Emu oil is touted as a “miracle” oil. This oil—an ancient Aboriginal remedy—was first used to treat the pain and swelling from arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory properties. But its benefits are believed to extend far beyond pain reduction.
However, because there is much controversy around the ethical procurement of the oil from the animal, we at Beverly Hills M.D. choose not to use it in our products. But, we like to empower you with the knowledge of the latest skincare trends so you can make your own informed choice.
So, what is it exactly?
Emu oil is derived from the fat of an emu—a large bird that resembles an ostrich. Fun fact: Emus are the second-largest bird on Earth by height! These flightless birds are native to Australia. It is composed of fatty acids and lipids used to treat everything from skin irritations to eczema to sore muscles.
The oil can be taken orally to treat patients with high cholesterol. It is a source of both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids. The oil has also been found effective for the treatment of coughs, colds, swine flu and common flu. In addition, studies have shown that emu oil can reduce intestinal inflammation, lower blood fats and lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol. Emu oil lubricants tout benefits for everything from headaches to menstrual discomfort. Topical ointment, with emu oil as the primary ingredient, combined with other natural ingredients like grapefruit seed, aloe vera and vitamin C, is used to help treat acute pain and swelling. 1,2
Emu oil also has something else incredibly helpful when it comes to skin care: natural carotenoids and flavones. The short explanation? These are powerful, effective antioxidants, and every single cell in your body needs them. And they are contained in the oil, along with a host of other fatty acids. 3
Given all of this, is it any wonder this oil from a bird gets labeled as a “miracle oil”?
This Isn’t For the Birds!
Yes. This bird’s oil has exceptional therapeutic properties. But this globally-known wonder oil’s fatty acids are becoming quite popular in the cosmetics industry. Why? Because several studies have shown it has great benefits effects for the skin. And the oil’s essential fatty acids may even be effective for hair growth.4
This golden-colored liquid is either used topically, straight from the bottle, or found as part of topical ointments and creams. Emu oil, whether as a topical or combined as part of an ointment can be used for a variety of ailments and conditions, including:
|Inflammatory skin conditions
|Chapped lips 1
Emu Oil = Powerful Protectant
Given the impressive list above, is it any wonder that the benefits of emu oil are so great? Since skin is the primary barrier against bacteria, it should be protected as much as possible. That’s where emu oil can help.
Numerous experiments and studies support emu oil’s anti-inflammatory properties. This oil contains linoleic acid – a type of essential fatty acid most commonly used as an anti-inflammatory agent. This explains why, at least in part, emu oil may be beneficial to inflammatory skin diseases such as acne, psoriasis and eczema. 5
If You Have These Symptoms…
With so many possible uses, many can benefit from the oil. However, if you’re dealing with any of these conditions, emu oil could be very helpful:
Using this Aboriginal treatment has been shown to reduce scarring in healing wounds. One medical experiment conducted found that yes, emu oil was effective for this purpose. Patients who used topical emu oil to treat open wounds healed better than the control group.6
Dermatitis, Sunburn & More
People suffering from any of many skin diseases, such as allergy, ringworm, seborrheic dermatitis, and even sunburn can all reap the benefits. This oil has been used for centuries for its excellent moisturizing ability, so those with dry skin or anyone concerned with aging skin may also benefit.
Other Health Problems
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritic hands, musculoskeletal pain, cough, cold, and other physiological disorders can make use of the product, especially if their body is no longer responding to synthetic drugs. For people who have cancers, or those who have undergone chemotherapy, the use of emu oil may help promote hair growth. The oil may also prove beneficial to recovery from any bone diseases or other complications brought about by drugs taken during – and after – the process of cancer treatment.7
While the benefits of the oil have been well supported, we would recommend seeking alternative solutions. Animal products can be controversial in origin, so we understand why many people wouldn’t be comfortable using emu oil for ethical reasons.
2 Abimosleh S, Tran C, Howarth G. Emu Oil Reduces Small Intestinal Inflammation in the Absence of Clinical Improvement in a Rat Model of Indomethacin-Induced Enteropathy. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2013;2013:1-10. doi:10.1155/2013/429706.
3Abimosleh S, Tran C, Howarth G. Emu Oil: A novel therapeutic for disorders of the gastrointestinal tract?. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2012;27(5):857-861. doi:10.1111/j.1440-1746.2012.07098.x.
4Patent US5744128 – Use of emu oil for stimulating skin and hair growth. Google Books. 2016. Accessed September 6, 2016.
5Patent US9138446 – EMU oil in combination with other active ingredients for treating skin imperfections. Google Books. 2016. Accessed September 6, 2016.
6Emu oil soothes some skin wounds. latimes. 2016. Accessed September 6, 2016.
7emu oil. Denvernaturopathiccom. 2016. Accessed September 6, 2016.