It has been quite a long time since Comvita sent me out my lovely care package to review. I have been up to my eyeballs in all kinds of products and trying to get the right balance between reviews, recipes and some articles that I have been working on has proven to be tricky. I did however have a lot of fun sampling their products and using them in my own recipes. I was lucky enough to sample their Apple Cider Vinegar with Manuka Honey and what Comvita are calling ‘Winter’s best kept secret’ – Olive Leaf Extract.
So here we go, straight to the review!
Comvita Apple Cider Vinegar with Manuka Honey
Comvita’s Apple Cider Vinegar with Manuka Honey is a combination of their naturally fermented & unpasteurised apple cider vinegar (meaning that it includes the all important ‘mother’) made from sun ripened apples, and their New Zealand UMF 5+ Manuka Honey and bush honey.
Apple Cider Vinegar (80%)
New Zealand forest honey (15%)
UMF 5+ Manuka Honey (5%)
Nutritional Breakdown per 100ml:
Carbohydrates: 16.0g (of which 15.6g sugars)
So as you can see it is free from any artificial flavourings, colourings, preservatives or any other additives.
What are the benefits?
The benefits of unpasteurised apple cider vinegar are:
- Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid. Acetic acid has antimicrobial properties and can kill certain kinds of bacterias and prevent them from multiplying such as E.Coli.
- When diluted with water it can also help to clear acne when applied to the skin – this has certainly worked for me!
- It’s not exactly proven yet but it is thought that it could help with cardiovascular function and cancer.
- It helps to lower blood sugar and insulin levels which is great for people who suffer from Type 2 diabetes.
- Aids in weight loss by helping you feel full. Fantastic!
- It helps to eliminate toxins from the body which again helps to improve the condition of your skin.
The benefits of manuka honey are:
- As manuka honey is highly antibacterial it can help to improve immunity and prevent you from catching those nasty winter bugs and cold sores.
- It can aid your digestive system. It helps ease bloating, symptoms of IBS, stomach ulcers and indigestion.
- It is great for a quick burst of much needed energy.
- It can help heal skin ailments due to it’s antibacterial properties.
What does it taste like?
It tastes like apple flavoured vinegar, like a non alcoholic cider but with a hint of honey. It’s beautiful and I love it!
What can I do with it and how do I use it?
You can pretty much do whatever you like with this – be creative! Make a salad dressing, pour into your soups and stews at the end of the cooking process, you can even drink it as a tonic.
If you want to use it as a toner in your skin care regime then dilute 1 part apple cider vinegar to 3 parts water. However you may want to have a little play with it as it can be quite drying if you have sensitive skin. I sometimes add in some rosewater too.
To make a tonic start off on 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar in 1 cup of boiling hot water with a tbsp of raw honey and 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper. You can eventually work your way up to 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar and 1 tsp cayenne pepper. Drink this first thing in the morning to reap the benefits and last thing at night if you want to.
If you’d like a little bit of recipe inspiration then check out my Paleo Shredded Beet, Carrot and Ginger Salad recipe.
Where can I buy Comvita Apple Cider Vinegar with Manuka Honey from?
You can buy a 750ml bottle for £9.49 direct from Comvita. You will also find it in high street retailers such as Boots and Waitrose.
Comvita Olive Leaf Extract
Olive leaf extract is a natural immunity booster with 400% more of the antioxidant power of vitamin C and twice the antioxidant power of green tea. It totes all kinds of health benefits such as anti-tumour/cancer properties, anti-ageing, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and antibiotic. Phew! A lot of benefits as you can see!
So what’s so special about Comvita’s Olive Leaf Extract then?
Comvita have decades of experience working with Olea europaea (olive) trees; they use rich volcanic soils, organic fertilisers and rainwater to produce some of the healthiest trees in the world. Pretty impressive hey?
Comvita Olive Leaf Extract is made from olive leaves that have been harvested at sunrise to ensure that the freshest and most suitable foliage is used. It is then rushed to the Comvita GMP-certified facility in rural Queensland, Australia in order to prevent any further deterioration. At the facility it undergoes various extraction and purification processes before being protected from heat, light, oxygen and any other contaminants. This extra protection ensures that the vital active compounds; oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol, caffeic acid, tyrosol (and many others) are kept at their optimum state to increase their maximum effectiveness when administered.
This is all done before the following morning to ensure the least amount of polyphenol loss and that the polyphenic components are kept intact.
So what are the benefits of olive leaf extract then?
There are so many benefits that I could write a whole article on them. I will however try to keep it as simple as possible and write you a little bullet point list. I will focus mainly on the compounds oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol.
- Oleuropein totes anti-viral properties which can help treat herpes and even HIV. It is also anti-fungal which aids in the fight against yeast and fungal infections.
- Oleuropein can help with skin conditions such as psoriasis which could be because it improves cardiovascular function too. It has been proven to help prevent cardiac arrhythmia and lower blood pressure. It has also been proven to help fight chronic fatigue due to it’s immunity boosting properties.
- The two phytochemicals oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol contained in olive leaf extract can slow down the oxidation process of free radicals via antioxidation. Free radicals basically are very reactive and will cause cell damage when they become oxidised. (Hence the ‘antioxidant’ will do the opposite!)
- Olive leaf extract can help ‘detoxify’ the body when it is under a great deal of stress.
- Hydroxytyrosol is boasted as ‘the most powerful natural antioxidant in the world’. Why? Because it is the only polyphenol that is capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier. This means that it can absorb free radicals throughout the entire central nervous system. It is also fat and water soluble meaning that it also has the highest bioavailability of all antioxidants.
