Emu oil, consistently ingested or topically applied may be effective in reducing pain in osteoarthritis sufferers after 3 weeks. Topical applications of emu oil may be a more effective treatment for osteoarthritis when combined with other products such as glucosamine and capsaicin.

Extract from a research on “Emu oil for osteoarthritic hand pain” using Emu Spirit’s Oil of Emu by Ray Power B.Sc (Clin.Sc), Melainie Cameron B.App.Sc (Ost), M.H.Sc (Research), Victoria University

A combination of emu oil with a suitable transdermal transporter is found to show anti-inflammatory (anti-rheumatic) activity in various rat models. “The most potent formulation was achieved when methyl salicylate (wintergreen oil), isopropanol and menthol (from oil of peppermint) were combined with emu oil. The experimental studies showed that a synergistic effect was occurring between the emu oil and the methyl salicylate, for the anti-inflammatory activity of the combination was greater than the sum of either component when used alone (with isopropanol).

Reference: Experimental study to determine the anti-arthritic activity of a new emu oil formulation (EMMP) by Peter Ghosh and Dr. Michael Whitehouse (1993)

Dr. Thom Leahey of Arthritis Clinic Ardmore Oklahoma found that emu oil may substantially reduce the pain caused by arthritis. In a two week, double blind, placebo controlled study of arthritis patients, 7 of 12 reported significant reduction of pain, swelling and morning stiffness compared to one of eight mineral oil (placebo) users.

Reference: Getting a Grip on Pain: Documenting the Facts on Emu Oil and Arthritis, Dr. Thom Leahey


“An emu oil preparation was shown to have anti-inflammatory activity equal to or greater than ibuprofen”

Victoria University Research, 2004 

The ‘oil’ obtained from emu fat can be a very effective inhibitor of chronic inflammation in rats when applied dermally (with a skin penetration enhancer). It also indicates that different emu oils vary in their ability to suppress arthritic symptoms and that a chemical test for biological activity is needed rather than continuing to use the rat model.

Reference: Emu Oil: A Source of Nontoxic Transdermal Anti-Inflammatory Agents In Aboriginal Medicine by Michael W. Whitehouse & Athol G. Turner, Dept. of Medicine, University of Queensland, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane Qld 4102, Australia, and Dept. of Biological Sciences, Sydney, Institute of Technology, Ultimo NSW 2007, Australia

A research conducted by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, Australian Government shows that emu oil has an effect on inflammation in human cells. The suppression of these pro-inflammatory cytokines is consistent with a study using a mouse model of inflammation, which reported a decrease in both IL-1α and TNF-α following topical application of emu oil (Yoganathan et al. 2003). Yoganathan and colleagues also reported that the decrease in these pro-inflammatory cytokines was associated with a decrease in inflammation. In addition, different preparations of emu oil were found to vary in their anti-inflammatory activity against adjuvant-induced arthritis in rats (Snowden & Whitehouse 1997; Whitehouse et al. 1998).

Reference: Anti-inflammatory Efficacy of Emu Oil Refinement of an in vitro assay by Dr Christine A Lunam, Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, Australian Government.

Cholesterol Level

In some American research into the effects of Emu Oil on Cholesterol, hamsters were fed a chow-based diets containing either 10% coconut oil or emu oil, both with 0.05% cholesterol for 4 weeks. Compared to coconut oil, hamsters fed emu oil had 25% lower levels of plasma non-HDL cholesterol (Non-HDL-C) and a 27% increase in HDL-C (p<0.05).

Reference: Effect of dietary oils on non-HDL-C in hypocholesterolemic hamsters. Biological Activity of Emu Oil. Robert Nicolosi, Subbiah Yoganathan, Thomas Wilson, Hajime Sasaki, Frank Orthoefer. University of Massachusetts of Lowell, The Forsythe Institute. Presented at 2001 American Oil Chemist Society Conference

Hair Growth

There was about a 20% increase in DNA synthesis, which means that there was a 20% increase in the proliferative activity, or the growth activity of the skin that received (a processed emu oil), compared to the animals that received corn oil.

