The aqueous extract of the leaves of Olea europea and Olea lancea both inhibited Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) in vitro. A bioassay-directed fractionation resulted in the isolation of a strong ACE-inhibitor namely the secoiridoid 2-(3,4-dihydroxyphenyl)ethyl 4-formyl-3-(2-oxoethyl)-4E-hexenoate (oleacin)(IC50 = 26 myM). Five secoiridoid glucosides (oleuropein, ligstroside, excelsioside, oleoside 11-methyl ester, oleoside) isolated from Oleaceous plants showed no significant ACE-inhibition whereas, after enzymatic hydrolysis, the ACE-inhibition at 0.33 mg/ml was between 64% to 95%. Secoiridoids have not been described previously in the literature as inhibitors of ACE. Oleacin showed a low toxicity in the brine shrimp (Artemia salina) lethality test (LC50(24 h) = 969 ppm).