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Olive trees (leaves, olives, bark and roots) contain 8 natural phytochemical components that are potent anti-microbial agents (ie. they kill germs). There are probably more than these 8. But so far, they are the total number of natural chemicals that scientists and medical laboratories have discovered: oleuropein, caffeic acid, verbascoside, luteolin 7-O-glucoside, rutin, apigenin 7-O-glucoside and luteolin 4’-O-glucoside, and maslinic acid.

Oleuropein was discovered by Merck Pharmaceuticals in 1969 which they tried to isolate from elenoic acid, a chemical found in the olive leaves as part of their quest to develop a natural anti-viral drug. Phase I testing (in test tubes) did kill the viruses. But phase II clinical trials failed. The reason the clincals failed was because the isolation and removal of oleuropein from the olive leaves made it an unstable chemical that then combined with blood serum proteins, rendering it totally ineffective. Most recently, University of Granada chemists discovered maslinic acid, a chemical found in both olive oil and olive leaves can slow down the spread of HIV virus by 80% from cell to cell.

The point Seagate is trying to make is that there are probably many more natural phytochemicals in the olive tree still to be discovered that work together to protect this plant from insects, viruses, bacteria, parasites, mold, fungus, and every other germ known to attack plants. These chemicals work together as a team to protect the olive tree, which has evolved over tens of thousands of years to be one of Nature’s heartiest plants. Most companies that sell olive leaf extract do not process their own raw material, nor do they have any idea about active phytonutrients, other than oleuropein, which they may list on their labels by its percentage indicating that this is the measure of strength and try and compare their level to other competing brands. Unfortunately these companies created this myth through misinformation about the real potency and purity of the valuable olive and its oleuropein content. Remember that in 1969 Merck found that isolating oleuropein from the olive leaf diminished its potency.

There is a big difference between a company that actually does its own farming, produces its own raw materials and processes them into the finished extract or other final products as compared to companies that whose only involvement in the production is in making their labels and shipping invoices. It takes a major investment in time, energy, knowledge and technical expertise, machinery, land, building people etc. to actually produce and process a raw material. It takes no effort to order up some product from a trading company or raw materials broker. In reality those companies are just glorified private labels that really have no idea of the origin, strength, and true components of their raw materials. When we became involved in the health food industry over 15 years ago, it was made up predominantly of small companies doing their own farming or herb gathering and making their best efforts to produce the highest quality products possible. Now, there are thousands of “health food manufacturers” mostly companies operating out of offices, having things labeled for them, who have really no idea of the veracity of the product packed in their bottles. Unfortunately, China has become the biggest supplier of raw materials to the U.S. health food industry … now you can guess what is going on here.

This brings us back to the oleuropein content claim in olive leaf extract. There is a major difference between companies that have no involvement in the production or harvest of their own products vs. those companies that have taken the time, $, and effort to try and do it right – and keep the balance and quality of phytochemicals provided in each plant by Nature … because when you really understand the quality and reasons for potency of these various raw materials, the lesson to be learned is that Nature made it right.