Reference: A study looking at factors that stimulate and inhibit skin and hair growth using emu oil and corn oil by Dr. Michael Holick, M.D, Ph.D., Professor of Medicine, Physiology, and Dermatology at Boston University School of Medicine.

Burn Wounds

Emu oil has been reported to have significant anti-inflammatory effects, and has been used both in cosmetics and therapeutic vehicles. This experiment was conducted to evaluate emu oil as a lubricant and an aid in reducing scar formation in healed burned wounds.

Reference: Evaluation of Emu oil in Lubrication and Treatment of Healed Burn Wounds. Accredited authors were M. Penturf, Ph.D., RD; S.O’Banion, RPH; and, J. Griswold, MD.( American Burn Association meeting. March, 1998)

Emu oil is also used to treat burns and other wounds, helping to reduce inflammation. Researchers from the Southern Medical University of China discovered that topical applications of emu oil could reduce inflammation in scald wounds. The results were promising; emu oil was found effective when applied 1-3 days after the injury.

Research: the Southern Medical University of China

Damaged Intestine after Chemotherapy

In 2010, a group of Adelaide University researchers, led by Professor Gordon Howarth, revealed that Emu Oil was able to reduce inflammation of the intestine in an experimental model of mucositis induced by the commonly-prescribed chemotherapy drug, 5-Fluorouracil.

Subsequently, further research conducted by Dr. Suzanne Mashtoub at Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital Gastroenterology Department, revealed that Emu Oil was able to promote repair of the damaged intestine after chemotherapy. This research supports a potential role for Emu Oil in cancer treatment.

Reference: Emu Oil Reduces Small Intestinal Inflammation in the Absence of Clinical Improvement in a Rat Model of Indomethacin-Induced Enteropathy and Emu Oil Expedites Small Intestinal Repair Following 5-Fluorouracil-Induced Mucositis in Rats by SM Abimosleh, CD Tran and GS Howarth.

Moisturising and Cosmetic Properties

Emu oil in comparison to mineral oil was found overall to be superior and had better skin penetration/permeability. Furthermore, it appears that emu oil in comparison to mineral oil has better moisturising properties and superior texture. The nourishing effect is better and above all, it doesn’t clog the pores. Emu oil doesn’t irritate the skin and penetrates quickly through all the skin layers.

Reference: Moisturizing and Cosmetic Properties of Emu Oil: A Double Blind Study. Dr. Alexander Zemtsov, Indiana University School of Medicine; Dr. Monica Gaddis, Ball Memorial Hospital; Dr. Victor Montalvo-Lugo, Ball Memorial Hospital.

Fatty Acid Analysis of Emu Oil

Analysis of fatty acids in emu oil reveals that it contains approximately 70% unsaturated fatty acids. The major fatty acid found in emu oil is oleic acid, which is mono- unsaturated and which comprises over 40% of the total fatty acid contents. Emu oil also contains both of the two essential fatty acids (EFA’s) which are important to human health: 20% linoleic, and 1-2% alpha-linolenic acid.

Reference: Fatty Acid Analysis of Emu Oil by Dr. Paul Smith, Dr. Margaret Craig-Schmidt, Amanda Brown at Auburn University.

According to Dr. Leigh Hopkins, Pharm. D. in the US all cells produce hormones which are coming from these fatty acids. These hormones affect all aspects of the activities of a specific cell. They play a role in inflammations, the healing process and the dying of a cell. If you don’t consume sufficient of these “good” fatty acids, your body cannot work efficiently. The oil supplies through its essential fatty acids the need to have the cells function normal. If you see the skin as the largest cell wall there is, you can say that a dry, raw skin is a sign of a lack of essential fatty acids.

Reference: The composition of emu oil: the micro view by Dr. Leigh Hopkins
  • Hair Growth

  • Burn Wound

  • Swelling and Inflammation

  • Burn Wound

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