Ecological and Health Benefits of Russian Olive Trees | House of Beautiful Gardens
Ecological and Health Benefits of Russian Olive Trees

Ecological and Health Benefits of Russian Olive Trees

Native to Western Asia, Russian Olive (Elaeagnus Augustifolia) is one of the hardiest ornamental trees out there. This hardy, deciduous plant is primarily selected for landscaping in areas where other ornamental trees and shrubs struggle to grow. Russian Olives are both frost and drought resistant, making them the ideal landscaping plant in dry and hilly areas. In summer, these trees look magnificent with their silver-grey foliage, fragrant flowers with a subtle honey aroma and the sweet berry-like fruits that can be eaten raw or used in preserves.

Ecological Benefits of Russian Olives

Russian Olives naturally grow in riparian regions and are widespread in flood plains and river banks. However, these trees can adapt to any kind of soil (even with varying degrees of salinity) and have thus been chosen as landscaping trees along highways and ornamental shrubs for increasing tree cover in urban neighborhoods. Russian Olives are also effective in improving soil erosion in large open spaces and the nitrogen-fixing ability of the Russian Olive tree makes it a good companion tree to improve the yield of surrounding trees and crops.

Did you know that at least 50 species of mammals and birds depend on the fruits of the Russian Olive tree for essential nutrients?  In particular, the leaves of the tree are rich in micronutrients and antioxidants. 

Medicinal Benefits of the Russian Olives

The Russian Olive tree is rich in flavonoids, alkaloids, water, and fat-soluble vitamins, as well as carbohydrates and biologically active lipids. This is why Russian Olive extracts have been frequently used in traditional herbal medicine, and why its scope in modern medicine is being widely researched.

Let's look at some of the health benefits of this hardy, deciduous tree.

Traditional Remedies

Russian Olive extracts have been valued in traditional medicine as a substitute for anti-inflammatory drugs and analgesics and were used as anti-ulcer agents to treat wounds and gastric disorders. In Turkish folklore, the fruits were also used to treat kidney disorders and as an anti-diarrhea agent. The fruit decoction was promoted as a good treatment for jaundice, fever, tetanus, and rheumatoid arthritis by Iranian apothecaries.

Modern Medicine

1. Reduces inflammation

A recent study showed that Russian Olive fruit extracts helped to significantly decrease pain and inflammation in women suffering from knee osteoarthritis. 

2.  Treats wounds 

Russian Olive fruit extracts have also been proven to accelerate wound healing and closure. The Vitamin A in the fruit extracts boost epidermis regeneration and reduces inflammation and pain.

3.  Muscle relaxant

Numerous studies have reported on the muscle relaxant properties of Russian Olive leaf and fruit extracts. These studies showed that the muscle relaxing effects of the aqueous and ethanol extracts were similar to diazepam in controlled doses.

4. Powerful antioxidant

The leaves and flowers of the Russian Olive tree contain flavonoid compounds, a powerful antioxidant element that has been shown to reduce oxidative stress as well as the risk of degenerative diseases.

Final Thoughts

Russian Olive trees are valued by landscapers for its silvery-gray leaves and perfumed flowers.   Its widespread use in traditional herbal medicine is certainly steering interest in this plant's scope in modern medicine. 

Russian Olive trees are now available!


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