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. 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). Fully refined emu oil has a bland flavour.
Commercial emu oil supplements are not standardised and vary widely in their potency. 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.
As of 2019 there have been at least three randomised controlled trials in humans. A first study (n=42) suggests a trend for reduced skin toxicity for patients receiving emu oil during radiation therapy; a second RCT (n=22) found that a gel containing emu oil was possibly effective as a topical treatment for acute phase Peyronie's Disease; and a third study failed to show a greater efficacy for emu oil over placebo in a population of postmenopausal women with early breast cancer experiencing arthralgias following initiation of an aromatase inhibitor (n=73).
- American Emu Association FAQ
- Devantier, Alecia T; Carol, Turkington (2006). Extraordinary Jobs in Agriculture and Nature. Infobase Publishing. ISBN 978-0-8160-5854-9.
- American Emu Association - Definition of emu oil grades
- "Emu Oil Trade Rule 103" (PDF).
- 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.
- Kurtzweil, Paula (April 30, 2009). "How to Spot Health Fraud". U.S. Food and Drug Administration. PMID 10628313. Retrieved June 29, 2009.
- Rollmann, Denise C.; Novotny, Paul J.; Petersen, Ivy A.; Garces, Yolanda I.; Bauer, Heather J.; Yan, Elizabeth S.; Wahner-Roedler, Dietlind; Vincent, Ann; Sloan, Jeff A.; Issa Laack, Nadia N. (2015-07-01). "Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study of Processed Ultra Emu Oil Versus Placebo in the Prevention of Radiation Dermatitis". International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics. 92 (3): 650–658. doi:10.1016/j.ijrobp.2015.02.028. ISSN 1879-355X. PMID 25936812.
- Twidwell, J.; Levine, L. (March 2016). "Topical treatment for acute phase Peyronie's disease utilizing a new gel, H-100: a randomized, prospective, placebo-controlled pilot study". International Journal of Impotence Research. 28 (2): 41–45. doi:10.1038/ijir.2015.22. ISSN 1476-5489. PMID 26700214.
- Chan, Arlene; De Boer, R.; Gan, A.; Willsher, P.; Martin, R.; Zissiadis, Y.; Miller, K.; Bauwens, A.; Hastrich, D. (December 2017). "Randomized phase II placebo-controlled study to evaluate the efficacy of topical pure emu oil for joint pain related to adjuvant aromatase inhibitor use in postmenopausal women with early breast cancer: JUST (Joints Under Study)". Supportive Care in Cancer. 25 (12): 3785–3791. doi:10.1007/s00520-017-3810-9. ISSN 1433-7339. PMID 28691132.