People talked a lot about the emu oil recently and many claims made regarding its benefits for health and beauty. But what is emu oil? Where does it come from? Is it really as good as claims make it out to be?
In this article, we will answer these questions and explore the many benefits of all-natural emu oil. Read on to learn more.
Contents & Navigation
- What Is Emu Oil?
- What’s In Emu Oil?
- How Do You Get Oil from Emus?
- Can Emu Oil Be Considered A Vegan Product?
- How Will You Know If Farmed Emu Are Well-Treated?
- Why Use Emu Oil?
- How Do You Use Emu Oil?
- 6 Ways To Use Emu Oil For The Skin
- 3 Ways to Use Emu Oil For Hair & Nails
- 4 Ways To Use Emu Oil Topically For Healing
- Heal and Soothe Nasal Passages
- 3 Ways to Use Emu Oil To Massage Away Aches & Pains
- 3 Ways to Use Emu Oil For Mother & Baby
- 5 Ways To Use Emu Oil For Do It Yourself Remedies
- 6 Ways Emu Oil Helps You When Taken Orally
- Does Emu Oil Have Any Side-Effects?
- Is All Emu Oil Alike?
- Australian vs. American Emu Oil
- What Is Emu Oil Good For?
What Is Emu Oil?
Emu oil came from the fat underneath the skin of the emu bird. Emu is a large, flightless Australian birds, second in size only to ostriches. Australian aborigines treasured them for tens of thousands of years. Also, they make an important part of Australian aboriginal culture as they serve as a valuable source of meat, skins, and the precious oil.
The emu appears as one of the oldest species of birds on the planet. In fact, emus existed and remained unchanged for around 80,000 years. Aboriginal oral history and cave drawings indicate that the emu has been very much a part of aborigine culture for at least 4000 of those years.
When Europeans arrived on the scene in Australia, the indigenous people introduced them to emu oil as a way of protecting their pale, delicate skin from the ravages of the hot Australian sun.
Emu oil works as sunscreen and all-natural skin moisturizer. It also imparts a wide variety of other benefits both applied topically and taken internally. In addition to many thousands of years of anecdotal evidence, scientific exploration over the last few decades revealed emu oil holds powerful anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antibacterial properties.
Doctors often recommend it for scar treatment, wound healing, burn treatment, and much more. When taken internally, emu oil demonstrates its ability to help relieve many kinds of pain and to help soothe gastrointestinal difficulties. [source]
What’s In Emu Oil?
Emu oil’s many therapeutic qualities came from its rich fatty acid (eicosanoid) content. In fact, this natural oil consists of about seventy percent fatty acids. The omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids deliver the superior anti-inflammatory effects of the oil.
Eicosanoids perform as messengers within the central nervous system. They also help prevent and reduce inflammation caused by exercise, stress and/or exposure to pathogens and toxins.
Here’s what you’ll find in correctly processed emu oil:
Also known as omega 9 fatty acid, oleic acid helps reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol and increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol when consumed. When applied topically, this fatty acid assists in transdermal absorption of the oil and any substances mixed with it.
Linoleic acid or the omega 6 fatty acid inhibits the production of melanin and reduces the appearance of age spots and/or sun spots. Also, dermatologists recommend it for reduction of hyperpigmentation caused by excessive sun exposure.
The omega 3 fatty acid acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. It is often delivered orally to combat chronic inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and heart disease. Taken orally, it also helps to boost the growth, development, and overall health of the brain.
Working together, these polyunsaturated fatty acids help relieve joint pain, muscular pain, general inflammation, scars, wrinkles and blemishes by nourishing skin cells and promoting collagen development.
Additionally, an ample helping of vitamins and anti-oxidants provide even more benefits to skin, hair, nails and overall good health. The oil contains generous doses of vitamins A and E, along with polyphenol, flavones, carotenoids and phospholipids.
Vitamin E serves as a powerful anti-aging agent, which works by balancing cholesterol, fighting free radical damage and strengthening the walls of the capillaries within the skin. It also helps moisturize the skin and contributes to elasticity.
