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8 forms of capital active hope agroecology agroforestry alder buckthorn Amazon anxiety apples arthritis back yard beans Bec Hellouin beech tree bees beneficial berries biochar biodigester biodiversity blackberries blackthorn book review brain brassica cage budget build building campesino capital card deck Celtic festivals change changes chemical-free chickens christmas circular clay pot cleansers cleansing milks climate change climate emergency climate grief climate solutions climbers climbing cob comfrey community compost compost teas connection consciousness conservation container cooking coppice coppicing cordial cosmology courgettes crafts crisis crop protection Cross Quarter Festival cultural emergence culture cut flowers cycles degraded design diary diversity DIY do it yourself dryland earth care Earth's energy ecoculture economics ecopoetry ecosystem ecosystem restoration camps ecosystems edges edible edible flowers education efficiency elder elderflowers elements elixir energy equinox ethics face mask fair shares Fairtrade farming feedback feminine ferns figs film firewood floristry flower essence flower garden flowers food food forest food garden footbath forage foraging forest garden forest gardening forests fruit fruit leather fruit trees fungi future future care gardening garlic gift economy gin Give Nature a voice Glennie Kindred global poverty glut grapes greenhouse grief groundcover grow grow food grow your own growing guilds habitat habits handcream harvest harvests hawthorn hazel hazelnut healing shrubs healing trees health healthy soil heart health hedgerow hedging herbal herbal remedies herbal teas herbalist herbs holistic holistic planned grazing home homeless homemade wine homestead hope Hugelkultur humanure hummus hungry gap IBC tanks Imbolc incense increase yields Indigenous inexpensive influence inspiration International Womens Day jam keyline kitchen garden lacto-fermentation Lammas land landscape landscapes life lifestyle limeflowers livelihood livestock living labs logs Looby Macnamara lotion low cost low-impact Lush Spring Prize macerations Mangwende Orphan Care Trust market garden market gardening marmalade marshmallow mass heater meadowsweet medicinal microbes microfarm Midwest Permaculture mimic mindset mitigation money Morag Gamble moringa Mother Earth mulch multifunctional mushrooms native plants natural natural building natural fertiliser natural skincare natural swimming pool nature nature connection nitrogen no dig no waste no-dig November nutrition nuts observe oca October off-grid oil cleansing orchard orchards organic organic flowers organic gardening outdoor shower oven oxymel oyster pallets pasture-fed patterns people people care peoplecare perennials permaculture permaculture design permaculture magazine award permaculutre permayouth pesto pests philippines pine tree pips pizza oven plant profile plants pollinators pollution polyculture polycultures preserving principles propagating protection pruning prunings psycho-spiritual awareness psychospiritual transformation rainforest rainwater raspberries recipe recipes reduce reed beds regeneration regenerative regenerative agriculture relative location relative matter remedy renewable renewable energy resources restoration reuse revolution rhythms rootstock rootstocks roundhouse roundwood runner beans sage salad salve Samhain schools Scotland scotts pine seasonal seasons seeds selfcare Sepp Holzer september septic tanks sewage treatment shade sheet mulching shrubs skincare sloes slugs small solutions small-scale smallholding social justice soil health solar solutions sowing spiritual spring squash stacking functions stock-free straw straw bale summer sustainable Sweet Bay syntropic systems temperate terraces thistles thrutopia timber timber framing tincture tonic toolkit tools transformation trees upcycle urban veg garden vegan veganic vermicomposting vinegar walnuts waste water water cleansing watering weeds wellbeing wetland wild edges wild food wild garlic wildflower wildlife wine recipes wings winter winter greens winter salads wood stove woodburner woodland woodland management woodlands worms yarrow year-round food yield young people youth zai pits zone 00 zoning

