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Emu Oil Research

Updated: Apr 7, 2021

Emu oil studies and healthy benefits of Emu oil proven by studies

There have been various studies performed over the past 25+ years throughout the world. The most profound finding is that Emu oil is a multi-use substance that works in harmony with various functions of the body to help humans become healthier. It's unique bond chain formation is believed to be it's shining star. Likewise, Emu oil may help different people in different ways. We are all unique in our genetic make-up and Emu oil seems to recognize the uniqueness of our genetics and helps the body where it is lacking, is inflamed, or needs nutrition that can be supplied via Emu oil.

Looking Into Emu Oil

By: Dr. Robert Nicolosi, University of Massachusetts (October, 2001)

Researchers at UMass Lowell are undertook studies to determine whether the properties tied to emu oil are fact or fiction. "I really think there's something there," said professor Robert Nicolosi, who is headed the research project at UMass Lowell. "But we don't know where it is or what it is exactly."

Nicolosi is optimistic about the oil's potential, but he is so concerned about the unsubstantiated marketing claims that he recently taped a segment for "Good Morning America" that highlights his research and the uncertainties surrounding emu oil. Nicolosi and his team of researchers are conducting studies funded by the American Emu Association, which is hoping to prove once and for all that emu oil works. "It's never been scientifically proven," said Pat Sauer, director of the American Emu Association. "That's what the association is trying to do now scientifically prove those things." What the UMass Lowell researchers have discovered so far is that emu oil does have some anti-inflammatory properties when used on mice. But that, stresses Nicolosi, is very different from use on humans. The research by Nicolosi's team will be the third performed on laboratory mice. Their paper is being submitted to a peer-review journal. When the American Emu Association first called Nicolosi to ask if he would research the compound, he was somewhat wary. "You immediately think it's snake oil, and you don't want to take their money and you don't want to waste your time," Nicolosi said. "I didn't think this stuff was going to work." Then he began running experiments with mice. And the researchers discovered that not only did emu oil reduce inflammation, but it worked even better than fish oil, a known anti-inflammatory agent. In their experiment, fish oil reduced the thickness caused by inflammation in mice by 55 percent; emu oil by 70 percent. The next step in the process is to vary the amount of emu oil used to see how much is required to have the same effect. Then researchers will partition out different components of the emu oil to see which part of the oil contains the active ingredient. Human clinical trials, while far off, are also a necessity if the oil is to be scientifically proven to work. "The science is great insofar with what we've done with mice," Nicolosi said. "But mice are not patients." The possible uses of emu oil extend beyond arthritic pain and soreness. Researchers in Australia are also looking into the cholesterol-reducing aspects of the oil and its use as a delivery device for other drugs. If found to be effective, an arthritis drug like Celebrex could be applied directly to the skin using an emu oil cream. Rather than ingesting the drug and suffering side effects, patients could simply apply it directly to where it hurts. "If we have our way about it, we'll go through our trials and make it available to the public," Nicolosi said. "But that's a ways away.


Experimental Study to Determine the Anti-Arthritic Activity of New Emu Oil Formulation (EMMP)(1993)

By: Dr. Peter Ghosh at Royal North Shore Hospital of Sydney, Australia and Dr. Michael Whitehouse at University of Adelaide, Australia.

Summary: A combination of emu oil with a suitable trans-dermal transporter is found to show anti-inflammatory (anti-rheumatic) activity in various rat models. Details :


Experiments and observations occurred on subgroups of patients over a three-month period.

Research Experiment Purpose:

Dr. Whitehouse and Dr. Ghosh were trying to observe:

1. If Emu Oil is an anti-inflammatory agent for the painful swelling that takes place in joints and bones of those suffering from Arthritis; and,

2. Does Emu Oil eliminate the arthritis pain for arthritis sufferers in their bone cartilage and swollen joints.


1. In 14 days, Emu Oil had eliminated all inflammation caused by arthritis joint swelling and bone abrasion due to lack of cartilage.

2. None of the patients experienced arthritis pain in their joints and bones after 14 days of topical application. The pain caused by constant friction of bones rubbing together had disappeared.