Vitamin A acts as an antioxidant and boosts the immune system to help prevent fungal, viral and bacterial infection.
How Do You Get Oil from Emus?
Throughout history, the Australian aboriginal people located flocks of emu and hunted them selectively taking only what they needed to supply oil, meat, skin, feathers and other necessities of their everyday lives. Just as Native Americans wasted no part of the buffalo, deer and other wild animals upon which they depended, native aboriginals also used every part of the emu. Even beaks and claws were used to make beads, buttons and other decorative items and fasteners.
The traditional way of extracting the oil from the emu skin was to hang the skin in the sun with a basin or other receptacle beneath to catch the oil as it dripped out.
Today emu are farmed in Australia and in many other parts of the world. Farmers raised them as livestock, and depending upon the size of the farm, the farmer himself may slaughter them or they will be sent away somewhere else for slaughtering and processing.
Processing involves extracting the oil from the skin and also from the thick layer of adipose, the fatty tissue located on the bird’s back. This thick layer of fat serves much the same purpose as a camel’s hump. It serves as a receptacle for the storage of calories and nourishment that the bird will use during lean times. [source]
In hopes of developing a non-fatal extraction method, researchers conducted some experimentations with extracting the fat from this “hump” using liposuction. However, this became unsuccessful. Although the actual process did not kill the birds, they got struck with sickness and died within a few days. For this reason, they raised the argument that subjecting an animal to liposuction appears more cruel than a quick, humane slaughter. [source]
Can Emu Oil Be Considered A Vegan Product?
Clearly, since this oil comes from living creatures it does not belong to the category of products vegans or vegetarians would want to use. People concerned about animal cruelty may also want to steer clear of this product. For vegans, jojoba oil comes as a good alternative. [source]
Seek out oil sourced from small farms where the birds own plenty of room to run, range free. and enjoy their lives for as long as they can instead of getting sent to a slaughterhouse. The trip to the abattoir can cause trauma and confusion to the birds resulting to injuries or deaths during transport. Commercial slaughter involves the breaking of the birds’ necks by machine.
If the birds received inadequate care or cruel treatment, the quality of oil and meat declines. In use, emu oil gets absorbed quickly and deeply by the human body. Any impurities or excesses of adrenaline or other hormones it may contain will also be absorbed.
How Will You Know If Farmed Emu Are Well-Treated?
Even though the American Emu Association (AEA) provides guidelines for humane treatment of farmed emus, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals expressed some concern regarding both their treatment in large commercial enterprises and methods of slaughter. [source]
Emu mature very slowly and are usually at least two years old at the time of slaughter. It makes an important practice to provide them plenty of care. All for the sake of experiencing humane, quality life before providing great quality of the oil and meat they produce.
To be well-cared-for, emu need lots of space to run and socialize with each other. Also, they need to free range for bugs, grass, and other natural sources of food. They also need good shelter, good feed, and plenty of water.
Emu Industry Promotional Video
Just as commercially raised chickens crowd dark spaces and receive mistreatment, this may also happen with commercially raised emus. Unscrupulous breeders may give the birds antibiotics on a regular basis to ward off illness caused by overcrowding. They may also treat the birds with hormones and give them genetically modified feed in an attempt to hasten their growth.
For all of these reasons, find a certified cruelty-free oil. In the United States, emu oils should come from manufacturers with license or approval from the AEA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This ensures the animals receive proper treatment and their oil went through proper extraction and other processes.
After the fat gets removed, the extraction proceeds with rinsing and draining of the fat pad before freezing it. Improper handling of the fat pad may cause contamination. Moreover, the oil rendered from the fat pad will receive heating, filtering, and refining for maximum purity. As a result, the oil maintains its light yellow color and gets easily absorbed by skin upon application.
Why Use Emu Oil?
