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.
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).
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.
“An emu oil preparation was shown to have anti-inflammatory activity equal to or greater than ibuprofen”
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.
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).
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Swelling and Inflammation