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Emu Research, Studies and Information


Biological Activity of Emu Oil

Robert Nicolosi, Subbiah Yoganathan, Thomas Wilson, Jajime Sasaki

University of Massachusetts

Lowell and the Forsyth Institute

Emu Oil is derived from the emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae), which originated in Australia. While many therapeutic benefits have been attributed to emu oil ranging from wound healing, anti-inflammation as well as anti-bacterial and anti-viral activity, there have been no published reports of these benefits. This presentation will report of the cholesterol lowering, anti-inflammatory and trans-dermal delivery properties of emu oil.



Evaluation of Emu Oil In Lubrication

and Treatment of Healed Burn Wounds,”


Dr. S. O’Banion & Dr. J. Griswold,

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Lubbock, Texas;

American Burn Association

Chicago, Illinois

March 18, 1998

The Anti-inflammatory Properties of Emu Oil in Treatment of Burn Wounds, in process.


Study To Determine If Emu Oil

Showed Anti-Inflammatory,

Anti-Arthritic Activity In Laboratory Animals


Dr. Peter Ghosh

Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, Australia

Dr. Michael Whitehouse

University of Adelaide, Australia



Reported results from their experiments indicated that "the most potent formulation was achieved when methyl salicylate (wintergreen oil), isopropanol and menthol were combined with emu oil" Apparently, a "synergistic effect was occurring between the emu oil and the methyl salicylate, for the anti-inflammatory activity of the combination was greater than the sum of either component when used alone (with isopropanol)."




Emu Oil as a Medicine Carrier


Dr. Paul C. Smith

Dr. Margaret Craig-Schmidt

Auburn University



Composition of Emu Oil: The Micro View


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.


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Emu Cream Assists Lidocaine:

Local Anesthetic Absorption Through Human Skin


88th AOCS Meeting, May 1997

Ratite Oils: Processing and Applications

Dr. William Code  


Summary: In his initial work with an emu oil based cream combined with spearmint oil and lidocaine, Dr. Code has found that this mixture appears to produce a reduced sensation in the skin as compared with another mixture of local anesthetics without emu oil. The goal is to reduce sensitivity to the skin in a safe, fast and effective way for procedures such as suturing or giving injections.




Influence of Emu Oil on Skin Thickness 
In Older Individuals


Dr. Leigh Hopkins
From presentation given at AOCS Ratite Oil session,

May 1998, Chicago Illinois




Moisturizing and Cosmetic
Properties Of Emu Oil:

A Double Blind Study


Presented at the AEA national convention in

Nashville, Tennessee. August 1994

Alexander Zemtsov, M.D., M.S.  Indiana Univ School of Medicine

Monica Gaddis, Ph.D.  Ball Memorial Hospital

Victor Montalvo-Lugo, M.S. Ball Memorial Hospital


A double-blind study on the moisturizing and cosmetic properties of the oil and its potential use in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry.




Results of Oil Research

January 1997


Michael Whitehouse, Department of Medicine
of Queensland 
Alexandra Hospital




Promotion Of Second Intention

Wound Healing By Emu Oil Lotion:

Comparative Results With Furasin, Polysporin, & Cortisone


MJ Politis

A Dmytrowich

Department of Medical Physiology

University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada




Comparative Hypocholesterolemic Effects Of Five Animal Oils In Cholesterol-Fed Rats


Fukushima M; Ohashi T; Sekikawa M; Nakano M

Department of Bioresource Science

Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine

Hokkaido, Japan

January 5, 1999




Fine Structure Of The Retinal Photoreceptors

Of The Emu

(Dromaius Novaehollandiae)


CR Braekevelt

Department of Zoology

University of Western Australia, Nedlands, Australia




Fine Structure Of The Basilar Papilla Of The Emu: Implications For The Evolution

Of Avian Hair-Cell Types


C Koppl; O Gleich; G Schwabedissen; E Siegl; GA Manley

Institut fur Zoologie der Technischen

Universit at M unchen, Garching, Germany

12 1998 Dec




Hair Cell Morphology And Innervation In The Basilar Papilla Of The Emu

(Dromaius Novaehollandiae)


FP Fischer

Institut fur Zoologie

Technische Universit at Munchen

Garching, Germany

24 1998 Jul




The Location Of Z- And W-Linked Marker Genes And Sequence On The Homomorphic Sex Chromosomes Of The Ostrich And The Emu


A Ogawa; K Murata; S Mizuno

Laboratory of Molecular Biology

Department of Applied Biological Chemistry

Faculty of Agriculture

Tohoku University

1998 Apr 14




Ratites (Ostrich, Emu) As Potential Heart Donors For Humans: Immunologic Considerations.


