Effects of the olive-derived polyphenol oleuropein on human health

Barbara Barbaro, Gabriele Toietta, Roberta Maggio, Mario Arciello, Mirko Tarocchi, Andrea Galli, Clara Balsano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The use of the products derived from the olive tree on human health dates back centuries. In several civilizations, the olive tree had and still has a very strong cultural and religious symbolism. Notably, the official seal and emblem of the World Health Organization features the rod of Asclepius over a world map surrounded by olive tree branches, chosen as a symbol of peace and health. Recently, accumulating experimental, clinical and epidemiological data have provided support to the traditional beliefs of the beneficial effect provided by olive derivates. In particular, the polyphenols present in olive leaves, olives, virgin (unrefined) olive oil and olive mill waste are potent antioxidant and radical scavengers with anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory properties. Here, we review the positive impact on human health of oleuropein, the most prevalent polyphenol present in olives. In addition, we provide data collected in our laboratory on the role of oleuropein in counteracting lipid accumulation in a mouse model of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18508-18524
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 14 2014


  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anticancer
  • Antioxidant
  • Mediterranean diet
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Oleuropein
  • Olive
  • Polyphenols

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Computer Science Applications


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