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 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: this organic 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, it 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 this 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 it initially slowed the healing rate of burn wounds in mice but had an overall positive effect, significantly reducing scarring.


A list of scientific research projects/publications relating to emu oil is below

“Emu Oil Its Anti-Inflammatory Properties”. A report for the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation by J M Snowden, P J O’Malley and T M Ellis. Agriculture Western Australia October 1999 


“Emu Oil Its Anti-Microbial and Anti-Viral Potential” A report for the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation by Thomas V Riley and Christine F Carson University of Western Australia October 1999. RIRDC Publication No 99/132


“Comparative effects of emu and olive oil on aortic early atherosclerosis and associated risk factors in hypercholesterolemic hamsters”. Thomas A. Wilsona,*, Robert J. Nicolosia, Garry Handelmana, Subbiah Yoganathana, Timothy Kotylaa, Frank Orthoeferb, Paul Binfordca. Center for Health and Disease Research, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA 01854, USA Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, AK 72467, USA LB Processors, Chapmansboro, TN 3703, USA


“Commercial Emu Raising Using Cool Climate Forage Based Production Systems”. A report for the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation by Jason Nicholls,Tasmanian Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries. December 1998. RIRDC Publication No 98/147. RIRDC Project No DAT-32A


Michihiro FUKUSHIMA, Tetsu OHASHI, Mitsuo SEKIKAWA & Masuo NAKANO (1999) “Comparative Hypocholesterolemic Effects of Five Animal Oils in Cholesterol-fed Rats”, Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, 63:1, 202-205, DOI: 10.1271/bbb.63.202


“Determining the efficacy of emu oil in wound healing and cellular regeneration”. Article · January 1997 CITATIONS 2 READS 131 3 authors, including: Some of the authors of this publication are also working on these related projects: NHMRC Translational Australian Clinical Toxicology (TACT) Program Grant View project Michael Roberts University of Queensland


“Effects of Bio-active Emu Oil on Chemotherapy-induced Mucositis — Emu Oil and Gastrointestinal Disease” RIRDC Publication No. 09/131


“Emu oil in wound healing and cellular regeneration” A report for the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation by John M Snowden, Michael Roberts and Sheree Cross March 1998 RIRDC Publication no 98/18 RIRDC Project No DAW-83A


“Emu Oil Increases crypt depth but only minimally affects other indicators of colonic integrity in a rat model of colitis” SUZANNE MASHTOUB. Discipline of Physiology, School of Molecular & Biomedical Science, The University of Adelaide, SA, Australia


“Pharmacological modulation of wound healing in experimental burns”. Abdo Jurjus, Bishara S. Atiyeh*, Inaya M. Abdallah, Rosalyne A. Jurjus,Shady N. Hayek, Marlene Abou Jaoude, Alice Gerges, Rania A. Tohme. Auman Morphology, Faculty of Medicine, American University of Beirut Medical Center, Beirut, Lebanon Division Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, American University of Beirut Medical Center, Beirut, Lebanon. Human Morphology, Faculty of Medicine, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon. Immunofluorescence-Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, George Washington University, USA. Faculty of Pharmacy, St. Joseph University, Beirut, Lebanon Faculty of Pharmacy, Immunology Pharmacology, St. Joseph University, Beirut, Lebanon Histology, Faculty of Medicine, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon


“Summary / Abstract Antiinflammatory Activity of Emu Oils in Rats” Snowden JM,and Whitehouse M.W. Australia – Public Inflammopharmacology. 1997;5:127-132.


“Oil as a Medicine Carrier” Smith, Paul. C & Craig-Schmidt,Margaret, AEA News,March 1995


“Moisturising and Cosmetic Properties of Emu Oil: A Double Blind Study” Zemstov, Alexander, Gaddis, Monica, and Montalvo-Lugo, VictorAEA News,October/November 1994


“Fatty Acid Analysis of Emu Oil”. Dr. Paul Smith, Dr. Margaret Craig-Schmidt, Amanda Brown. AEA Funded study, 1994. (AEA News, September 1994 Issue).


“Fatty Acid Composition: Comparative analysis of emu, ostrich and rhea oil”. Dr. Margaret Craig-Schmidt and K.R. Willian. USA Abstracts: 88th AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo, Seattle WA, May 1997


“Emu Oil Processing and Properties” Dr. Ernesto Hernandez at Texas A& M University. USA Reprinted from AEA News, November 1995 issue


“Processing of Oils for Cosmetic and Pharmaceutical Uses: Applications to Ratite Oil”. Dr. Ernesto Hernandez at Texas A & M University USA 88th American Oil Chemist's Society annual. meeting, May 1997.


“Emu Oil: Comedogenicity Testing”. Department of Dermatology, at University of Texas Medical School, Houston. Study done for E.R.I., 1993


“Composition of Emu Oil: The Micro View”. Leigh Hopkins, AEA Oil Standards Team (Research Leader). USA Reprinted from AEA News, Spring 1997 issue


“Emu Cream Assists Lidocaine: Local Anaesthetic Absorption through Human Skin”. Dr. William Code USA 88th American Oil Chemists Society annual meeting, May 1997. Reprinted from AEA News, Summer 1997 issue


“Experimental Study to Determine the Anti- Arthritic Activity of a New Emu Oil Formulation (EMMP)”. Peter Ghosh and Dr. Michael Whitehouse, Australia 1993


“Emu Oil: A Source of Non-Toxic Transdermal Anti- Inflammatory Agents in Aboriginal Medicine.” Dr. Michael Whitehouse and Athol Turner, Australia. Australia Inflammopharmacology, San Francisco, March 1997 conference proceedings. Reprinted from AEA News, Summer 1997 issue)

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