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A happy Santa means a happy holiday for all

By Staff | Dec 24, 2009

That is what the advertising flyer said so it must be true. Apparently, Santa has been struggling with immune challenges, probably from exposure to cold drafts (who would even think of riding in a convertible up-North in late December?), breathing copious quantities of soot, and eating platefuls of cookies , hand-crafted and plated by germy little fingers.

As Santa whizzes around the planet, he has apparently picked up some health tips from the Middle East.

Several years ago, some wonderful science emerged from Israel on the therapeutic uses of olive leaf but the history behind the plant goes all the way back to the Egyptians who believed that the olive leaf was a symbol of heavenly power. They used the extracted oils from the leaf in mummification rituals of their kings. In the late 1800s, researchers found a compound in the leaf that they named “oleuropein,” a compound that is still believed to be responsible for its therapeutic benefits. Oleorupein is a powerful antioxidant (we hear a lot about antioxidants, don’t we?) but it also plays a role as an anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombotic.

But where I think the olive leaf really shines is in its role fighting viruses, bacteria, yeasts, and fungi. Alongside the oleuropein is a substance called elenolic acid that inhibits the growth of viruses. Another form of elenolic acid, also found in olive leaf, is calcium elenolate that also inhibits the growth of bacteria and parasites. Writing in his book, Olive Leaf Extract, medical researcher Dr. Morton Walker writes that “olive leaf is destined to become the most useful, wide-spectrum anti-microbial herbal ingredient of the twenty-first century.”

My favorite olive leaf complex is actually a liquid that tastes pleasant. One teaspoon a day keeps the doctor away, or so they say (sorry, docs!). For those of us who deal with the sneezing, sniffing, coughing public, a daily dose is important.

Carol is a certified lifestyle educator at the offices of Dr. Alan Gruning in Fort Myers. She owns the Island Nutrition Center on Sanibel. She can be reached at 472-4499.