Taniguchi S; Neethling FA; Kobayashi T; Ye Y; Niekrasz M; Peters L; Koren E; Oriol R; Cooper DK,

Oklahoma Transplantation Institute,

Oklahoma City 73112, USA

1996 Apr




Fine Structure Of The Retinal Epithelium (RPE) Of The Emu

(Dromaius Novaehollandiae)


CR Braekevelt

Department of Zoology

University of Western Australia

Nedlands, Australia




Activity Of Primary Auditory Neurons In The Cochlear Ganglion Of The Emu (Dromaius Novaehollandiae): Spontaneous Discharge, Frequency Tuning, And Phase Locking


Manley GA; Koppl C; Yates GK ,

Institut fur Zoologie,

Technische Universit at Munchen,

Garching, Germany.

1997 Mar




Fatty Acid Analysis of Emu Oil


Margaret C. Craig-Schmidt, Ph.D.

Amanda Brown M.S.

Paul C. Smith, D.V.M., Ph.D.

Auburn University




Report on Emu Oil in the Rabbit Ear
Comedogenicity Testing


University of Texas Medical School at Houston

Dermatology Department. 

Occupational Dermatology Laboratory




Emu Oil(s): A Source of NonToxic
Transdermal Anti-Inflammatory Agents
In Aboriginal Medicine


By: Michael W. Whitehouse & Athol G. Turner
Dept. of Medicine, University of Queensland

 Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane Qld 4102, Australia, and

Dept. of Biological Sciences, Sydney

Institute of Technology, Ultimo NSW 2007, Australia




According to the Arthritis Foundation nearly 40 million people in the U.S. suffer from some form of arthritis. Arthritis is considered the nation's most chronic health problem costing Americans nearly 54.6 billion dollars in medical care and lost wages alone. It is projected that by the year 2020, nearly 59 million Americans may suffer the effects of arthritis.

Double Blind Placebo-Controlled Study

Using Emu Oil And Mineral Oil


Dr. Thom Leahey

Arthritis Clinic

Ardmore, Oklahoma 1995


Volunteers remained on any medicine they were using. Of those testing the emu oil 58% reported a significant reduction in pain, morning stiffness and swelling. Twelve percent of those using the placebo reported results. Proposed-Three month study, 500 participants diagnosed with arthritis in their hands. Using a dynamometer detect changes in the participant's gripping strength. Also test the sensitivity and number of tender and swollen joints. Volunteers must not take any arthritis medication for at least one month prior to the study.


Evaluation Of Emu Oils For Beneficial Effects When Applied To The Skin To Alleviate Both Local And Distal Pain And Inflammation

Dr. Michael Whitehouse

University of Adelaide, Australia



Principal findings consisted of (1) Emu oil varied considerably in their ability to suppress the arthritic inflammation; (2) Some oil samples were particularly effective in suppressing development of the rat polyarthritis; (3) Their anti-arthritic activity was enhanced by facilitating skin penetration using known/novel penetration enhancers, and (4) Potent concentrates could be prepared by solvent extraction and other fractionation procedures which were low in Triglycerides, contained a range of active molecules and under some conditions, consistently prevented development of the rat polyarthritis (in contrast to conventional anti-inflammatory drugs). Their findings also confirmed other evidence which suggested that different emu oils possessed different levels of potency.



Emu Oil And Hair Growth


Dr. Michael Holick, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor of Medicine, Physiology, and Dermatology

Boston University School of Medicine



According to an article by Dr. Holick and James F. Kinney appearing in Drug & Cosmetic Industry magazine in January 1996, the emu oil tested caused "about a 20% increase in the proliferative activity, or the growth activity of the skin, when we looked at the hair follicles, and the thickness of the skin, it showed that the hair follicles were much more robust, and that the skin thickness was remarkably increased, suggesting that (the emu oil tested) stimulated skin growth and hair growth in these animals. Also, we discovered in the same test that over 80% of hair follicles that had been asleep were waken up, and began growing hair." Additionally, the emu oil appeared to "enhance the skin's ability to withstand the rigors of colder climates" and to transform "rough, dry skin to a smooth and healthy appearance." Other observations noted that "In liniment base formulas," the oil showed evidence of being a "strong counterirritant in glyceryl monosterate/ethoxylated cetyl alcohol prototypes" that the performance of sun screen protectants was enhanced and that the emu oil "virtually eliminated" the frequency of ingrown beard problems in Afro-American panelists.



