Results of Oil Research
Whitehouse, Department of Medicine,
University of Queensland,
Princess Alexandra Hospital,
Late last year I started testing some oil
samples that had been supplied by Peter Thompson (Qld),
John Snowden (WA) and Greg Barowski (VIC) to
assist us with research into the differences in arthritis treatment in emu
oil. In the last 12 months we have
tested about 40 samples and have obtained some interesting results.
This research has primarily involved emus
sourced in Queensland and much encouragement from Peter Thompson, John and
Fay Spencer, and it would also not have been possible without assistance from
Craig Davis of Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Desley Butters and Athol Turner. Whilst this work would not have been
possible without their help, there is no way that the challenges
confronting the research needs of emu oil will be satisfied if we continue
to rely on this level of funding and assistance.
I therefore applaud these people for
agreeing to let me indicate the results form what
I have been doing. Following
therefore is an overview of what we have been trying to do and a summary of
results to date. It is too early to
draw any conclusions other than to state that there is a
very large variation in the anti-inflammatory potency of emu oil samples
that I have tested to date.
My colleague in the Hospital, Dr. Sherree
Cross, and Dr. Snowden (Ag. West, S Perth)
will be looking at the wound healing potential of some of these oils to see
if this correlates with the anti-inflammatory activity.
Further research is needed and I am
extremely please to know that Peter will be
setting up several pens for different nutritional regimes so that we can
follow these through in a few months time to see what, if any, variation we
find in the medicinal potential of the oils.
The major objective of the research has
been to find a source of oil with a consistent high level of biological
activity that we can use as a benchmark for further testing and for
development of a chemical test that does not require the use of rats. Dependence on rats for testing for beneficial
medicinal properties is not only expensive and time consuming but likely to
be limited due to the pressures associated with animal rights pressure
Having had the opportunity to test
samples where we know the whole history of the birds that the fat has been
supplied form has been an essential prerequisite for these trials. Also knowledge that we will be able to
source additional birds form the same supplier when we locate the ideal
outcome has been equally as important.
Results of this research have revealed a large variation different samples. Based on our scoring system which
provides an overall anti-arthritis score of from 1 to 100, we have obtained
results ranging from 0 to 81.
Whilst it is too early to draw
conclusions as to what conditions or prerequisites provide the best oil in
terms of biological activity (particularly for treating arthritis) we have
been rather dismayed by the large variation in samples.
The samples tested have included
differences based on genetic background (ie Queensland of West
Australian origin), nutritional regime (ie
several proprietary mixes with and without access to pasture as well as
straight native vegetation);
Native of farmed;
Gut versus back fat.
We have also tested oils which are
commercially available in the UK, USA, Canada, and sourced from five
In concluding this article I would like
to make a special appeal for the Industry as a whole to get behind this
research. If we are unable to get
national funding for the work that needs to be done, individuals, such as
those who have so far contributed to this research, will be forced to keep
any information obtained to themselves to enable them to be remunerated for