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Emu oil is an oil rendered from the fat of the emu, Dromaius novaehollandiae, a flightless bird indigenous to Australia. Emu oil has been used historically in Australian aboriginal traditional medicine for fevers, coughs, minor pain, arthritic joints, bruises, cuts and sores.
Unadulterated emu oil can vary widely in colour and viscosity, but, assuming the emu has enjoyed a natural diet, is generally a yellow liquid. 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).
Composition of Emu Oil :
Approximately 70% of the fatty acids in emu fat are unsaturated – Omega 3, 6 and 9. This composition is consistent with current recommendations for a "heart healthy" diet. Studies and testimonial have also shown these Omega Fatty Acids to lower bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels while increasing good cholesterol; reduce inflammation in body tissue and joints; improve the immune system and assist the body with many functions.
The monounsaturated fatty acid, oleic acid (Omega 9) is the major fatty acid in emu oil. This fatty acid is a known enhancer for transport of bioactive compounds into the skin, and thus the ability to be absorbed quickly and penetrate deeply when applied topically. The overall composition of emu oil is very similar to our skin's own fatty acid composition.
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. Emu oil is marketed and promoted as a dietary supplement with a wide variety of claimed health benefits. However, little is known about its risks and benefits.
Commercial emu oil supplements are not standardized and vary widely in their potency. 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.
- American Emu Association FAQ
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