Research To Determine Antiviral Properties,

The Value Of Emu Oil On

The Body's Defense Against Disease


Dr. Charles Evans

National Cancer Institute

Bethesda, Maryland



The value of emu oil on the body's defense against disease and any potential cell toxicity of emu oil and its components - critical areas when developing internal uses of any compounds. Results have not been published.



Dr. John Griswold, Director - Timothy J. Harnar Burn Center University Medical Center, Lubbock, Texas 1996 - According to Griswold, as reported by the American Emu Association (AEA) News, "Care for the re-epithelialized burn wound is one of the most important steps in the total recovery of the burn patient. This care includes topical applications of burn salves to aid elasticity, lubrication and the continued physiological processes of healing of new and applied skin." Initial results released in February 1997 compiled over a nine-month period identified two outcomes: 1. Patient comments almost unanimously favored emu oil for the end result and during application; and 2. There was a unanimous and statistically significant difference noted in photographs taken of the wounds as far as reduction in scarring and inflammation.



Palatability Traits of Emu Meat By L. D. Thompson, D. R. Daniels, L. C. Hoover, M. F. Miller and C. R. Adams of Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.

Evaluation of the Chemical and Sensory Properties of Emu, Beef, and Turkey Jerky By M. A. Carr, D. R. Daniel, C. E. Yarbrough, J. D. Petrosky, M. F. Miller, and L D. Thompson.



The Oil From Flightless Emus May Heal Scars

By Jennifer Gish
Albany Times Union
Published September 22, 2005

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Dr. Jerome Chao wasn't entirely convinced about the restorative properties of emu oil until he gave some to a dog-bite victim whose facial scarring looked like it would eventually require corrective surgery.

But when the patient returned three months later and the long scar was barely noticeable, the Albany plastic surgeon began wondering if there wasn't something to this product extracted from a big, flightless, unbelievably utilitarian bird.

Pretty much every part of the emu can be used for some commercial purpose, such as low-fat, high-protein meat or attractive leather, industry experts say.

They say Aborigines first used emu oil for healing, but its anti-inflammatory abilities were realized with 1993 studies by Australian researchers. More research and emu-oil products followed.

The bird's oil, derived from a deposit of fat on its back, is already used in a popular pain-reducing salve.

Now, Chao is hoping Albany Medical College, where he's a clinical assistant professor of surgery, will bless his study on whether the oil may reduce scarring after breast surgeries.

Chao said as soon as he gets approval from a review board at the college, he will ask patient volunteers to apply emu oil to their scars. He expects to have a report within 18 months to two years, with some preliminary results available in six months.

But he wants to prove its worth for certain, which is why he'll do an official study with the college's backing.

Chao's interest in the oil started when a friend in the medical industry told him about it. The friend also hooked him up with a supplier.

So far, the oil has proven more effective than other scar-reducing lotions and creams, Chao said. But his more formal patient study should say more.

The anti-inflammatory properties of the fatty-acid-rich oil seem to be key to reducing the appearance of scars if used within two to three weeks after surgery, he said.

"For young kids to older retirees, they ask me for anything I can do to reduce the appearance of scars," Chao said.

So far, he said, it appears the oil works best on new scars.

…..Chao said if his study proves the oil's worth, he can see it being used on all kinds of patients, from burn victims to face-lift recipients.

Copyright © 2005, Chicago Tribune


Encephalitis Research on South Florida Emus. By Jonathan F. Day, Lillian Stark and William Kohl Institute of Food and Agricultural Science, University of Florida.

U.S. Emu Population Census and Growth Projection Study and American Emu Association Member Study. By Dr. Cindy R. Ford, Former Chair Department of Statistical Science at Southern Methodist University.

Establishment of Reference Values for Emus. Allen Williams, Ph.D., William Green, D.V.M., Lincoln Berrio, Ph.D. and Mary Jean Fontenot; Louisiana Tech University, Agricultural Sciences.

Studies and research information provided from data published by the American Emu Association, Canyon Group Corporation, Emu Rachers Inc., Emu Marketing Unlimited, Peter Clark, Texas Tech University, Auburn University and Boston University.