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How Effective Is Olive Leaf for Herpes?

C.B. Fox
C.B. Fox

Though olive leaf appears to have some antiviral properties, there have not been any scientific studies conducted that prove it can effectively clear up an outbreak of herpes. As long as the herpes outbreak is not severe, this herbal treatment can be safely taken by most patients because herpes will clear up on its own even if the olive leaf is ineffective. It is important to keep in mind, however, that olive leaf has not been studied to examine how safe it is for human patients and proper dosing is currently unknown. While it is possible that olive leaf may decrease the length of time it takes to recover from an outbreak of herpes, this treatment will not cure the disease.

Extract from the olive leaf has been used as an herbal treatment for thousands of years. Scientific studies have confirmed that the leaves of the olive tree contain antioxidants, which can improve health, and antimicrobial properties that help the plant fight off infection from bacteria and viruses. It is believed that some of these antimicrobial properties can assist the human immune system as it clears up infections. Many people who use olive leaf for herpes take it for its antiviral properties and consider it to be effective. The treatment will never cure a patient of herpes, but, it may clear up the current infection and then cause the virus to go dormant again for a time.

Olive tree.
Olive tree.

The only way to know whether using olive leaf for herpes is effective is to conduct a trial in which the effects of olive leaf are compared against the effects of a placebo. These studies have not been conducted, though the herb has received some attention from the scientific community because the olive leaf's antimicrobial properties might allow it to fight off herpes and other hard-to-treat viral infections. Tested antiviral drugs are often prescribed for herpes outbreaks, especially if they are serious, though the majority of outbreaks will clear up on their own. Patients can try using olive leaf if the outbreak is minor and if a doctor agrees that this treatment would be safe.

A blister caused by herpes type 1.
A blister caused by herpes type 1.

There are some severe effects that can occur when taking olive leaf for herpes. The treatment can cause a condition known as die-off syndrome, which occurs as viruses die and are attacked by the patient's immune system. This syndrome can cause symptoms similar to those experienced with the flu, so patients may want to take this into account before deciding to take olive leaf for herpes. Other antiviral drugs may have milder side effects and have proven to be effective.

Discussion Comments


I believe olive leaf works for herpes, but it's not a cure. I also think that it may cause an initial outbreak as it kills the virus. I had a herpes breakout immediately after I started olive leaf. I think it was a detox reaction because I had not had a breakout for a while. After that, I haven't had another breakout but I continue to take the olive leaf.


@ZipLine-- Sometimes it takes a while for herbal supplements to work. One week is not really a long enough time. I suggest trying it for longer. Also, does the supplement specify potency? If the supplement doesn't have enough of the active ingredient in olive leaf that works as an antiviral, then it might not be effective.

I use olive leaf for herpes and it works great. I use it as a preventative measure. I start taking it as soon as I start feeling tingling in my skin. This is the first sign that I'm going to get blisters. If I take olive leaf right away, I can prevent the breakout. If it's too late and it has occurred, I still take olive leaf to shorten healing time. So olive leaf definitely works for herpes.


I've been taking olive leaf extract for the past week and I have not noticed any difference in my herpes symptoms.

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    • Olive tree.
      Olive tree.
    • A blister caused by herpes type 1.
      By: uwimages
      A blister caused by herpes type 1.
    • Olive leaves have antiviral properties, although its effect on herpes is unknown.
      Olive leaves have antiviral properties, although its effect on herpes is unknown.