Gastritis is preponderantly characterized by inflammation of the lining epithelial layer and the chronic gastritis is considered as a pre-cancer lesion. For many centuries olive (Olea europaea) leaf has been used for its putative health potential, nonetheless, to date, the gastroprotective effects of olive leaves have not been studied yet. Hence, in this study we investigated whether olive leaf extract (OLE) could protect gastric mucosa against HCl/ethanol-induced gastric mucosal damage in rats. Hcl/ethanol administration caused significant damage to the gastric mucosa, as confirmed by gastric ulcer index and histological evaluation. However, this damage was largely prevented by pre-administering 20mg/kg omeprazole or 100mg/kg OLE. Interestingly, the damage was completely prevented by pre-administering 200 and 300mg/kg OLE. Moreover, OLE attenuated the inflammatory response by decreasing nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB), cycloxygenase-2 (COX-2) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) expressions, and down-regulating inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and interleukin-1β (IL-1β) in gastric mucosa. The gastroprotective mechanism of OLE involved the promotion of enzymatic and nonenzymatic molecules (superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase and glutathione reduced form), promoting nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) mRNA expression, halting lipid peroxidation and preventing the overproduction of nitric oxide. Together, our findings clearly demonstrated that OLE could prevent HCl/ethanol-induced gastritis by attenuating inflammation and oxidant/antioxidant imbalance. Indeed, OLE could potentially be useful as a natural therapy for gastritis.