Arthritis Pain Reduction:

Days of Emu Oil Treatment Rate of Reduction in Pain:

1 - 1%

4 - 30%

7 - 50%

11 - 82%

14 - 100%

Reduction of Arthritic Swelling:

Days of Emu Oil Treatment Swelling Reduction in Arthritic Joints

1 - 2%

6 - 22%

12 - 48%

17 - 100%

*Information obtained from the American Emu Association

Fatty Acid Analysis of Emu Oil

By: Dr. Paul Smith, Dr. Margaret Craig-Schmidt, Amanda Brown at Auburn University.

Summary: Analysis of fatty acids in emu oil reveals that it contains approximately 70% unsaturated fatty acids. The major fatty acid found in emu oil is oleic acid, which is mono- unsaturated and which comprises over 40% of the total fatty acid contents. Emu oil also contains both of the two essential fatty acids (EFA's) which are important to human health: 20% linoleic, and 1-2% alpha-linolenic acid.

Fatty Acid Composition: Comparative analysis of emu, ostrich and rhea oil.

By: Dr. Margaret Craig-Schmidt and K.R. William at Auburn University. (1996)

Summary: A comparison between oil rendered from the fat of the emu, the ostrich and the rhea reveals that the predominant fatty acid in ostrich and rhea oils in palmitic acid, and of emu oil is oleic acid.

International Emu Oil Guidelines

By: The AEA Oil Standards Team, Lee D. Smith (Team Leader) (1997)

Summary: (a) The text part of the Guidelines consists of the Executive Summary, the Introduction, and Background, and gives the requirements for the handling of emu fat to ensure optimum quality of the finished oil, from bird handling and processing to fat handling and cold storage.

(b) Actual oil testing criteria are summarized within the Emu Oil Guidelines. The testing criteria would be required by laboratories testing samples of emu oil to make sure the oil satisfies the guidelines for safety and consistency. All oil testing laboratories and oil rendering facilities should have a copy of the Emu Oil Guidelines.

Emu Oil: Comedogenicity Testing

By: Department of Dermatology, at University of Texas Medical School, Houston.

Summary: Testing using the rabbit ear histological assay, with emu oil in concentrations of 25%, 75% and 100% shows that emu oil in concentrations of up to 100% is non-comedogenic, i.e. it does not clog the pores of the skin.

Moisturizing and Cosmetic Properties of Emu Oil: A Double Blind Study

By: Dr. Alexander Zemtsov, Indiana University School of Medicine: Dr. Monica Gaddis, Ball Memorial Hospital; and Dr. Victor Montalvo-Lugo, Ball Memorial Hospital.

Summary: Eleven human subjects took part in a double-blind clinical study which compared emu oil with mineral oil in texture, skin permeability and moisturizing properties, as well as comedogenicity and irritability to the skin. No irritation to the skin was observed with either oil. However, comedogenicity of emu oil was significantly lower than that of mineral oil, and all subjects stated a unanimous preference for emu oil.

Composition of Emu Oil: The Micro View

By: Dr. Leigh Hopkins, AEA Oil Standards Team (Research Leader)

Summary: When compared with human skin oil, the fatty acid composition of emu oil is found to be quite similar. In both types of oil, mono-unsaturated oleic acid is the most prevalent fatty acid, followed by palmitic acid, then linoleic acid, which is an EFA. This similarity may be one of the factors enabling emu oil to have such a positive action on human skin.

Emu Cream Assists Lidocaine: Local Anesthetic Absorption through Human Skin

By: Dr. William Code. (Presented at the 88th American Oil Chemists Society annual meeting

Summary: In his initial work with an emu oil based cream combined with spearmint oil and lidocaine, Dr. Code has found that this mixture appears to produce a reduced sensation in the skin as compared with another mixture of local anesthetics without emu oil. The goal is to reduce sensitivity to the skin in a safe, fast and effective way for procedures such as suturing or giving injections.

Emu Oil: A Source of Non-Toxic Trans-dermal Anti-Inflammatory Agents in Aboriginal Medicine (1997)

By: Dr. Michael Whitehouse and Athol Turner, Department Of Medicine, University of Queensland, Australia (Source: Inflammapharmacology, San Francisco, March 1997 conference proceedings).

Summary: Ongoing studies on the anti-inflammatory activity of emu oil, as tested using the arthritis-induced rat model, indicate that different emu oils vary in their ability to suppress arthritic symptoms and that a chemical test for biological activity is needed rather than continuing to use the rat model.

No information contained within the pages of should be construed as medical advice. We are not doctors. Please contact your physician for medical advice. We make no medical claims, expressed or implied.

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