Emu Oil Uses And Side Effects

Emu Oil: Emu oil is made from the fat of an emu. The emu is a flightless bird, native to Australia, that looks similar to the ostrich. According to The New York Times, one bird produces about 250 ounces of oil. Most farmers only raise emus for their fat, but some try to use as much of the bird as possible, from its meat to its skin, which is made into leather. Whether or not your emu oil comes from an ethical source depends on the manufacturer.

Emu oil has garnered the attention of the holistically minded. While some people report benefits of the oil on their skin and overall health, others find that it’s not too different from other oils. Read on to learn the benefits and uses of emu oil.

Emu Oil Uses And Side Effects

What Is Emu Oil

The emu is a large, flightless bird, native to Australia. It is also farmed there as well as in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Emu oil prepared from the fat of this bird and is used to make medicine.

People use emu oil for conditions such as high cholesterol, dry skin, wound healing, sore muscles, and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses. Emu oil contains chemicals called fatty acids. These chemicals might reduce pain and swelling (inflammation). When emu oil is applied to the skin, it has moisturizing and cosmetic properties that resemble mineral oil.

This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider, and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions, or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version.

Blue Emu Oil

The Aboriginal people of Australia have used emu oil for centuries. The oil was collected by either hanging the emu skin from a tree or wrapping it around an affected area and allowing the heat of the sun to liquefy the emu fat to enhance absorption into the skin.

Emu oil was used medicinally to treat muscle and joint problems and a variety of skin conditions. Other purported medicinal uses include the treatment of psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis. The oil also has been used for cooking as well as for keeping leather riding tackle supple.

Anti-inflammatory/Wound healing

Nearly all clinical and scientific studies focus on the anti-inflammatory properties of the oil. In animal studies, the topical application of emu oil had anti-inflammatory effects comparable to oral ibuprofen. In humans, oil was evaluated as a lubricant and aided in reducing scar formation in healed burns. Wounds treated with oil also healed significantly better. However, more research is needed to fully explain the benefits of the oil.

Emu Oil Benefits

You can use emu oil as a topical treatment or carrier oil. Mixing it with lotions and creams may help your skin absorb the ingredients better. You can also take oil as an oral supplement in the form of capsules for inflammation and cholesterol. oil, though, is not a cure-all, and it’s important to know the research on its benefits is ongoing.

1. Moisturize your face, body, and skin

As an occlusive moisturizer, emu oil does a fantastic job of improving hydration and preventing water loss. In fact, a lotion with emu oil as a base may penetrate and help your skin better than pure oil. Studies also suggest that emu oil may have fewer side effects trusted Source for people with dermatitis and eczema.

2. Lose weight and lower cholesterol

Along with calorie restriction and exercise, oil can help reduce obesity. You can swap fish oil capsules for emu oil capsules, especially if you’re sensitive to seafood. While there’s little research on oil for weight loss and cholesterol, there’s plenty of evidence on the effectiveness of fatty acids.

3. Prevent skin aging

In addition to its moisturizing capabilities, oil has positive effects on collagen production. Collagen is one of the compounds that keep your skin elastic, plump, and wrinkle-free. Emu oil’s antioxidant properties can also target any signs of aging caused by oxidative stress.

One place aging starts is around the eyes. Look for an eye treatment with oil, caffeine, and vitamin K. A 2015 study trusted Source examined the effects of these ingredients on 11 women, who were instructed to apply a pad coated in them to one eye. After four weeks, the eye that was treated showed fading of dark circles, improved elasticity, and fewer lines.

4. Decrease inflammation

Taken orally, emu oil is another source of fatty acids that can contribute to better digestive health. The anti-inflammatory properties of oil may also benefit gastrointestinal diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease.

Cell studies suggest that oil ingestion can benefit:

  • absorptive function
  • gastric emptying
  • intestinal transit
  • bowel, joint, and overall inflammation

5. Improve wounds, scars, and sun damage

Use creams with emu oil for healing cuts, burns, or bruises. The linoleic acid in emu oil has positive effects that may even:

  • increase hair follicles in wound areas
  • offer protective benefits from scarring
  • lighten age spots
  • decrease acne scars

Most studies on wound healing have been conducted on mistrusted Source and guinea pigsTrusted Source, but the results suggest that applying oil after the inflammation stages can help to heal.

Read more: Natural mosquito repellants »

6. Reduce nipple sensitivity

New mothers can use an emu oil-based cream after delivery to improve hydration around their nipple and areola. This can help decrease nipple pain or trauma due to breastfeeding. One study looked at this treatment and found that the oil didn’t affect the pH, temperature, or elasticity of the areola.

If you try this treatment, be sure to use a warm cloth to remove residual oil before breastfeeding. There’s limited research on the safety of oil for children and infants.

7. Repel bugs

Emu oil contains terpenes, which are natural substances that repel insects. Research shows that terpenes may be effective against adult head lice, cockroaches, and triatomine bugs. However, terpenes may attract mosquitos, so you might want to use other repellants when outdoors.

