Olea Europaea L.: Facts and Myths Regarding Cardiovascular Health
Pp. 57-128 (72)
Daniela Ferreira, Diana C.G.A. Pinto, Artur M.S. Silva and Ana M.L. Seca
Olea europaea L. (Oleaceae), native of Mediterranean, Africa, south western
Asia, Himalayas and naturalized in many other places, is an evergreen tree, being its
main product, olive oil, one of the most typical component of the Mediterranean diet
which has been associated with lower incidence of cardiovascular diseases. Moreover,
Olea europaea extracts are used in traditional medicine worldwide to decrease the risk
of cardiovascular diseases. For example, hot water extract of the fresh leaves is taken
orally to treat hypertension.
The number of people dying from cardiovascular diseases has been increasing and
currently there is a huge trend to use natural products in the cardiovascular health. Thus,
the ethnopharmacological relevance of Olea europaea is presented and critically
discussed in this chapter, having in mind the scientific evidences that corroborate the
true value of this species (mainly based on published in vivo studies and clinical trials)
as an agent against cardiovascular diseases, and exposing the associated facts and
myths. A survey of the currently available Olea europaea medicinal products will be
highlighted, along with their potential adverse effects. In this way, it will be clearly
shown that Olea europaea extracts used in traditional medicine are coming to the
modern medicine, with their therapeutic effects scientifically validated.
Cardiovascular diseases, Clinical trials, Olive leaves extract,
Oleuropein, Olea europaea.
Department of Chemistry & Organic Chemistry, Natural Products and Food Stuffs (QOPNA), University of Aveiro, Campus de Santiago, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal.