Review of Emu Oil Studies

emu oil studies done by woman scientist in white lab coat

If you’re thinking of using emu oil for its health benefits, you may be wondering if there are any actual emu oil studies and research to support its use.  

The history of emu oil shows it was originally used by the Aborigines of Australia as a natural skin healer and protectant. And research on emu oil’s ingredients show that it shares almost the same composition of specific fatty acids also found in human skin.

If we jump to present day, some people now claim the oil can moisturize and soothe dry skin, reduce joint pain and even help wounds heal faster.

But what does the actual research show?

Well, we recently completed research for any available emu oil studies on popular online medical databases, including Pubmed, Medline and The National Institutes of Health.

We looked at the studies. We looked at the results…and we uncovered some interesting findings.

And today we’re going to share what we found with you.

 

Here is a Summary of Our Key Findings on Emu Oil Research:

  1. Emu oil may enhance the absorption and effects of certain ingredients when applied topically to the skin.
  2. It may help reduce the formation of arterial plaque and restore abnormal lipid blood levels
  3. Emu oils could have a protective effect against inflammation and free radical damage in Crohn’s disease
  4. It may help reduce inflammation and promote skin healing in 2nd degree burns
  5. Emu oils were found to naturally improve skin hydration levels without negatively affecting skin pH or skin elasticity.
  6. They were shown to have a protective effect against radiation-induced dermatitis and skin burn.

scientist in white lab coat looking at dangers of emu oil studies

 

The following is a review of the emu oil studies available from various online medical databases:

Emu Oil Improves Penetration and Absorption of Curcumin for Better Anti-Inflammatory Effect

 

Curcumin, also known as tumeric, is widely known for its anti-inflammatory properties.  However, studies have shown that when taken as a nutritional supplement, it won’t lead to major health benefits because it’s poorly absorbed and rapidly eliminated by the body.

Researchers at the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education in India evaluated the anti-inflammatory potential of topically applied curcumin in an emu oil based-gel. The gel was applied to experimental inflammation and arthritic animal models.

Upon reviewing molecular, histological and radiological exams, the scientists found curcumin and emu oil has significant anti-inflammatory activity, compared to using pure curcumin alone.

Conclusion: Formulations containing emu oil and curcumin could show great potential for treating rheuamoid arthritis.

 

Emu Oils May Help Reduce Arterial Plaque Formation in Obese Rats

 

Atherosclerosis is one of the most common forms of heart disease, where fatty arterial plaques form in the arteries. It’s caused by elevated levels of LDL cholesterol and inflammation.

Emu oil contains naturally high levels of the monounsaturated fatty acid, oleic acid. Studies have shown that diets containing monounsaturated fatty acids can help prevent atherosclerosis.

A study published in the Journal of Science and Agriculture showed that emu oil causes less arterial plaque formation in rats eating an obesity-induced diet, compared to rats eating the same diet without emu oil.

Study data also revealed the emu oil helped to inhibit plaque formation and also restored altered lipid and hormonal levels.

Conclusion: The high oleic acid content of emu oil may help fight plaque formation in the arteries.

 

Emu Oil Research Unveils Protection from Ulcerations in Crohn’s Disease

 

Emu oil and aloe vera have both been shown to be used for the treatment of burns, inflammation and wound healing.

While these are two completely different substances, they both share similar therapeutic roles.

Researchers at the Department of Veterinary Pharmacology and Toxicology in India conducted an animal study to investigate the protective effect of emu oil and aloe vera, alone and in combination, compared to Sulfasalazine, a commonly prescribed treatment for Crohn’s disease.

The study subjects were pre-treated with sulfasalazine, emu oil, aloe vera and their combination for five days before inducing inflammation with indomethacin. Tissue samples were then analyzed for markers showing any inflammation and free radical damage.

Conclusion: A combination of emu oil and aloe vera provided better protection than sulfasalazine against free radical cell damage and inflammation.

 

Emu Oils May Reduce Inflammation and Improve Skin Healing in 2nd Degree Burns

 

Chinese researchers at the Department of Burns at Southern Medical University, China conducted an animal study to assess emu oil effects on wound healing.

Over 140 rats with a 2nd degree scald burn on 10% of their total body surface were treated with either a saline solution, iodine or emu oil.

Wound tissue and blood samples were then analyzed for indicators of inflammation and overall cell damage.

The scientists found the emu oil relieved the swelling and seeping of wounds, promoted faster wound healing and did not cause any side effects.

Conclusion: Emu oils may promote wound healing in 2nd degree burns. 

 

Emu Oil may Enhance Nipple Health in Breastfeeding Women

 

Breastfeeding is a natural part of motherhood but can present problems with dried, cracked and painful nipples.

Doctors believe that keeping the skin well-hydrated with the proper skin pH can help prevent skin damage to the areola skin barrier after prolonged breastfeeding.

A study published in the Journal of Evidence Based Alternative Medicine (Jan. 2016) found that applying emu oil to the areola skin barrier in breast feeding women can effectively hydrate and moisturize the outer layer of the breast areola without negatively affecting the skin pH, temperature or skin elasticity.

Conclusion: Emu oil can effectively improve skin hydration without negative side effects.

 

Emu Oils Could Help Prevent Radiation Dermatitis

 

Radiation dermatitis is a common side effect that can occur after a cancer patient has received radiotherapy. When using radiotherapy, the radiation passes through the skin to kill or shrink cancer cells.

Unfortunately, if the adjacent skin cells aren’t able to repair themselves before the next treatment, they could become damaged, resulting in redness, skin peeling, ulcers or sores.

According to the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, up to 95% of cancer patients receiving radiation will develop some type of radiation dermatitis. The treatments for the dermatitis may include therapeutic creams or lotions, antibiotics to fight infections or pain medications to address any discomfort.  

Doctors at the Department of Radiation Oncology, Mayo Clinic investigated if emu oil could safely treat radiation dermatitis and treat skin-related issues in patients undergoing radiation to the chest wall or breast.

Study participants were asked to apply either emu oil or a placebo twice daily during their course of radiation therapy and continued for six-weeks after completing their treatment.

A number of skin index scores, including amount of skin rash, redness, peeling and swelling were evaluated at the end of the study.

The researchers found that patients using emu oil reported better skin index scores compared to the group using only the placebo.

Conclusion: An oil-based skin treatment of emu oil could safely be used to help reduce skin toxicity during radiation therapy. 

 

Emu Oils Shown to Improve Post-surgical Healing

 

In this emu oil study, scientists compared the healing properties of emu oil against three traditional skin ointment creams:

  • Polysporin – popular antibiotic cream
  • Cortisone – corticosteriod used to reduce inflammation
  • Furasin – antibacterial used to treat burns that become infected

All three skin ointments were applied to surgical wounds 24 hours after the surgery was completed in rat models. After one week, researchers analyzed the skin cells from the affected areas to determine if there was any cellular changes.

Scientists found that emu oil improved skin healing by 200% on the surgical wounds, but only when the lotion was applied 24 hours later. The Polysporin, Cortisone and Furasin ointments did not show any improvement in wound healing.

Conclusion: Emu oils improved surgical skin healing better than Polysporin, Cortisone and Furasine.

 

Conclusions on Emu Oil Studies and Research:

While there were only a few studies on emu oil to draw from, it appears there may be some possible health benefits.

According to the above studies, emu oil may:

  • Reduce swelling and seeping in burns.
  • Improve the rate of skin healing when used 24 hours after the wound was inflicted.
  • Encourage new skin growth on wounds.
  • Promote faster skin healing than traditional first-aid skin creams.
  • Moisturize better than some other oils.
  • Doesn’t clog pores.
  • May penetrate the skin at a faster rate.
  • Leaves a pleasing skin texture.
  • Usually doesn’t irritate the skin.

While more research is needed, emu oils appear to offer a range of positive health benefits without causing any significant side effects. 

You can now find emu oils available from a number of online retailers and specialty stores. The emu oil industry isn’t completely regulated, and it’s recommended consumers use a Guide to Buying Emu Oil to help them choose the best product that will meet their needs. 

 

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Author Details
Kevin is a full-time blogger with a passion for functional, whole food nutrition. A former Registered Respiratory Therapist with over 25 years experience in Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine, he also has additional training as a Certified Natural Products Advisor. He enjoys a vibrant lifestyle that includes healthy foods, workouts focusing on core strength with flexibility and longboarding to stay fit and agile.