Emu Oil Uses

Emu Oil Uses
  • Joint pain caused by breast cancer drugs. Early research shows that applying oil reduces joint pain caused by drugs used to treat breast cancer. However, applying other oil that contains different ingredients also seems to work.
  • Skin damage due to radiation therapy. Early research shows that applying oil during and after radiation therapy doesn’t prevent skin damage better than cottonseed oil.
  • Scaling rash, usually on the scalp and face (Seborrheic dermatitis). Applying oil to the skin might improve symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis. But it doesn’t work as well as creams containing clotrimazole or hydrocortisone.
  • Burns.
  • Coughs.
  • Diabetic nerve pain.
  • Dry or wrinkled skin.
  • Hemorrhoids.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Insect bites.
  • Shingles.
  • Sore muscles.
  • Weight loss.
  • Wound healing.
  • Other conditions.

Emu Oil For Hair

Seborrheic dermatitis (SD) is a common, chronic inflammatory disease. Inflammatory reaction and oxidative stress are thought to be effective in the pathogenesis of SD. Based on anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties of emu oil, this study was designed to evaluate the effects of emu oil on patients suffering from SD and to compare it with routine treatments of SD with topical steroids and antifungal agents.

Materials and Methods:

This clinical trial was conducted on126 patients who were randomly allocated to 2 groups: 62 in the clotrimazole vs. emu oil (group-1) and 64 in the hydrocortisone vs. oil (group-2). The right side of the face in both groups was treated with topical emu oil. The left side was treated with topical clotrimazole in the first group and with topical hydrocortisone in the second group. One month after the treatment, pre and post-treatment symptom severity scores of pruritus, erythema and scales were compared.


All 3 medications significantly improved pruritus, erythema, and scales (P < 0. 01). However, topical clotrimazole and hydrocortisone were significantly more effective than oil in improving scales (P < 0.01), and hydrocortisone was significantly more effective than oil in reducing pruritus (P < 0. 01). Comparing with topical clotrimazole, emu oil resulted in significantly more improvement of erythema (p:0.01).


Emu oil is a potentially useful agent that significantly improves itching, erythema, and scales associated with SD; however, it was less effective than hydrocortisone and clotrimazole which are routinely prescribed to treat SD.

Emu Oil For Skin

The goal of this study was to determine the effect of topical Emu oil on the healing of burn wounds and hair follicle restoration in superficial II-degree burns in the skin of Balb/c mice. Thirty-two male Balb/c mice with burns on the back of the neck were divided into two groups: The oil group received topical Emu oil twice daily, whereas the control was left untreated. Skin biopsies were obtained on days 4, 7, 10, and 14 of the experiment. Then the specimens were viewed with an Olympus SZX research microscope. The Emu oil-treated burns were found to heal more slowly and inflammation lasted longer in this group.

The number of hair follicles in the margins of the wounds increased through time in the Emu oil group compared to the control group. Also, the hair follicles in the Emu oil group were in several layers and seemed to be more active and mature. Moreover, oil had a positive effect on fibrogenesis and synthesis of collagen. The findings indicate that although oil delays the healing process, it has a positive effect on wound healing and it increases the number of hair follicles in the margins of the wound. There are some studies on the healing effects of the oil, especially on its anti-inflammatory qualities. One study in CD-1 mice found that the auricular swelling induced by applying 50 μL of croton oil was significantly reduced 6 hrs after the application of Emu oil when compared to the control and the porcine oil groups.

A second study, using both female outbred Wistar and Dark Agouti rats with adjuvant-induced polyarthritis, revealed significant reductions in paw swelling (up to 84%) and arthritis score (up to 70%) upon exposure to Emu oil. There have been a few studies carried out on the healing properties of Emu oil on the skin. There is some evidence showing that Emu oil delays the healing of burn wounds. On the other hand, Gong et al., in a study on 144 Wistar male rats, showed that the topical application of Emu oil in second-degree burn wounds has a favorable, anti-inflammatory effect and improves wound healing by inhibiting the secondary inflammation process.

What is emu oil used for?

Emu oil is also used topically for athlete’s foot; diaper rash; canker sores; chapped lips; poor circulation; and skin conditions, including cancer, dry skin, dandruff, eczema, psoriasis, wrinkles or age spots. It is also used to protect skin from sun damage and to promote more youthful-looking skin.

Is Emu oil good for your face?

Moisturize your face, body, and skin

As an occlusive moisturizeremu oil does a fantastic job of improving hydration and preventing water loss. In fact, a lotion with emu oil as a base may penetrate and help your skin better than pure emu oil.

Is Emu oil good for your hair?

Emu oil DOES have anti-inflammatory properties – a fact documented by scientific research – so it can help promote a healthy scalp. In other words, emu oil appears to help the ingredients of hair growth stimulants get to where they’re needed more easily.

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