With Cathy Schram

Olive Leaf Extract & Irritable Bowel (IBS)

Q: I use Olive Leaf Extract whenever I start to feel a cold coming on but I was wondering if it has any other health benefits?

A: Olive Leaf Extract (OLE) has some pretty amazing health benefits. The olive leaf is full of plant compounds called polyphenols,which have antioxidant properties, which are very beneficial to us. So, we get the benefits of olive oil without consuming high calorie fat. In addition to its use for the prevention of seasonal illnesses, it is becoming known as a multi-faceted product used for a variety of health concerns.

Oleuropein is found in the olive leaf and can help lower bad cholesterol and blood pressure. If you are taking blood pressure medication, it is important to talk to your doctor before taking this as it may lower your blood pressure even more.

Olive leaf also has anti-inflammatory effects, thereby helping with arthritis. It helps prevent the formation of arterial plaque, which can reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Oleuropein prevents the accumulation of uric acid, which causes gout. Studies have shown that by taking 500 mg of OLE daily, hemoglobin A1c levels in diabetics were reduced.

So, you can see, there are many reasons to take OLE.

Q: I have alternating bouts of diarrhea and constipation with occasional abdominal pain. My doctor says that I may have IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Is there anything natural I can take to help relieve my symptoms?

A: It is believed that 1 in 5 Americans suffer from IBS. The large intestine or colon isn’t functioning properly. Mucus and toxins build up in the digestive tract causing gas, nausea, vomiting, bloating and frequent bowel movements often accompanied by constipation and/or diarrhea. Stress is a big factor with IBS. Try to identify the stress in your life and eliminate it.

There are some herbs that can speed the healing process. Slippery Elm bark is a good remedy. It is a mucilaginous herb which pulls water into itself becoming slippery and thick. This pulling action draws congested toxins from the bowel. It then becomes bulky, helping to regulate elimination and its slippery consistency is very soothing to inflamed intestinal walls.

Aloe Vera is another plant which can help calm inflammation of the bowel. The juice also is a bulking laxative that can help normalize bowel function.

This herb information is for health education purposes only. It is not intended to replace the services of licensed health practitioners. Consult with a physician for any condition that requires professional care.

Do you have questions about herbs or vitamins? Send them to Cathy Schram, CNHP and Certified Herbalist. Write to: Herbs & More, 16021 Manchester Rd., Ellisville, MO 63011.