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Emu oil

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Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • Australian emu, Casuariidae (family), Dromaius novaehollandiae, emu oil cream, emu oil lotion, oleic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, omega-9 fatty acids, ratite, Thunder Ridge Emu Oil.

Background
  • Emu oil is the refined and deodorized oil made from the back fat of the emu. Emu oil was used by the aboriginal tribes of Australia to protect against sun damage and was then introduced to European settlers.
  • Emu oil is now recommended by manufacturers for improving arthritis, burns, cuts, eczema, hair loss, high cholesterol, nosebleeds, psoriasis, skin softness, and stretch marks. However, currently there is not enough evidence available in humans to support the use of emu oil for any indication.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *


One early study indicates that emu oil may be useful for cosmetic uses, like moisturization. Higher quality studies are needed.

C
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Alopecia (hair loss), antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, arthritis, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), bruising, burns, cirrhosis (liver disease), cramps, dermatitis, dysmenorrhea (painful menstrual period), eczema, gastrointestinal conditions, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hot flashes, joint pain, leg ulcers, muscle pain, nosebleeds, pain, psoriasis, reproductive disorders (female), skin conditions, stretch marks, sun protection, tumors, wound healing.

Dosing

Adults (over 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for emu oil in adults.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for emu oil in children.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to emus (Dromaius novaehollandiae), emu oil, or its constituents.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Emu oil is likely safe when applied to the skin in healthy people short-term.
  • Restless leg syndrome has been associated with emu oil, although not well proven.
  • Use cautiously if taking anti-inflammatory agents.
  • Avoid if with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to emus (Dromaius novaehollandiae), emu oil, or its constituents.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

  • Emu oil is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • Emu oil applied to the skin may reduce local, short-term inflammation and therefore have additive effects with anti-inflammatory drugs.

Interactions with Herbs & Dietary Supplements

  • Emu oil applied to the skin may reduce local, short-term inflammation and therefore have additive effects with anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements.

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. Agargun MY, Kara H, Ozbek H, et al. Restless legs syndrome induced by mirtazapine. J Clin Psychiatry 2002;63(12):1179.
  2. Bahk WM, Pae CU, Chae JH, et al. Mirtazapine may have the propensity for developing a restless legs syndrome? A case report. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2002;56(2):209-210.
  3. Chang CC, Shiah IS, Chang HA, et al. Does domperidone potentiate mirtazapine-associated restless legs syndrome? Prog Neuropsychopharmacol.Biol Psychiatry 2006;30(2):316-318.
  4. Fukushima M, Ohashi T, Sekikawa M, et al. Comparative hypocholesterolemic effects of five animal oils in cholesterol-fed rats. Biosci.Biotechnol.Biochem 1999;63(1):202-205.
  5. Gauthier M. Restless legs syndrome associated with mirtazapine (Remeron). Quebec Pharmacie (Canada) 2005;52.
  6. Li ZQ, Wang JH, Ren JL, et al. [Effects of topical emu oil on wound healing in scalded rats]. Di Yi.Jun.Yi.Da Xue.Xue.Bao. 2004;24(11):1255-1256.
  7. Lopez A, Sims DE, Ablett RF, et al. Effect of emu oil on auricular inflammation induced with croton oil in mice. Am J Vet.Res 1999;60(12):1558-1561.
  8. Miller GH, Fogel ML, Magee JW, et al. Ecosystem collapse in Pleistocene Australia and a human role in megafaunal extinction. Science 7-8-2005;309(5732):287-290.
  9. Politis MJ, Dmytrowich A. Promotion of second intention wound healing by emu oil lotion: comparative results with furasin, polysporin, and cortisone. Plast.Reconstr.Surg 1998;102(7):2404-2407.
  10. Prospero-Garcia KA, Torres-Ruiz A, Ramirez-Bermudez J, et al. Fluoxetine-mirtazapine interaction may induce restless legs syndrome: report of 3 cases from a clinical trial. J Clin Psychiatry 2006;67(11):1820.
  11. Qiu XW, Wang JH, Fang XW, et al. [Anti-inflammatory activity and healing-promoting effects of topical application of emu oil on wound in scalded rats]. Di Yi.Jun.Yi.Da Xue.Xue.Bao. 2005;25(4):407-410.
  12. Teive HA, de Quadros A, Barros FC, et al. [Worsening of autosomal dominant restless legs syndrome after use of mirtazapine: case report]. Arq Neuropsiquiatr. 2002;60(4):1025-1029.
  13. Yoganathan S, Nicolosi R, Wilson T, et al. Antagonism of croton oil inflammation by topical emu oil in CD-1 mice. Lipids 2003;38(6):603-607.
  14. Zemtsov A, Gaddis M, Montalvo-Lugo VM. Moisturizing and cosmetic properties of emu oil: a pilot double blind study. Australas.J.Dermatol. 1996;37(3):159-161.

Copyright 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.