Emu oil

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Emu oil is oil derived from adipose tissue harvested from certain subspecies of the emu, Dromaius novaehollandiae, a flightless bird indigenous to Australia.[1][2]

Unadulterated emu oil can vary widely in colour and viscosity anywhere from an off-white creamy texture to a thin yellow liquid, depending on the diet of the emu and the refining method(s) used.[3] It is composed of approximately 70% unsaturated fatty acids. The largest component is oleic acid, a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid. Emu oil also contains roughly 20% linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid) and 1-2% linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid).

Two small-scale animal studies have suggested that emu oil, applied topically, may have anti-inflammatory properties or promote wound healing in various rodent models.[4][5][6] Emu oil is also marketed and promoted as a dietary supplement with a wide variety of claimed health benefits.[7] However, little is known about its risks and benefits.[8] Emu oil has been used historically in Australian aboriginal traditional medicine for fevers, coughs, minor pain, arthritic joints, bruises, cuts and sores.[9][10]

Commercial emu oil supplements are not standardized and vary widely in their potency.[6] The U.S. Food and Drug Administration highlighted emu oil in a 2009 article on "How to Spot Health Fraud," pointing out that many "pure emu oil" products are unapproved drugs.[7]


  1. ^ American Emu Association FAQ
  2. ^ Devantier, Alecia T; Carol, Turkington (2006). Extraordinary Jobs in Agriculture and Nature. Infobase Publishing. ISBN 978-0-8160-5854-9. 
  3. ^ American Emu Association - Definition of emu oil grades
  4. ^ Yoganathan S, Nicolosi R, Wilson T, et al. (June 2003). "Antagonism of croton oil inflammation by topical emu oil in CD-1 mice". Lipids 38 (6): 603–7. doi:10.1007/s11745-003-1104-y. PMID 12934669. 
  5. ^ Politis MJ, Dmytrowich A (December 1998). "Promotion of second intention wound healing by emu oil lotion: comparative results with furasin, polysporin, and cortisone". Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 102 (7): 2404–7. doi:10.1097/00006534-199812000-00020. PMID 9858176. 
  6. ^ a b Whitehouse MW, Turner AG, Davis CK, Roberts MS (1998). "Emu oil(s): A source of non-toxic transdermal anti-inflammatory agents in aboriginal medicine". Inflammopharmacology 6 (1): 1–8. doi:10.1007/s10787-998-0001-9. PMID 17638122. 
  7. ^ a b Kurtzweil, Paula (April 30, 2009). "How to Spot Health Fraud". U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved June 29, 2009. 
  8. ^ Ratini, Melinda (31 December 2012). "Emu Oil". Vitamins & Supplements. WebMD. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  9. ^ Jenni Harrold and Joanne Whitby (1996). Aboriginal studies: Developing an awareness of Aboriginal people and their culture. R.I.C. Publications. p. 16. ISBN 978-1-86311-433-2. 
  10. ^ Craig Weatherby and Leonid Gordin (1999). The arthritis bible: a comprehensive guide to alternative therapies and conventional treatments for arthritic diseases. Inner Traditions / Bear & Co. pp. 149–149. ISBN 978-0-89281-825-9.