Is Emu Oil Effective for Treating Osteoarthritic Hand Pain?

Is Emu Oil Effective for Treating Osteoarthritic Hand Pain?

Is Emu Oil Effective for Treating Osteoarthritic Hand Pain?

As early as 1860, Bennett, a London academic, reported that aborigines and early settlers used emu oil to heal wounds, reduce pain and relieve various muscular disorders. Since that time there has been much anecdotal evidence claiming benefits from treating with emu oil. One of these claims is that emu oil is effective in reducing the symptoms of arthritis.

A recent research study conducted by Victoria University performed tests to establish the effect of emu oil applied topically or ingested, on tenderness and pain for people with osteoarthritic hands.

We’ve broken down the long research paper and we explain how they tested the effectiveness of emu oil for treating osteoarthritic hand pain, and the results of their studies…


How it was tested

A double-blinded, placebo-controlled design was used to compare the effects of emu oil, with 120 participants between the ages of 47 and 87 that suffered with hand osteoarthritis trialing the use of emu oil (applied topically or ingested) to test the scale of pain over a period of 8 weeks.

Half of the participants used Emu Spirit 100% Pure Oil of Emu daily, either applied topically by massaging it onto their hands, ingesting the oil, or a combination or both.

The other half of the participants received a placebo of Canola Oil to test with.



At the end of the study (week 8), pain scores were recorded to be significantly lower in the emu oil users, compared with the placebo oil users. The treatment effect was medium to large, meaning they experienced a significant gradual reduction of pain in their hands throughout the study. From week 4 onwards the pain scores reported by emu oil users progressively reduced whereas the placebo oil users’ pain scores fluctuated over time. 



These results suggest that emu oil may be useful in the management of pain in people with osteoarthritis of the hands. Improvements might not be observed for the first 3 weeks of treatment, but may come into effect after 4 weeks of use.

It is likely that the positive effect that emu oil has on reducing pain in hand osteoarthritis is due to its anti-inflammatory qualities. If this is true then it is probable that emu oil is more effective on osteoarthritis sufferers that have more extensive joint inflammation.

There are no adverse side effects have been reported with emu oil use, therefore it has the potential to be effective in treating osteoarthritis in humans.  

In conclusion, the study suggested that emu oil, consistently ingested or topically applied may be effective in reducing pain in osteoarthritis sufferers after 3 weeks.


Ray Power B.Sc (Clin.Sc)
Melainie Cameron B.App.Sc (Ost), M.H.Sc (Research), Victoria University

Emu Spirit is proud to be the emu oil supplier for this research project. All participants used Emu Spirit 100% Pure Oil of Emu throughout the 8 week study.

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