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Emu Oil Benefits, Uses and Side Effects

Native to Australia, the emu is a type of large bird that looks strikingly similar to an ostrich. It may be decidedly odd-looking, but this flightless bird is known to be the source of an amazing therapeutic oil. If you study its anatomy, you’ll see that the emu has a thick padding of subcutaneous fat on its back that protects it from the sun’s heat. It’s this fatty layer that emu oil is derived from.

Australian Aborigines were the first to discover a wide range of emu oil benefits. For centuries, the Aborigines have relied it to treat different illnesses, thanks to its myriad medicinal properties. They’ve used it for a wide range of health conditions – from high blood pressure to skin disease. Emu oil is especially great for easing body pain and healing wounds.

Initially, early European settlers were baffled by the sight of emu skins hanging from trees. They discovered that the Aborigines were extracting the oil from the skins, before using the sun’s heat to melt it. Before long, these settlers had also started to enjoy emu oil benefits as they were impressed by its healing effects. There’s even a story that famous explorer Robert O’Hara Burke used the oil for his sunburn and was surprised that it healed his stiff elbow. These days, this oil is used as an ingredient of many cosmetic products such as lotions, soap, and lip balm.

The emu’s subcutaneous fat layer is located between the skin and the meat and spreads over its entire body. The most significant amount of fat is located on the back part of the emu. Under strict guidelines, the oil is separated from the skin and internal organs before being sent to the processing facilities. A typical mature bird yields about 15 to 20 lbs. of fat that is melted into roughly 6 liters of raw oil.

Emu Oil Properties

Anti-bacterial properties present in this oil are useful for fighting infections and stopping them from spreading. Emu oil is also bacteriostatic, which means no bacteria will be able to grow in it. This allows the oil product to last a long time.

Emu oil is non-comedogenic. This means that upon applying to the skin, the oil will not clog its pores and cause spots. Emu oil is highly penetrating due to high levels of oleic acid. It is also safe to use even if you have sensitive skin. Emu oil is very gentle that you can use it even on the areas around the eyes to minimize wrinkles.

This remarkable oil also has natural anti-inflammatory property. It is effective in treating inflammation and swelling of muscle tissues and joints.

Emu oil is an excellent emulsifier. It is capable of blending oil and water together, producing a cream that doesn’t leave a greasy feeling on the skin or scalp.

Emu oil’s moisturizing properties protect the skin and prevent a premature aging. Applying it to dry, aging skin will help increase its thickness by 2-3 times, reducing age spots and wrinkles noticeably.

Emu Oil Benefits and Applications

Emu oil benefits the body in a number of ways:

  • Skin care – When topically used, emu oil acts as a natural nutritional supplement for the skin. It helps thicken the skin and reduce age spots and wrinkles. It can moisturize dry, cracked skin and hasten the healing of cosmetic peel and stretch marks. Emu oil is also useful for treating acne as it can reduce redness and swelling effectively. Massaging a few drops of emu oil into the affected area is enough for you to feel its effects. It doesn’t leave an oily feel and residue as it penetrates the skin quickly.
  • Hair and scalp health – The fatty acids that emu oil contains make it effective for preventing dry hair and scalp issues. When used in combination with other essential oils such as rosemary oil, it can help stimulate circulation to promote hair growth. This will leave your hair healthy and look shiny and silky.
  • Wound healingStudies have shown that emu oils promotes cell regeneration when applied topically. It doesn’t just allow cuts and wounds to heal quickly, though. This oil also helps reduce scarring and dark spots. Many burn clinics use emu oil to repair skin and reduce scarring caused by burns. For skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema, it is recommended to use it several times a day for faster healing.
  • Pain reliever – The anti-inflammatory properties of emu oil are useful for arthritis and chronic pains. In fact, chiropractors recommend it for back and neck pain as the oil allows the muscles to relax before treatment. Massage therapists also use emu oil as therapy oil for clients with acute or chronic muscle pain. Even professional athletes use this oil for soothing sprains, injured joints and ligaments.
  • Weight control – Some oil manufacturers offer emu oil in capsule form. The essential fatty acids in it help stimulate metabolism, which boosts the body’s capability to burn stored fats. Omega-9 essential fatty acid, particularly, produces a satiating effect that gives you the feeling of fullness.
  • Digestive health – A recent study showed that the emu oil can treat a range of common bowel diseases and reverse intestinal damage due to chemotherapy.

The color and texture of emu oil depends on the bird’s diet. When the emu is allowed to run free and feed naturally, the produced oil is usually yellow in color. Emu oil possesses a natural creamy texture although, in warmer temperatures, it tends to liquefy. If you live in an area with cold climate, the oil may thicken. Simply place the bottle in a cup of warm water for several minutes to allow the oil to liquefy. In this form, the oil will penetrate the skin much easier. For faster results, you may apply the oil on the affected area several times a day.

Emu Oil Side Effects

Emu oil does not seem to produce any side effects, but always use a patch test if you suspect you’re sensitive to a particular oil.

Frances Masters

Frances Masters is a BACP accredited psychotherapist with over 30,000 client hours of experience. Follow her @fusioncoachuk, or visit The Integrated Coaching Academy for details about up coming training.