Olive leaf tea. Have you tried it?
Olive leaf tea is a great replacement for green or black tea with zero caffeine and way more health benefits. And, if you have an olive tree in your garden, you have an endless free supply. A gently infused handful of fresh leaves tastes great and is very refreshing hot or iced, straight or blended.
Olive trees (Olea europea) are known as the tree of life and have a great place in a food forest and productive garden - food, medicine, oil, fuel...
Although olive trees are best grown in mediterranean climates, I have one growing here in my subtropical food forest. I placed it in the driest sunniest spot. It is now quite tall and strong. I knew it was marginal here for producing the fruit, which it has done very occasionally BUT this doesn't stop me from still harvesting extremely valuable products from this tree on a regular basis.
|My olive tree at the top of my subtropical food forest.|
Like pumpkins, most people just wait for the fruit and overlook all the amazing edible leaves (my favourite summer spinach). Same with the olive tree - the leaves are wonderful to make tea and olive leaf extract. Olive leaves are available all year on this beautiful evergreen tree.
Benefits of Olive Leaf Tea
Olive leaf tea has been brewed since the Ancient Egyptians and has great medicinal qualities. It is high in antioxidants and vitamin C - more than green tea! It provides all the benefits of olive leaf extract, but in a milder way. People regularly drink olive leaf tea to:
- relax and ease arthritic pain
- reduce bad cholesterol
- lower glucose levels
- lower blood pressure
- strengthen the cardiovascular system - a heart tonic
- stimulate the immune system
- help fight infections
(note: Avoid if you have low blood pressure, and check with your doc if you have diabetes since it lowers glucose levels)
How to Make Fresh Olive Leaf Tea
- Harvest healthy looking leaves from non-sprayed olive trees or ones away from busy roads.
- Gently infuse a handful of leaves for a few minutes, rather than boiling it. High heat destroys it's active ingredients. You can steep it longer to extract more benefits and really boost your system. You can blend it too with lemon honey or ginger for taste, but I like it straight.
- I use a coffee plunger, and sometimes just put leaves in the cup with the hot water. Super simple!
A few cups a day is a great tea for your well-being and for healing.
Note: Most places I researched said to dry the leaves - that's if you want to store it, however if you have a tree and can wander out to grab a couple of leaves each day, fresh is best. It is less oxidised, more potent and more subtle, mellow flavour.
Olives are slow growing, hardy and able to withstand extreme conditions. There are records of a 6000 year old olive tree growing in Lebanon. Olive branch has long been seen as a symbol of peace and it was seen as a life giving tree and revered. There are fossilised remains of an olive tree dated 37000BC . The first known plantation was on Crete around 3000BC - planted by the Minoan civilisation.
What else do you know about fresh olive leaf tea, or other ways to consume fresh olive leaves?
Happy tea making! Feel free to share this post.
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Labels: a good life, family, food, foraging, gardening, health, olives, permaculture, permaculture garden, recipes, simple living, simplify, wellbeing