Topics

8 forms of capital active hope agroecology agroforestry alder buckthorn Amazon anxiety apples arthritis back yard beans Bec Hellouin beech tree bees beneficial berries biochar biodigester biodiversity blackberries blackthorn book review brain brassica cage budget build building campesino capital card deck Celtic festivals change changes chemical-free chickens christmas circular clay pot cleansers cleansing milks climate change climate emergency climate grief climate solutions climbers climbing cob comfrey community compost compost teas connection consciousness conservation container cooking coppice coppicing cordial cosmology courgettes crafts crisis crop protection Cross Quarter Festival cultural emergence culture cut flowers cycles degraded design diary diversity DIY do it yourself dryland earth care Earth's energy ecoculture economics ecopoetry ecosystem ecosystem restoration camps ecosystems edges edible edible flowers education efficiency elder elderflowers elements elixir energy equinox ethics face mask fair shares Fairtrade farming feedback feminine ferns figs film firewood floristry flower essence flower garden flowers food food forest food garden footbath forage foraging forest garden forest gardening forests fruit fruit leather fruit trees fungi future future care gardening garlic gift economy gin Give Nature a voice Glennie Kindred global poverty glut grapes greenhouse grief groundcover grow grow food grow your own growing guilds habitat habits handcream harvest harvests hawthorn hazel hazelnut healing shrubs healing trees health healthy soil heart health hedgerow hedging herbal herbal remedies herbal teas herbalist herbs holistic holistic planned grazing home homeless homemade wine homestead hope Hugelkultur humanure hummus hungry gap IBC tanks Imbolc incense increase yields Indigenous inexpensive influence inspiration International Womens Day jam keyline kitchen garden lacto-fermentation Lammas land landscape landscapes life lifestyle limeflowers livelihood livestock living labs logs Looby Macnamara lotion low cost low-impact Lush Spring Prize macerations Mangwende Orphan Care Trust market garden market gardening marmalade marshmallow mass heater meadowsweet medicinal microbes microfarm Midwest Permaculture mimic mindset mitigation money Morag Gamble moringa Mother Earth mulch multifunctional mushrooms native plants natural natural building natural fertiliser natural skincare natural swimming pool nature nature connection nitrogen no dig no waste no-dig November nutrition nuts observe oca October off-grid oil cleansing orchard orchards organic organic flowers organic gardening outdoor shower oven oxymel oyster pallets pasture-fed patterns people people care peoplecare perennials permaculture permaculture design permaculture magazine award permaculutre permayouth pesto pests philippines pine tree pips pizza oven plant profile plants pollinators pollution polyculture polycultures preserving principles propagating protection pruning prunings psycho-spiritual awareness psychospiritual transformation rainforest rainwater raspberries recipe recipes reduce reed beds regeneration regenerative regenerative agriculture relative location relative matter remedy renewable renewable energy resources restoration reuse revolution rhythms rootstock rootstocks roundhouse roundwood runner beans sage salad salve Samhain schools Scotland scotts pine seasonal seasons seeds selfcare Sepp Holzer september septic tanks sewage treatment shade sheet mulching shrubs skincare sloes slugs small solutions small-scale smallholding social justice soil health solar solutions sowing spiritual spring squash stacking functions stock-free straw straw bale summer sustainable Sweet Bay syntropic systems temperate terraces thistles thrutopia timber timber framing tincture tonic toolkit tools transformation trees upcycle urban veg garden vegan veganic vermicomposting vinegar walnuts waste water water cleansing watering weeds wellbeing wetland wild edges wild food wild garlic wildflower wildlife wine recipes wings winter winter greens winter salads wood stove woodburner woodland woodland management woodlands worms yarrow year-round food yield young people youth zai pits zone 00 zoning

Healing Trees and Shrubs: Olive

Olive
Olea europea 
Latin nameOlea europea L.
FamilyOleaceae

Habit Small tree
Hardiness USDA zone 8-10 | UK zone 8
Parts used Bark/fruits/leaves
Harvest time Leaves in August-October, fruits in December

An attractive small semi-hardy Mediterranean tree, with leaves and fruits offering cardiovascular and other benefits.

