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Take a leaf from the books of ancient healers

Take a leaf from the books of ancient healers


Olive leaf complex packs more antioxidant punch than olive oil and Vitamin C

A new olive leaf product being launched in New Zealand, Comvita's Olive Leaf Complex, aims to blend the benefits of the world's oldest cultivated tree with modern extraction processes that use only fresh, natural olive leaves.

The leaves of the olive tree have long symbolised peace, plenty and vitality. They play a central role in Greek mythology and have adorned the heads of Olympic winners throughout time.

They have also been an essential part of the traditional healer's toolkit since the days of ancient Egypt - even earning a mention in the Bible.

Comvita aims to scientifically build on this tradition with its Olive Leaf Complex ­- a multi-use health supplement with mild astringent properties (helpful for the body's natural defences) and packed full of antioxidants that help

support heart health.

The complex contains up to 100 naturally occurring compounds - 12 of which are antioxidants. The most powerful of these are hydroxytyrosol, caffeic acid and oleuropein.

There are 30 times more health-giving antioxidants in Comvita's fresh Olive Leaf Complex than in extra virgin olive oils and it is 400 per cent more powerful than Vitamin C.

And fresh is definitely best. Scientific studies show that these compounds are more potent and easily bioavailable in olive leaf extracts made from fresh leaves than in reconstituted products.1-4

Antioxidants are substances that protect cells against the damage caused by free radicals - molecules that are produced when the body is exposed to poor diet, pollution, tobacco smoke or excessive sunlight. Free radical damage may be the starting point for many conditions.

Oleuropein is the most well-known and studied olive leaf antioxidant. It came to particular attention when researchers were looking at why the Mediterranean diet appeared to support heart health and the body's natural defences. As well as its antioxidant effect, some studies have shown that oleuropein may have a role in promoting relaxation of the arterial walls and supporting healthy blood pressure.

An Australian study is currently looking into the role olive leaf extracts may play in arterial health, while a recent US study showed benefits for supporting joint mobility.

Olive Leaf Complex is grown and produced near Brisbane by Olive Products Australia (OPA). Comvita recently bought OPA and intends to take its product to the world - starting in New Zealand.

After its launch in Australian stores four years ago, OPA's Olive Leaf Extract became one of that country's fastest growing health supplements. "Users are reporting great benefits such as more energy, support for active joint health, and recovery from winter ailments. Many people are using it as a general health tonic and finding it helpful," says Julian Archer, OPA's Business Development Manager and son of founder and former owner Ray Archer.

"Olive Leaf Complex contains compounds that are attracting more and more researchers to look into their effects on a range of conditions. Laboratory trials have shown many promising findings - and we will be looking for clinical trials to give us an even clearer picture of the place this complex will take in supporting overall health and wellbeing," says Dave Bathgate, General Manager Healthcare for Comvita.

Comvita Olive Leaf Complex will be available at selected pharmacy and health food stores from February 2008 and comes in two flavours - natural or peppermint. RRP 100ml $14.90 and 500ml $39.90.

References

1. Briante R et al. "Olea europaea L. leaf extract and derivatives: antioxidant

properties." 2002.

2. Benavente-Garcia O et al. "Antioxidant activity of phenolics extracted from Olea europaea L. leaves." 2000.

3. Pinelli, P. Quali-quantitative analysis and antioxidant activity of different polyphenolic extracts from Olea europaea L. leaves." Commodity Science 2000.

4. Le Tutour B et al. "Antioxidant activities of Olea europaea leaves and related phenolic compounds." 1992.

5. Bitler CM et al. "Olive extract supplement decreases pain and improves daily activities in adults with osteoarthritis and decreases plasma homocysteine in those with rheumatoid arthritis." Nutrition Research August 2007.

- Ends -

About Comvita

Comvita is an NZX-listed natural health company based in the Bay of Plenty. Backed by a proud 30-year heritage in therapeutic bee-based products, Comvita is the world's largest manufacturer and marketer of UMF Manuka honey. Comvita exports its growing range of innovative natural health products to more than 20 countries. It has subsidiary offices in the UK, Hong Kong, Australia, Japan and Taiwan. Comvita has experienced a 25 per cent year on year growth in sales and its revenue in 2006 totalled NZ$39.4 million. In 2006, Comvita was named New Zealand Trade & Enterprise Biotechnology Exporter of the Year and won the Supreme Trailblazer and People's Choice awards at the Westpac Sustainable Business Challenge.

ENDS

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