Emu oil comes from an Australian bird of the same name. In addition to being raised for meat, farmers can harvest the oil from an oil sack located underneath the fat on an emu’s back. This oil is then refined to ensure it is safe for human use. The oil can be used to treat all manner of skin conditions. It is naturally hypoallergenic and contains beneficial vitamins A and E which have both antioxidant and healing properties. The oil is also high in terpenes, which are naturally occurring disinfectants. Many skin care products contain this animal by-product.
Emu oil’s healing properties work wonders in preventing scar tissue. It reduces inflammation around wounds while they heal, which in turn reduces redness and swelling. While the product will not heal old scars, it will accelerate the healing process of a fresh wound. Scars form as the body’s response to cuts. When wounded, our immune systems kick in and cause inflammation. Emu oil can reduce the coloration of scars during healing. Some doctors use the oil on patients after open heart surgery to lessen scarring.
One of the first recorded uses of emu oil was for the healing of wounds. The indigenous people of Australia used it to promote healing. It is only recently in the United States that emu oil has become more widely used by physicians for its healing properties. It is most effective in open wound healing. Pure oil, with no added ingredients, works best and will not agitate a wound. There are even records in the US of emu oil helping heal wounds with gangrene, ultimately saving patients from amputation. Microscopic skin evaluations show enhanced skin repair and new skin formation on wounds.
Emu oil is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. The medical journal Nutrition reported the oil might be beneficial for treating ear inflammation and inflammatory bowel syndrome. One study found an overall 72 percent decrease in inflammation. In another study, it was noted that emu oil began reducing inflammation only a few hours after treatment.
Rapid Burn Healing
Emu oil is used to help burns heal rapidly. One study looked at the effects on superficial burns. In just three days the oil decreased both swelling and effusion, with no infection or adverse effects. Emu oil is gentle on the skin, thanks in part to it being naturally hypoallergenic. Another study highlighted the oil’s ability to encourage new skin growth in burn areas after just two days of use. The Timothy J. Harmon Burn Center, at Texas Tech University, conducted a study on how the oil affects burns. The research notes improvements in both lubrication and hydration, which aided the burn healing process.
Many mothers use emu oil to treat diaper rash. Daily use of the oil is also thought to prevent diaper rash from occurring. In addition to relieving the pain of the rash, the fatty acids in the oil help restore the skin to its natural state, and its anti-inflammatory properties promote quicker healing.
Enhanced Skin Moisture
Emu oil is known for its excellent skin moisturizing properties. Human skin readily absorbs, then locks in the extra moisture, preventing skin from drying out and cracking. The oil can treat the dry skin that is a result of radiation treatments for cancer patients. The quick absorption of emu oil passes to other compounds when combined, making the product an excellent additive to boost the effectiveness of your favorite moisturizer.
Emu oil contains high amounts of terpenes, which disorient some insects and outright repel many others. This makes it an ideal non-toxic bug repellent, especially for pets, to whom more common bug repellents are toxic. To make use of emu oil as a repellent, apply it to your bare skin before venturing outdoors.
Emu oil is an effective treatment for eczema. Linoleic and linolenic acid abound in the oil, while those with skin conditions tend to be deficient. Emu oil contains about 70 percent unsaturated fatty acids, of which 20 percent is linoleic acid, and one to two percent is linolenic acid. Emu oil restores these vital nutrients to the affected areas, reversing the condition. Many who suffer from eczema find relief in as little as three days and recover fully in just a few weeks.
A recent study found subjects who consumed emu oil experienced significantly reduced cholesterol levels. More research is likely to confirm emu oil’s role in the reduction of cholesterol levels but is promising. The oil has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which can have a cholesterol-lowering effect. One study followed animals fed a high cholesterol diet for two weeks, then subsequently fed emu oil. The subjects showed a 30 percent reduction in cholesterol levels after the secondary stage.
Emu oil has very few documented side effects. A small percentage of users experience some skin irritation with topical use, which usually turns out to be an allergic reaction. Before applying the oil in full, test a small portion of the skin and watch for signs of a reaction. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should consult their primary care provider before ingesting emu oil.