This all sounds great! When should I take olive leaf extract?
Olive leaf extract should be taken daily to help prevent illness and also to help recover from illness too. When I received the Comvita Olive Leaf Extract I was actually ill with a virus and it helped me recover fairly rapidly. I stayed at a ‘light’ level of being ill for about a week and then I was fine. It definitely took the brunt of whatever I was suffering from. I took it twice daily at 5ml for 10 days. There is 22mg of oleuropein in 5 ml of Comvita Olive Leaf Extract. You can take 2-3 doses so up to 15ml a day.
I honestly felt a lovely boost of energy and my skin started to improve and get a bit of a glow to it. As I actually suffer from an auto-immune disease I would love to do a longer trial of this product and see if this would help improve it somewhat. Especially as we are now falling into the winter months – I will definitely have to buy myself some!
What does olive leaf extract taste like?
Although 2 other flavours were offered to me I took the natural flavour. I wanted to be able to use this in my food. If you do use it in your food do not heat it!
I am not going to lie to you. It doesn’t taste nice. At first there is a very strong sweetness but this is then overpowered by an incredibly strong bitterness. This is due to the oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol content. The bitterness is very alike to olive oil, except… well… more concentrated! There is a definite aftertaste and a slight ‘burn’ almost in the back of your throat, but more like you’ve got a bit of a lump stuck there. This doesn’t last long so don’t worry!
I did find that it made a fab little salad dressing when I combined it with the apple cider vinegar that Comvita sent me. This made it much more palatable and I was still getting it down me the same way. Most days though I just necked it straight. You do start to get accustomed to the taste much like anything else and it becomes part of your daily routine. I just made sure that I drank a full glass of water after.
Here is a simple little salad dressing that I knocked up using both the apple cider vinegar and olive leaf extract:
Preparation Time: 3 minutes
5ml Comvita Olive Leaf Extract – Natural
3 tbsp Comvita Apple Cider Vinegar with Manuka Honey
1/2 tbsp raw honey
1 garlic clove minced
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
A generous pinch of Himalayan pink salt
- Mince your garlic, mix in the salt, honey and lemon juice.
- Add your olive leaf extract and stir until a nice smooth paste.
- Finally add your apple cider vinegar and olive oil.
- Stir thoroughly and if you have a little bottle to keep it in give it a good shake!
- Serve over your favourite salad, tinned tuna or even scrambled eggs!
Who can take Comvita Olive Leaf Extract?
Comvita Olive Leaf Extract is suitable for all of the family – well almost – children over the age of 2 may take this. Although I couldn’t find any contraindications if you are pregnant or breastfeeding then please consult your doctor before you consider taking Comvita Olive Leaf Extract. Again if you are on any medication or suffer from any particular long term health problem please consult your doctor.
So, is Comvita Olive Leaf Extract Paleo?
Let’s look at the ingredients per 15ml dosage:
Vegetable glycerol (bulking agent), Olea europaea (olive) leaf extract (water, olive leaf solids) equivalent to 15g fresh leaf (5g fresh leaf per 5ml dosage)
I can hear you now “glycerol?!!!”. Yes it contains vegetable glycerol – now this may not be as bad as you first thought. It certainly isn’t as bad as say alcohol or polysorbate 80. While it is a sugar alcohol it is not a synthesised one and is derived from vegetable fats – this makes it suitable for Vegans. Sugar alcohols are present in natural foodstuffs and are low GI carbohydrates.
Sugar alcohols are similar to both sugar and alcohol molecules and so this is where their name is derived from. They are known as polyols which are essentially carbohydrates. They don’t cause any tooth cavities (although it can prevent teeth from remineralising), they have very minimal effect on insulin production and will not cause a spike in blood sugar – good news if you are diabetic. However, if you suffer from IBS you may want to stay clear as this can exacerbate the problem further due to fermentation caused by your colonic bacteria – yummy hey.
Is it Paleo? Well no, not really as it has been processed however it is incredibly Paleo friendly and I wouldn’t worry too much about consuming it. It’s no worse than having some blackstrap molasses and certainly the benefits of the olive leaf extract outweigh the vegetable glycerol content – it would however be your choice. If you’re using toothpaste with vegetable glycerin in I certainly wouldn’t blink an eyelid!
The glycerol in Comvita Olive Leaf Extract is derived from Palm Oil. This is from a sustainable source via a company registered to the organisation called the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil, also known as the RSPO. It is not sourced from Borneo or Sumatra.
If you’d like to know more about Comvita’s Quality Certifications and Ingredient Performance Marks click here.
Will I suffer from any side effects?
It is not likely no. I did not notice any side effects myself but as part of the detoxification process headaches and slight flu like symptoms may occur. However as I mentioned before there is a slight chance that it could cause some mild diarrhea or exacerbate existing IBS.
Where can I buy this wonderful elixr?!
You can buy Comvita Olive Leaf Extract directly from the Comvita website here. You will also find it in high street retailers such as Boots and Waitrose.
Comvita Olive Leaf Extract is available in Natural, Mixed Berry, and Peppermint flavour. A Children’s Olive Leaf Extract is also available.
It is available in 3 different sizes:
100ml, 200ml, and 500ml. The 100ml bottle is £8.99, 500ml is £22.99, the 200ml bottle however is currently on offer for £9.99! Bargain!
If you’d like to follow Comvita UK online then check out the links below:
DISCLAIMER: Please note that I am not a qualified health professional nor a qualified nutritionist (nor chemist). All information has been gathered by myself from various resources. Always clarify the content you read for yourself!