia and some parts of California.