- Scientific Research
Australia’s Indigenous people have long known about the healing power of emu oil, but modern science is only just catching up. Take a look at some of the exciting outcomes from the latest emu oil research.
Emu oil fights intestinal inflammation
Inflammation of the intestine is a common side effect of chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment – it also plays a role in serious bowel conditions such as Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and ulcerative colitis, which can lead to bowel cancer.
In 2010, researchers from the University of Adelaide found that emu oil could reduce inflammation in the intestine caused by a commonly prescribed chemotherapy drug. In 2013, a follow-up study on rats by Dr Suzanne Mashtoub at Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital Gastroenterology Department showed even more promising results: emu oil was able to promote repair of the damaged intestine after chemotherapy.
Another study by Dr Mashtoub showed that emu oil may reduce inflammation of the bowel in a rat model of acute ulcerative colitis. She’s now exploring how this natural oil may be used to help prevent inflammatory bowel disease progressing to bowel cancer.
Emu oil lowers heart disease risk factors
Like olive oil, which is the star of the famous Mediterranean diet, emu oil is an excellent source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats – in particular, omega 9 (oleic acid). It also contains omega 3 and 6, essential fatty acids that need to be obtained from food, and have been linked to heart health.
A 2004 study by the University of Massachusetts compared the effects of emu oil, olive oil and coconut oil in hypocholesterolemic hamsters. The hamsters that were fed emu oil and olive oil had lower total blood cholesterol and reduced aortic cholesterol than those fed coconut oil, suggesting that both emu oil and olive oil may reduce cholesterol and associated risk factors for heart disease.
Emu oil soothes the pain of osteoarthritis
A 2004 study by Victoria University found promising results from using emu oil either topically or internally to manage pain from osteoarthritis of the hands. The double-blinded, placebo-controlled study of 120 volunteers showed a significant reduction in pain over eight weeks in participants using emu oil. Interestingly, the effects weren’t noticeable until week 4, but pain diminished progressively in the final four weeks. Researchers say that emu oil may offer pain relief without side effects for people suffering from osteoarthritis.
Emu oil promotes wound healing
This traditional remedy is known anecdotally for its ability to heal burns and wounds, and researchers are beginning to explore its unique healing power.
While clinical research so far has focused on animal trials, they’ve shown positive results. A Chinese study on rats found that topically applied emu oil can reduce inflammation in a scald wound and promote healing, while last year, scientists found that emu oil initially slowed the healing rate of burn wounds in mice but had an overall positive effect, significantly reducing scarring.