With the tremendous investment of time and resources involved and the death of the bird, it may seem that it would hardly serve its purpose to properly gather and process emu oil. However, emu oil is an astonishingly valuable oil humanity can take advantage of in a wide variety of ways. Due to this, it comes as a worthwhile protocol to follow for anyone involved.
This rich, healing oil works excellently for protecting, moisturizing, and treating many skin conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, shingles and more. It contains powerful anti-inflammatory, highly moisturizing, non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic properties many skin types can easily absorb. [source]
Emu oil helps the skin build healthy new skin cells. This makes it an especially good choice as an anti-aging product or a treatment for a wide number of skin conditions including:
- Stretch Marks
- Canker Sores
- Sun Damage
It also serves as an important note that emu farmers do not usually slaughter the birds for their oil alone. The meat gives great value and makes a very healthy addition to an omnivorous diet. The skin is used to make leather similar to ostrich skin.
How Do You Use Emu Oil?
Many ways exist on how you can make good use of emu oil in your everyday life. It makes a wonderful addition to your skin, hair, and nail care routines. It also appears as an excellent choice for pain relief and wound healing, as well as a superb dietary supplement.
6 Ways To Use Emu Oil For The Skin
Improve Skin Texture
If your skin thinned as you age, apply emu oil to help boost collagen production and add moisture. The oil will nourish and plump-up the skin cells and stimulate the skin to produce more skin cells thus, reducing wrinkles resulting to a thicker, stronger skin.
Get Rid Of Under-Eye Circles
Troubled with dark circles under your eyes? Just add emu oil to a multi-step process to deal with them effectively. Naturally, you must get plenty of sleep to avoid dark circles under your eyes but this may not work enough.
If you are genetically predisposed to under-eye bags, you can deal with them by applying chilled compresses. Used tea bags (especially green tea) or chilled cucumber slices work well.
Apply the compresses for about 5 minutes. Follow up by gently massaging the delicate skin around your eyes with a few drops of emu oil to help relax the muscles, improve circulation and stimulate the lymphatic system. [source]
Because of its light texture and quick absorption, emu oil makes an excellent choice for oil cleansing for acne. Also, it works great in delivering essential oils such as tea tree oil and lavender oil, to medicate and heal the skin.
This light oil will not clog your pores. Instead, it will help reduce inflammation, moisturize the skin, and improve its texture. In addition to using emu oil for oil cleansing, you can also use it as a spot treatment for blemishes. Additionally, it helps reduce redness and speeds up healing.
Get Eczema Relief
After-bath moisturizing with emu oil has been found to be extremely helpful when dealing with the flaking, itching and redness caused by eczema. Some people say that once a day application is enough, but others find that it’s more helpful to use the oil several times daily. This is perfectly safe as emu oil is generally considered hypoallergenic.
Treat Cracked, Dry Skin
After-bath application is also an excellent idea for people living in cold, dry climates. The oil helps to reduce inflammation and increases cell production. It is especially effective when applied to challenging areas such as heels, knees, elbows and chapped cheeks and hands.
Pay special attention to dry, cracked heels. Treat yourself to a foot soak in a tub of warm water with Epsom salts. Rinse your feet with warm water and pat them dry. Use a pumice stone to scrub away flaking, dead skin. Massage your feet with olive oil and then apply pure emu oil directly to damaged, cracked areas of skin. Put on cotton socks to help the oil soak in deeply and put your feet up for at least an hour. This application with the Australian refined emu oil is an especially good treatment at bedtime.
3 Ways to Use Emu Oil For Hair & Nails
Heal Your Scalp
Because emu oil does absorb so deeply and so quickly, it is an excellent choice for soothing and healing your scalp. Its anti-inflammatory activity can help treat a wide variety of scalp conditions such as dandruff, centrifugal alopecia and more. Essential fatty acids and vitamins A and E help nourish your scalp and encourage collagen turnover and development which may promote new hair growth.
Condition Your Hair
Stroke a few drops of emu oil through your hair as a leave-in conditioner. The light oil absorbs quickly to nourish dry hair and smooth frizz.