The European olive is a small evergreen tree growing slowly to 10m tall and 8m wide. The tree has an irregular and much-branched habit. Simple, opposite oval grey-green leathery leaves with silvery undersides and small whitish flowers are produced in terminal or axillary racemes followed by fruits.

Habitat/Origin 
Derives from the eastern Mediterranean coastal area, growing in dry woods and scrub, now commercially grown worldwide.

Herbal actions
Bark is astringent, bitter and febrifuge. Leaves are antioxidant, anti­hypertensive, diuretic, hypo­glycaemic, antifungal, antimicrobial, antiviral, astringent. Olive oil is cholagogue, demulcent, emollient and laxative.

Traditional use
Used extensively in the Mediterranean for many ailments, for example the oil as a laxative, the leaves and fruits for diarrhoea and infections of the respiratory and urinary tract, the bark in fevers.

Indications and research
Clinical research studies have shown benefits for glycaemic control and lipid profile in humans. Olive leaf extract, given as 500mg twice daily for eight weeks, has been shown to lower blood pressure as well as triglyceride levels in the blood. The phenolic constituents in olive leaves may also benefit other inflammatory conditions. Recent studies have also confirmed that the leaf extracts have powerful antifungal effects.

Active constituents
Olive leaves and fruits contain secoiridoids, flavonoids, phenolic acids, fatty acids, volatile oils. Some phenolic compounds are more concentrated in olive leaves and young unripe fruits. The oil consists mainly of oleic acid and linoleic acid.

Parts used
Bark, fruits, leaves

When to harvest
Olive leaves and unripe fruits can be harvested when young and used fresh or dried for later use. Olives are usually harvested later in autumn and then pressed for oil or preserved for culinary purposes. Young grey bark can be harvested when a tree is pruned.

Sample preparation and dosage
Infusion of dried leaves, daily dose of 1-2g.
Tincture of bark (1:4, 30% alcohol) 20 drops three times per day.
Olive oil as a laxative, dose 15-60ml.

Safety 
Get professional medical advice if on blood pressure or diabetes medications before taking olive leaf extracts.

Related plants
Many cultivars of olive are known, though both wild and cultivated species are reported to contain similar chemical constituents.
The cultivar ‘Cipressino’ is upright and compact.

Cultivation
The olive needs a sheltered site in colder climates, and a sunny south-facing wall is best. It can tolerate poor soil and prefers a well-drained site, ideally somewhat alkaline.
Can tolerate drought and salty air. Can be grown in a container with drainage improved using sharp sand. Pruning can be carried out in late spring pinching back some shoots to encourage new leafy growth.

Further uses
Edible fruits and oil. Oil used in ­making soap. Dyes can be obtained from the leaves and fruits. Use for erosion control on dry slopes.
Heavy wood for decorative objects and furniture.

Cautions
Scale insect may be a problem. Plants in the olive family are susceptible to ash dieback.

Recipe – Olive and mint leaf tea

1 tsp olive leaves dried
1 tsp mint dried
500ml water
Honey (optional)

Place the herbs in a teapot. Boil the water and add, stir and steep for 10 min. Strain and drink adding honey to taste. Take one cup once or twice daily for benefits for blood sugar and fat levels.

This is an extract from Anne Stobart’s Trees and Shrubs that Heal

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Further Resources

Watch

The Medicinal Forest Garden

Books

Trees and Shrubs that Heal
by Anne Stobart

The Medicinal Forest Garden
by Anne Stobart

Trees for Gardens, Orchards and Permaculture
by Martin Crawford

Articles

Healing Trees: Douglas Fir

Alder Buckthorn (Frangula alnus) and its Medicinal Benefits

Healing Shrubs: Raspberries

About the Author

Anne Stobart is a medical herbalist and herb grower based in Devon, UK.

She is the author of The Medicinal Forest Garden Handbook and runs various medicinal courses.