Dangers of Emu Oil

"Emu Oil is a Safe, Natural Skin Oil!"

Are there really dangers from emu oil use? Is this natural oil safe for you and your family?

History of the emu tells us that ancient aborigines of Australia used this bird for food, clothing and natural medicine. The oil was traditionally used to treat various conditions such as sunburn, sore muscles and dry skin.

While this is a natural oil, there are some precautions you need to take to ensure you're using a highly-purified product free of bacteria, viruses and other contaminants.

Primary safety issues involve the type of emu oil and if you're the oil externally or internally.

Choose Cosmetic or Pharmaceutical-grade Emu Oils

The emu oil industry isn't regulated by the Government and many companies may use different purification and testing methods on their emu oil.

A cosmetic-grade emu oil is suitable for topically application, but shouldn't be used for internal use.

Only a pharmaceutical-grade emu oil should be used for internal consumption. At the present you'll need to research the company that produces your emu oil to ensure it has been purified and tested for contaminants.

The American Emu Association and Purified Emu Oils

AEA Logo

The American Emu Association (AEA) is a non-profit organization made up of small emu farms. They promote the emu industry and provide some level of regulatory process for the emu industry.

The AEA created the Emu Trade Rules as a self-regulatory method to provide safety and consistency to emu oil products that were being produced.

In the past, people used to melt emu oil on their stoves to make the oil; you can imagine the inconsistencies in purity levels if this method were still being used.

The AEA consulted with the American Oil Chemist Society to produce a standard grading and purity for emu oils.

AEA emu oils currently fall into Grade A, B and C:

  • Grade A - used for pharmaceutical, cosmetic and dietary supplements and called fully-refined emu oil.

  • Grade B - used in some cosmetic applications, but not for digestion.

  • Grade C - this is crude emu oil and used primarily for making soaps and animal feed.

Using emu oils that are AEA-certified will ensure you're using a product that has been tested for purity; thereby reducing any dangers from emu oil for topical use.

Molecularly-Distilled Emu Oils and Fully-refined Emu Oils

You can get emu oils that are either fully-refined or molecularly-distilled.

Manufacturers that produce molecularly-distilled emu oils take a fully-refined emu oil and subject it to another purification process.

They claim these highly-purified oils are superior to fully-refined oils, however, this subject is up for debate until someone does a full lab analysis comparing purity levels.

For more detailed information on Fully-refined and AEA-certified emu oils, see Buying Guide to Emu Oils.

Are there really Dangers from Emu Oil?

Research has found emu oil's ingredients are almost identical in fatty acid composition to human skin. This may make it compatible and reduces the possibility of allergic reactions.

If you have sensitive or delicate skin (and have never used emu oil) try a skin test to rule out any possible reactions.

Emu oil has shown it has the following characteristics:

  • Emu oil doesn't clog pores.
  • Emu oil is rapidly absorbed by your skin.
  • Emu oil is hypo-allergenic.
  • Emu oil fights inflammation.
  • Emu oil helps skin heal.

These traits may explain how the oil may be compatible with your skin type resulting in minimal dangers from emu oil use. You can learn more about these above characteristics by visiting my webpage on Health Benefits of Emu Oil.

progressive emu oil

Progressive Emu Oil

Australian emu oil has garnered a reputation as the best emu oil since this is where the oil originated. However, you can now get emu oils from the USA, Canada, Asia and Europe.

No matter which country you get your emu oil from you need to ensure that the oil has been tested to meet minimum standards for purity and has the lowest level of acceptable contaminants for cosmetic or pharmaceutical use.

To date, there are no documented reports of adverse reactions from topically use of emu oil. However, I always recommend all first-time users of emu oil try a small skin test to ensure there are no negative reactions.

Research References:

Emu oil(s): A source of non-toxic transdermal anti-inflammatory agents in aboriginal medicine. Whitehouse MW, Turner AG, Davis CK, Roberts MS. Department of Medicine, University of Queensland, Princess Alexandra Hospital, 4102, Brisbane, Queensland. Inflammopharmacology. 1998;6(1):1-8.

Moisturizing and cosmetic properties of emu oil: a pilot double blind study. Zemtsov A, Gaddis M, Montalvo-Lugo VM. The Australassian Journal of Dermatology. 1996 Aug;37(3):159-61

Promotion of second intention wound healing by emu oil lotion: comparative results with furasin, polysporin, and cortisone. Politis MJ, Dmytrowich A. Department of Medical Physiology at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 1998 Dec;102(7):2404-7.

Anti-inflammatory activity and healing-promoting effects of topical application of emu oil on wound in scalded rats Di Yi Jun Yi Da Xue Xue Bao. 2005 Apr;25(4):407-10, Qiu XW, Wang JH, Fang XW, Gong ZY, Li ZQ, Yi ZH. Department of Burns, Nangfang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou 510515, China.

Effect of emu oil on auricular inflammation induced with croton oil in mice. López A, Sims DE, Ablett RF, Skinner RE, Léger LW, Lariviere CM, Jamieson LA, Martínez-Burnes J, Zawadzka GG. Department of Pathology and Microbiology, Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, Canada. American Journal of Veterinary Research. 1999 Dec;60(12):1558-61

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