Heal and Strengthen Nails and Cuticles
Apply a few drops of emu oil to your nails and cuticles every night at bedtime to help prevent hang-nails, soften your cuticles and nourish the nail bed for stronger healthier nails. Because of its anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties, emu oil is also an excellent treatment for problems such as nail fungus.
4 Ways To Use Emu Oil Topically For Healing
Topical application of emu oil is far more effective than topical application of almost any other kind of oil because it is so readily absorbed. When you apply emu oil to scratches, cuts, scrapes and even surgical incisions it delivers a healthy dose of unsaturated fats and nutrients deep into the skin. This stimulates the development of new skin and promotes quick healing with little or no scarring.
Chinese researchers have conducted some very thorough (if somewhat horrifying) research involving burn healing on rats. [source]
The results of this research found that use of emu oil on second degree burns promoted quick and thorough healing in the group of subjects that were treated especially when compared with the control group which did not recover.
The oil was found to increase the rate of skin renewal and decrease the accumulation of water in blisters that resulted from the burns. The oil also decreased inflammatory cell growth. Interestingly, these results were only attained when the oil was applied one or two days after the injury. It did not work well when applied immediately after the injury. [source]
Heal Virus-Induced Sores
Canker sores, cold sores, shingles and other types of sores that are caused by viral infection can be soothed and healed by direct application of emu oil. Naturally, the virus must run its course; however, use of the oil will help prevent pain, itching and resulting scarring.
Heal and Soothe Nasal Passages
If you do have a stuffy nose or if you tend to get nosebleeds, try using emu oil to moisturize your nasal passages. Its anti-inflammatory properties can help relieve swelling and make breathing easier. It’s moisturizing properties will help prevent cracked, dry mucous membranes and bleeding. [source]
3 Ways to Use Emu Oil To Massage Away Aches & Pains
Pain Relieving Body Massage
It’s easy to understand why emu oil is very popular with professional massage therapists. It is an excellent choice for use when massaging people with arthritis, muscle strains, sprains and other injuries. A massage with emu oil with or without the addition of other therapeutic essential oils can provide a great deal of relief for injury and chronic pain.
Soothe Aching Muscles
Serious athletes and weekend warriors alike can benefit from the use of emu oil to help relieve muscular inflammation caused by overexertion. On its own or in preparations such as Blue Emu, it delivers a great deal of relief and healing.
Blue Emu is a fine example of a product that makes good use of emu oil both as an active ingredient and as a carrier oil. This popular product is a combination of emu oil, aloe vera gel, methylsulfonylmethan (MSM) and glucosamine.
Aloe is well-known for its soothing and healing properties. MSM is frequently prescribed for treatment of chronic pain – especially arthritis pain. Glucosamine promotes cartilage health and is often prescribed for treatment of arthritis pain. The addition of emu oil to these three powerful ingredients gives their effectiveness a boost and helps speed and enhance delivery of those benefits.
The anti-inflammatory properties of emu oil alone can help reduce pain and inflammation in the joints. Massaging the oil directly into the joints several times a day can go far to diminish tenderness.
The fact that the oil does sink in so quickly and thoroughly means that it can also be used as a carrier to provide transdermal benefits using other oils and medications. For example, you might mix it with oil of peppermint or capsaicin to cool and soothe arthritis pain. [source]
3 Ways to Use Emu Oil For Mother & Baby
Prevent & Heal Stretch Marks
You can prevent and treat stretch marks with regular application of emu oil. Use the oil to moisturize the skin of your breasts, stomach, hips and thighs throughout your pregnancy and after delivery to prevent the development of stretch marks.
For existing stretch marks, moisturize daily – especially after bath or shower. Treating existing stretch marks can be a very slow process, so be patient. You may not be able to completely get rid of your stretch marks, but regular, daily use of emu oil will reduce their appearance.
