Emu oil

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An Emu
An emu, the source of emu oil

Emu oil is an oil derived from body fat 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] Industrially refined emu oil is composed of a minimum of 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).[4] Fully refined emu oil has a bland flavour.[4]

Emu oil has previously been wrongly promoted as a dietary supplement with the claim it can treat a variety of human ailments, including cancer and arthritis.[5]


Since 2015 two small human studies have been done, one for use as a skin moisturizer and the other for use as an insect repellent.[6]

Commercial emu oil supplements are not standardised and vary widely in their potency.[7] The U.S. Food and Drug Administration highlighted emu oils in a 2009 article on "How to Spot Health Fraud", pointing out that many "pure emu oil" products are unapproved drugs.[5]

See also[edit]


  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. ^ a b "Emu Oil Trade Rule 103" (PDF).
  5. ^ a b Kurtzweil, Paula (April 30, 2009). "How to Spot Health Fraud". U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 33 (6): 22–6. PMID 10628313. Retrieved June 29, 2009.
  6. ^ Jeengar MK, Kumar PS, Thummuri D, Shrivastava S, Guntuku L, Sistla R, Naidu VG (January 2015). "Review on emu products for use as complementary and alternative medicine". Nutrition. 31 (1): 21–7. doi:10.1016/j.nut.2014.04.004. PMID 25441585.
  7. ^ 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. S2CID 23295481.