High blood pressure raises the chance that a person will experience a stroke, a heart attack or kidney problems. It is no wonder, then, that many people are interested in controlling hypertension. Side effects from antihypertensive drugs can be troublesome for some individuals, though, and they search for alternatives. Can you lower your blood pressure with olive leaf extract?
Is Olive Leaf Extract Safe?
Q. Olive leaf extract seems to lower high blood pressure and have antibacterial and antifungal qualities. Is it safe to take?
A. Preliminary research in animals and humans suggests that olive leaf extract may indeed lower blood pressure (Nutricion Hospitalaria, July 2015; Journal of Medicinal Food, May 2016). In one study, researchers found that olive leaf extract (500 mg twice daily) was as effective as the blood pressure drug captopril at usually prescribed doses (Phytomedicine, Feb. 15, 2011). There has not been much research overall on the pros and cons of this dietary supplement, however.
As a result, it’s a bit difficult to determine if there are safety problems. One case report suggests that olive leaf extract might cause irritability and other psychological side effects (New Zealand Medical Journal, Apr. 1, 2016). Since the patient in the report was also taking other products, we are not completely certain that the olive leaf extract was responsible.
Lowering Blood Pressure Naturally:
There are a number of natural approaches that can help control hypertension, however. Many clinical trials have shown that the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is effective for bringing blood pressure down (New England Journal of Medicine, April 17, 1997). The DASH diet emphasizes vegetables, fruit and low-fat dairy products and discourages excessive consumption of meats, processed foods, salt and sweets. If you would like more guidance on how to follow a DASH diet to control your blood pressure, you’ll find details in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies. You can also find information online at https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/resources/heart/hbp-dash-week-dash-html