Ease Breast-Feeding Pain
Breast-feeding can cause dry skin, cracked nipples, soreness and pain. To avoid these problems, moisturize the nipples with emu oil several times daily. Be sure to wipe the nipples clean with a warm damp cloth before feeding your baby since it may not be safe for an infant to ingest the oil.
Treat Diaper Rash
Because of its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal and healing properties emu oil is a natural choice as a diaper rash treatment. Even though it is considered to be generally hypoallergenic, you should naturally perform a patch test before using emu oil on a large area of your baby’s skin. Place a drop on your baby’s upper arm and allow it to soak in. Monitor the area closely for 24 hours. If no irritation occurs, you can safely use emu oil topically.
5 Ways To Use Emu Oil For Do It Yourself Remedies
Use As a Carrier
Emu oil’s biological compounds are very similar to those of your own skin. It is this quality that makes the oil such an excellent carrier for a wide variety of medicines and remedies. Unlike other animal fats, emu oil is a very good carrier oil because it does not contain any phosphorus and absorbs into the skin deeply and completely. [source]
Emu oil is an excellent soothing, curative oil on its own. It is able to break through skin barriers and penetrate the skin deeply and quickly, so it always pays to take care when mixing anything with emu oil. When you add carefully chosen essential oils you can create your own custom products that deliver deep healing transdermally. This is especially good for making anti-itch products, heating rubs and pain relief rubs.
Safe For Pets
If your pet is plagued by flea bites, emu oil can help ease the itching and speed healing. Protect your dog’s paw pads during very cold or hot weather by applying emu oil regularly to help thicken and soothe the skin. Add emu oil to your pet’s diet as a tonic to help treat inflammatory conditions and boost overall good health.
Emu oil contains terpenes which work to repel and disorient many insects. Applying emu oil to exposed areas of skin before you go outdoors may help keep bugs away. Be advised that the effects are not long-lasting. You will need to reapply the oil hourly.
Soothe Insect Bites
If you do get bitten by a mosquito or other insect, you can calm down the swelling, itching and pain by applying a few drops of emu oil.
Make Emu Oil Soap
If you make your own soap, experiment with using emu oil for part or all of the fat. The resulting soap moisturizes your skin deeply because of its rich linoleic and oleic fatty acid content along with vitamins E and A.
Soap made with emu oil is very soothing to dry skin and very effective as part of the treatment for skin conditions. Because emu oil is non-comedogenic it will not clog your pores or cause breakouts on acne prone skin.
6 Ways Emu Oil Helps You When Taken Orally
You can purchase emu oil as an oral supplement in capsule form. As an overall tonic, it’s hard to beat emu oil. It provides a tremendous amount of Omega three, six and nine fatty acids. The benefits of consuming emu oil include regulation of blood pressure levels, improved triglyceride levels, better control of diabetes and even help with weight loss. Taking emu oil orally as a dietary supplement is a great way to add metabolism boosting healthy fats to your diet.
Boost Your Immune System
Emu oil is filled with essential fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants that can help you build a stronger immune system. This can be a real boon in fighting off cold and flu viruses. Additionally, it can help you get through a cold or flu with less discomfort. Emu oil’s anti-inflammatory properties help soothe sore throats and stuffy noses.
When taken internally, emu oil can have a very positive effect on inflammatory conditions such as ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome. It can also be helpful in treating a wide variety of other inflammatory conditions such as inflammation of the ear, migraines, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints and other overuse injuries. A combination of use of emu oil is a dietary supplement and topical application can be very effective against swelling and pain associated with these problems.
Lower Cholesterol Levels
The Canadian Nutrition & Metabolism Research Group conducted a study in which they gave one group of participants olive oil supplements and another group emu oil supplements. The group receiving emu oil showed significantly lower and more greatly reduced cholesterol levels at the end of the three month trial.
Get a Healthy Gut
Much of your immune system is located in your gastrointestinal tract, so the fact that emu oil is so very healing and soothing to your gut naturally helps to improve your immune system. Additionally, the oil’s high linolenic acid content provides a very powerful treatment against the antibiotic-resistant infection, H pylori. This is the bacteria that causes a number of gastric diseases such as peptic ulcers, gastritis and gastric malignancy.
