Emu oil has been used for thousands of years by the aborigines in Australia. These tribesmen used it to reduce pain and swelling of arthritis, heal wounds and burns and to reduce the pain and swelling from bite and stings. Today research studies have confirmed that this oil is also effective on burns, including sunburns and burns that were caused from radiation therapy. (1)
The oil comes from an emu bird who is thought to have roamed the outback in Australia nearly 80 million years ago. Like the Native American had a relationship with the bison, the aborigines depended upon the emu for the core of their existence. This bird provided food, clothing, shelter and was part of their spiritual belief system.
Emu oil is highly moisturizing and is a natural skin softener. It is rendered from the thick layer of fat on the back of the bird and until recently was used in the manufacture of cosmetics. However, the oil also has medicinal properties as a pain reliever and healing accelerant. Because the oil absorbs quickly into the skin, and encourages more oxygenated blood to the area, it also helps to speed healing of wounds, bruises and cuts.
The oil naturally contains vitamin E and A, which are anti-oxidants. It contains linoleic acid that helps to ease muscle aches and oleic acid which is a proven skin cell regenerator. Emu oil contains Terpines which are know antiseptics. It is the combination of all of these naturally occurring substances in one product that makes this oil so sought after in both the cosmetics industry and alternative health practices.
With the increased number of product use and birds required to meet the demand, Emu farms are cropping up around the U.S. The holistic health care community is also finding more ways to use the oil which places it in even higher demand. For instance, because of the natural antibacterial properties as well as the ability of the product to draw the blood supply to a specific area, it is helpful for use in individuals who suffer from skin breakdown and diabetes, wound healing, hair loss, psoriasis and peripheral neuropathy.
Interestingly, Emu oil also contains omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids and is a complete source of essential fatty acids which our bodies require for optimal health. An inadequate amount of fatty acids is one of the most widespread nutritional deficiencies in the Western World. The primary function of essential fatty acids is the production of a hormone type substance, called prostaglandins. These regulate many of the body’s functions, including the immune system.
Sporadic studies have indicated the benefits of Emu oil that include improved healing of shin splints, sciatic, skin care, treatment of inflammation, burns, bursitis, arthritis, foot fungus, eczema, acne, acne scars, wrinkles and athletes foot. Essentially it has been shown to improve conditions that are caused or are causing an inflammatory response in the body or have an infectious agent involved.
Unfortunately, not all Emu oil sold today has an animal origin. ‘Emu oil’ which is not animal based from the processing of fat from the Emu bird, will not have the same properties or benefits that is evident in the real thing. Any studies that have proven the benefits of Emu oil were done on products made from animal origin.
As beneficial as this oil may be, commercially marketed oil supplements are poorly standardized and will vary in their potency. As part of the freedom to manufacture the product outside the rules of the FDA companies must not make medical claims about their products and are not regulated for consistent manufacturing.
Unless an individual has developed an allergy to the oil there are very little side effects to using it. Prior to purchase be sure you do your research and determine that the company is solid and the product has a guarantee. Products that vary in potency will not provide the benefits to the individual that they are seeking.
(1) Denver Naturopathic Clinic: Emu Oil