When hit by cold and flu we’re often faced with two options: 1. Soldier on and let it run its sniffly course or 2. Pop antibiotics like a disco-raving hippie.
If you choose the first, you may find yourself in spring wondering when your nose will stop running. And if you choose the second, it can be effective, ridding the body of bad bacteria or it can merely blanket the problem (and wipe out our good gut bacteria in the meantime).
Two weeks ago, red eyed and streaming, I found myself faced with choosing. Since I’d hung up my glow sticks quite some time ago, it was starting to look like it’d be a long winter. That was, until I received a care package containing a natural alternative: olive leaf extract.
Used for thousands of years as a medicinal remedy, olive leaf extract is a strong antimicrobial agent proven to support the immune system as well as prevent and relieve systems of coughs, fevers, cold and flu.
In fact, research conducted by Australian Southern Cross University found olive leaf extract to be the most powerful free-radical scavenging antioxidant of 55 medicinal herbs, with an antioxidant capacity five times more powerful than the equivalent amount of vitamin C and almost double that of green tea extract.¹
So what does this mean? According to naturopath and nutritional consultant, Stephen Eddey, “antioxidants act as ‘free-radical scavengers’, helping to quench free radical activity which are the cause of a weaker immune system and inflammation.”
So if you’re looking for a natural way to ward off the common cold, why not give it a try? It comes in all forms from capsules to drops, sprays and more. You can take it with an immunity mix such as Bioceuticals Armaforce, which contains andrographis, echinacea, olive leaf, vitamin C and zinc (and which my family swears by), or our personal favourite, mix the liquid form into a soothing, immunity-boosting tea. We’ve been brewing this one below and whether it’s the ginger, turmeric, Manuka honey, olive leaf… or just good old placebo, we’re certainly starting to feel better!
Juice of ½ fresh lemon
1 inch of ginger, peeled and crushed
1 tsp Manuka honey
15ml Fresh-Picked Olive Leaf Extract
½ tsp turmeric
Dash of cayenne pepper
Dash of cinnamon
Dr Stevenson, L,. et al. Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) Report on Olive Leaf Australia’s Olive Leaf Extracts, Laboratory Report, Southern Cross University, 2005.