People who are undergoing radiation therapy for cancer often develop a condition known as chemotherapy -induced mucositis. This is very painful ulceration and inflammation of the mucous membranes of the digestive tract. Emu oil has been shown to help repair the damage done by this condition. For this reason, it is very often prescribed as a supplement for patients undergoing radiation therapy.
Does Emu Oil Have Any Side-Effects?
For the most part, emu oil is hypoallergenic and safe for use by people of all ages and degrees of sensitivity. Even so, as with all over-the-counter health, beauty and wellness products, you should exercise caution. Before applying the oil over a large area of skin, be sure to perform a patch test.
For adults, put a few drops of the oil on the thin skin of your inner forearm. Leave it in place for 24 hours and monitor for signs of irritation.
For children under the age of 12, apply a few drops (or a single drop in infants) to the outer skin of the upper arm. Leave it in place for 24 hours and monitor for irritation.
If no signs of irritation appear, you can safely use the oil.
As a supplement, be sure that the emu oil you choose is intended to be taken orally. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, be sure to consult your doctor before taking emu oil. Even though it is generally considered safe for people of all ages, you should be aware that no testing has been done to ascertain its safety for oral use in infants, so you must exercise extreme caution. [source]
Is All Emu Oil Alike?
The quality of emu oil can vary greatly depending on many factors. These include the conditions under which the emu were kept, the quality of their feed and the type of processing to which the oil was subjected. Unlike many other types of natural oil, highly refined emu oil is preferable because it contains a greater amount of fatty acids.
Be sure to check the source of any emu oil you purchase. Oil produced by small farmers is preferable to that produced by large companies. The best oil comes from animals that are well-cared for and humanely slaughtered. Look for cruelty-free emu oil.
Because the demand for emu oil has increased so greatly in the past few years, some larger companies are breeding and keeping the birds in inhumane conditions in an attempt to maximize their profits. Overcrowding and poor conditions always leads to sick livestock and parasite problems.
For this reason, you should always be certain that the oil you are purchasing comes from birds that have not been treated with vaccines and pesticides or fed growth hormones, antibiotics or genetically modified feeds. All of these contaminants are held in the fat of any animal, and emu oil is just emu fat. If you use oil that is sourced from poorly treated, unhealthy birds it will very efficiently convey that abuse to you.
Australian vs. American Emu Oil
Some people feel that it is safest to purchase only emu oil that has been sourced from Australian breeders; however, regulation of breeders in the United States has improved in recent years. The best US breeders are certified by the American Emu Association (AEA) which establishes guidelines on emu care.
To ensure the best quality when purchasing emu oil in the United States, look for certification by the American Emu Association. This will help you purchase with confidence knowing that the oil you are buying is pure and that the emus were handled humanely throughout their lives.
The AEA also maintains certification programs which allow for third-party verification of the stability, purity and composition of oils produced by their members. The agency conveys approval based on a number of criteria, including free fatty acid and water content, as well as the absence of contaminants such as germs, toxic metals, hormones, anti-biotics and pesticides.
US processing of the oil should be performed by an entity that is regulated by the FDA. When properly managed every step of the way, the final product should be 100% pure, safe and stable with a long and reliable shelf life.
What Is Emu Oil Good For?
Clearly adding emu oil to your daily health, beauty and wellness routine is a very smart choice. Always be sure to purchase oil that is 100 percent pure and natural, especially when you intend to use it as a supplement.
Once you have found a reliable source, stick with it. Don’t be tempted to try out bargains because you are very likely to encounter poor quality oils that have been mixed with other types of inferior oils.
Remember that emu oil enhances absorption of anything it is mixed with, so if your emu oil is mixed with petroleum products, alcohol, or other additives the result will be quick absorption of those impurities into your system.
When you choose emu oil that is certified cruelty-free and 100% pure and natural, you can be certain of safe use and great results.