Education About Emu Oil

EMU OIL INSTITUTE - What is the origin of Emu Oil?

The oral history of the Australian Aborigine indicates their use of Emu Oil for over forty thousand years. They used Emu Oil to gain relief from minor aches and pains,  to help heal wounds quicker, and protect their skin from the harsh elements of wind and sun.  Aborigines in Wiluna and elsewhere reveal that methods of treatment included hanging an emu skin on a tree to collect the oil, and wrapping sufferers in a fresh killed skin.  In both cases the catalyst of the suns' heat was used to liquefy the Emu fat and enhance its absorption qualities.

The Aborigines introduced Emu Oil to the first Europeans as a natural sun screen and skin moisturizer.  The use of Emu Oil was among many natural remedies adopted by settlers from the original inhabitants of Australia.

Use of Emu Oil was most prevalent in country areas where it was applied in the treatment of bruised and subcutaneous tissue, burns and dry skin problems.

It was not until recent history that Emu Oil was brought to the attention of modern man. The first report known was published in the Australian Post regarding experiments by Dr. Peter Gosh, Raymond Purves Bone and Joint Research Laboratories, University of Sydney at the Royal North Shore Hospital and Dr. Michael Whitehouse, Department of Pathology, University of Adelaide.

Today, studies regarding the properties of Emu Oil have expanded to prominent noted facilities/groups such as:

         Auburn University

         University of Massachusetts - Lowell

         Arthritis Clinic, Ardmore, OK

         Texas Tech. University

         Ball Memorial Hospital

         Timothy J. Harnar Burn Center

         Iowa State University

         American Oil Chemists Society (AOCS)

Our research indicates Emu Oil may also be endorsed by various members of these organization and institutes:

         Arthritis Foundation of Australia

         Australian Orthopedic Association

         Royal Society of Chemistry

         Australian & New Zealand Soc. For Connective Tissue

         Australian Rheumatism Association

         Australia Biochemical Society

         Royal Australian Chemical Institute

Studies and documentation continue with regard to Emu Oil.  The above references have recognized the potential abilities of Emu Oil in a variety of fields, and the Emu Oil Institute will continue to post all updated material as it becomes available.

EMU OIL INSTITUTE - Emu Oil Research
(as published by the AEA)

Looking Into Emu Oil

By: Dr. R.N., University of Massachusetts  (October, 2001)

Studies are currently underway.  At the request of the AEA, we cannot publish the preliminary findings. They have asked us not to release this information prior to journal publication.  We can tell you that data has been developed that will pass the test of scientific scrutiny. The studies include cholesterol lowering, anti-inflammatory and transdermal properties of emu oil.  As soon as permission is granted to release this information at this site, we will be including it.

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 transdermal 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, 1995

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.(1993)

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. (1994)

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) (1997)

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.

by Dr. Leigh Hopkins, Pharm.D.

Why Emu Oil Works is the $64,000 question or do we have some clues?  The simple answer and one which is close to being correct, is that emu oil is one of the basic food groups that our culture has chosen to deny.  Avoiding fats in our diets creates the many conditions which respond to emu oil.  Why it works when applied topically, when other sources of these fatty acids do not, is still unknown, but this too could simply be due to the similarity of emu oil with the fats in our skin thus enabling it to readily mix (and penetrate) with these fats.

How does it work?  This is a subject that is made complex by the large number of steps within our body's chemistry that involve fatty acids.  To begin with, no drug offers the wide scope of activity seen with emu oil, which further supports the idea that emu oil activity originates from a food group rather than a single compound.  Our body's needs for fats can be broadly grouped into structural and functional needs.

Structural needs - All our cell walls are made of fat which separates the watery contents of each unique cell from the adjacent cells.  These cell walls are complex constructions which contain pores, channels and receptors which enable the cell to receive and send signals and to respond to various chemicals and to release various chemicals.  When fats are missing from our diets, our body makes fat from the protein and carbohydrates which we eat. Unfortunately, it cannot make some types of fats that are required by the cell wall. Therefore, all cell wall structures are defective when some of the necessary essential fats, such as found in emu oil, are missing from our diets. We can think of our skin as the largest cell wall we have. A dry, itchy skin (i.e., a defective skin) is a sign of missing essential fatty acids.

When the essential fats are missing from our cells, the more rigid saturated and monounsaturated fats must be used in their place. This rigidity impairs all our cells, which must be flexible to work best. Hard arteries can be thought of as containing rigid, saturated fats rather than the soft, polyunsaturated fats.

Functional needs - Fats play many very different roles in our body other than the simple concentrated energy source and cushion which we usually think of fats as providing. All cells produce hormones directly from the fatty acids which we must receive from our diet or from the topical application of these fatty acids. These hormones influence all aspects of local cell activity. They are involved in such activity as inflammation, healing, and cell growth and dying. When we don't have enough of the correct fats, these processes of every day life do not operate at peak efficiency. Emu Oil can provide the necessary fats that are required to normal cellular function.

EMU OIL INSTITUTE - Properties of Emu Oil


Many oils found in skin care or cosmetic applications have a tendency to clog pores, cause acne, and create unfavorable skin conditions.

Comedogencity (pore-clogging) testing of emu oil conducted at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston resulted in both observational and histological scores of less than 1. These test results reveal that emu oil "is considered to indicate a substance that is unlikely to produce a comedogenic response during human use and is therefore considered to be a negative result."

"On the basis of observational and histologic testing from comedogenicity, the emu oil used in this test, from 25% to 100%, is non-comedogenic." Even though it is an oil, emu oil was demonstrated to be a "non pore-clogging substances, helping to keep the skin healthy.

