What Are the Most Common Olive Leaf Side Effects?

The die-off effect from using olive leaf can result in headaches.
An olive tree.
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  • Written By: Dee S.
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 15 August 2014
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Olive leaf has been promoted by homeopathic remedy practitioner to treat a wide range of ailments because it is believed to act strongly against illness-causing bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and retroviruses. Olive leaf side effects may include flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue, muscle aches, headaches, and diarrhea. Most practitioners believe that these side effects are simply the body’s way of detoxifying itself, however, and that olive leaf is safe, if used properly.

Users often complain that one of the main side effects of olive leaf is the die-off effect, also called a Herxheimer reaction. A Herxheimer reaction occurs when a large number of toxins are suddenly released into the body, typically because the bacteria have been killed or “die-off” due to the use of a substance, such as olive leaf, or a drug, such as antibiotics. Generally, when the bacteria die and release their toxins, the body cannot work fast enough to remove them. As a result, people may feel flu-like symptoms or other ailments, such as fever, headaches, muscle pains, and chills.

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Most practitioners claim that the symptoms of a Herxheimer reaction should not be considered side effects, but a detoxification process. The severity and duration of the symptoms vary from individual to individual. Some people experience severe effects, others may not experience any symptoms of the detoxification process at all. Typically, the more severe the infection is inside the body, the longer the detoxification process will take. If the process takes a few days, the individual will feel the symptoms for several days as well.

In most cases, homeopathic medicine practitioners may be able to help an individual reduce the severity of the olive leaf side effects. For example, she may recommend that the individual stop using the remedy for a short time or she may reduce the dosage. As a result, the practitioner may hope that the body will process the toxins and then lessen the symptoms. After the individual feels better, she may be encouraged to resume or increase the dosage. Occasionally, a practitioner may recommend vitamin C tablets for people who have an exceptionally strong die-off reaction.

A few studies have been done on olive leaf, but there were no reported side effects. As with any herbal remedy, an experienced practitioner or medical provider should be consulted before using this remedy. In addition, it is best to follow dosage instructions, even if higher doses do not lead adverse reactions.

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Discuss this Article

anon956780
Post 5

I've used it for a year now to control herpes and it does a great job when coupled with a healthier lifestyle. I take a multi, zinc, OLE (1800 mg's per day), Vit C (3000mg per day in three doses), Vitamin E (1000 mg per day at bedtime). I had no die off but I did notice when I first started taking it, my outbreaks were reduced greatly and now are under control. I think I've had one very minor outbreak in six months, and that's because I exhausted myself and didn't get enough rest.

My wife is taking it for diabetes, just started, and her A1C was 8.2, Once we get three months of once daily use, we'll check her A1C again to see if it has dropped. I have noticed her fasting levels are lower and also her evening levels are dropping closer to normal. It has the added benefit of giving her more energy also, because her body is so used to those high sugar levels, when it drops back close to normal, she's very lethargic.

anon344817
Post 4

I tried the 1000mg a day thing and though I admit it does take away some of my disease's symptoms like diarrhea, it also makes me go to the bathroom too much and I feel confused and also depressed. In my opinion I think these are side effects and everything can be toxic at a high dose -- even olive leaf.

candyquilt
Post 3

@simrin-- 1000mg per day is too much I think. I only take 250mg per day and I have not had any side effects, nor detoxification symptoms.

I think you should reduce your dose or maybe take it only a few days a week, rather than every day.

By the way, are you taking just olive leaf extract or are there other extracts and ingredients in it? I try to stick to pure olive leaf supplements because otherwise, it becomes difficult to know which ingredient is causing which side effect.

bluedolphin
Post 2

I don't know why these side effects of olive leaf are not reported very much but olive leaf in higher doses affects both blood sugar and blood pressure.

In some people it lowers them and in others, it raises them. So those with diabetes, hypoglycemia and low or high blood pressure need to be careful and monitor themselves while on olive leaf.

For example, I have diabetes and olive leaf lowers my blood sugar and my mom has high blood pressure, and in her case, it raises her blood pressure a little bit.

SteamLouis
Post 1

I've been experiencing the "die-off" effect of olive leaf for the past few days. I started taking olive leaf extract supplements (500mg, twice a day) and the fatigue and body aches started soon after.

I realize that this is normal, but I've been unable to do much for these past few days. When will this effect go away?

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