Fatty Acid Analysis

A fatty acid analysis test was conducted by Dr. Margaret C. Craig-Schmidt, Associate Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Science, at Auburn University. Dr. Craig-Schmidt noted that the properties of the emu oil made favorable to be used by the cosmetic industry.

In addition to cosmetic uses, laboratory experiments and analysis of emu oil both in Australia and in the US have confirmed that emu oil has the ability to reduce inflammation of the joint, and that it is an all-natural anti-inflammatory. Emu oil naturally contains a high level of linolenic acid, (a substance known to ease muscle ache and joint pain) and oleic acid, which provides a local anti-inflammatory effect.

Emu Oil Pentrates Deep Into The Dermis

The penetrating effect of emu oil, according to pharmacist and oil researcher Allen Strickland of Alabama, may be related to its non-phosphorus composition.

"Our skin is phospholipid deficient. In other words, there's no phosphorus in our skin. If you put anything on your skin that has phosphorus in it, your skin is 'programmed' to keep it from penetrating. Anytime you put anything on your skin that is phospholipid deficient, or has no phosphorus, it penetrates right through."

"It was interesting to note that when I looked through the literature concerning the drug and cosmetic industry," expressed Dr. Craig-Schmidt, "I learned that this (oleic) fatty acid is a known enhancer of transport of bio-active compounds through the skin. In other words, the high presence of oleic acid in the emu oil may be one of the reasons that it is able to penetrate the skin to a large degree and at the same time be able to carry active compounds through the skin where they can have an effect in the body."

Property Observation and Clinical Use

In "Emu Oil- A Clinical Appraisal of this Natural and Long Used Product," Dr. G.R. Hobday of Australia reported that emu oil had been frequently tested by government and private laboratories, indicating no steroids, hormones or even bacteria when suitably treated.

Commenting on the use of the oil by over 500 patients in 10 years, Dr. Hobday noted that there had never been any allergic reactions from the oil reported to him.  Most significantly, Dr. Hobday affirmed that "From clinical experience with emu oil, it became obvious that its major actions were its anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to penetrate the skin. It also appears to provide some solar protection."

Dr. Hobday's 10 years of clinical usage of emu oil focused on the skin. The report reveals that, "After advising patients of its experimental nature I have prescribed emu oil for use in three main areas: dry skin problems, treatment of muscle aches and pains, and treatment of wounds which had epithelialized."

Results of usage are summarized as follows:


Eczema - emu oil and creams made of emu oil reduce irritation and inflammation of the skin
Keloids - significantly reduces recent keloid scarring
Burns - appears to promote faster healing with less pain and scarring
Donor sites in skin grafting - reduced pain and less scarring


Joint pain - reduced pain, swelling, and stiffness most evident where the joint is close to the skin surface, such as hands, feet, knees, and elbows.
Bruising and muscle pain - significant benefit to recent bruising and muscle pain where injury is relatively superficial. Significant reduction in sports related muscle strains post-exercise emu oil massage.

Recent wounds:

Epithelialized wounds - reduced scar tissue formation, soothing of wounds after surgery by anti-inflammatory action.

Proliferative Activity of the Skin and Excelerated Hair Growth

Dr. Michael Holick, M.D, Ph.D., Professor of Medicine, Physiology, and Dermatology at Boston University School of Medicine, conducted a study involving a processed emu oil, and the results were so outstanding that they quickly became a topic of conversation in many medical and other journals.

Dr. Holick had been interested in looking at factors that stimulate and inhibit skin and hair growth. "We depilated some mice and we then topically applied, in a blinded fashion, (a processed emu oil) and corn oil to two different groups of mice, and we did this for two weeks," he explained.

"We found that there was about a 20% increase in DNA synthesis, which means that there was a 20% increase in the proliferative activity, or the growth activity of the skin in the animals that received (a processed emu oil), compared to the animals that received corn oil, " said Dr. Holick.

"We found that there was an enhancement in the growth activity of the hair follicles. So it gives us very good scientific indication that we were stimulating skin growth," Dr. Holick elaborated.



Emu Oil has demonstrated to benefit the following conditions and problems:

  • acne
  • age spots
  • arthritis
  • athletes foot
  • bed sores
  • bruises
  • burns
  • bursitis
  • calluses
  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • chapped lips
  • complexion problems
  • conditioning hair
  • contact dermatitis
  • cracked skin
  • cuts & lacerations
  • dandruff
  • diabetic bruising & ulcers
  • diabetic neuropathy
  • diaper rash
  • dishpan hands
  • dry skin
  • eczema
  • eye irritation
  • fever blisters
  • fingernail cuticles
  • frostbite
  • gout
  • gum disease
  • growing pains
  • hair loss
  • headaches
  • hemorrhoids
  • in-grown toenails
  • insect bites
  • irritated skin
  • itching
  • joint pain
  • keloids
  • lumbago
  • massage
  • medication carrier
  • moisturize skin
  • muscle pain & spasms
  • pain relief
  • pet hot spots
  • pet injuries & wound
  • psoriasis
  • radiation burns
  • razor burn & nicks
  • recent scars
  • rheumatism
  • rhinitis
  • rosacea
  • scar prevention
  • sciatica
  • scrapes & scratches
  • shin splints
  • shingles
  • sinus headaches skin grafts
  • skin hydration
  • sore muscles
  • sports injuries
  • sprains
  • stiffness
  • stretch marks
  • sunburn relief
  • surgery scars
  • swelling
  • tendonitis
  • thin, aging skin
  • tired feet
  • varicose veins
  • wasp, bee stings
  • windburn
  • wounds
  • wrinkles & fine lines