Emu oil contains healthy fatty acids that may have cholesterol-lowing effects on the body. Although the research on emu oil specifically is limited, there is clear evidence that essential fatty acids, like those that come from fish oil, have cholesterol-lowing effects.
A study conducted by the Nutrition and Metabolism Research Group in Canada found that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation reduced plasma triglyceride levels after a three-month period without affecting LDL or HDL cholesterol levels. The linoleic acid found in emu oil is known to help with fat loss, which can also have a positive effect on cholesterol levels. (2)
2. Reduces Inflammation and Pain
Emu oil acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, helping relieve muscle and joint pain and improve the recovery of wounds or damaged skin. A study published in Inflammopharmacology found that when used topically, emu oil’s anti-inflammatory properties were just as effective as oral administration of ibuprofen. Because it has the ability to decrease swelling and minimize aching, it can be used to relieve the symptoms of carpal tunnel, arthritis, headaches, migraines and shin splints. (3)
3. Fights Infections and Boosts Immune System
The essential fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins within emu oil help prevent or treat infections when it’s applied topically. It also has bacteriostatic properties, giving it the ability to stop bacteria from reproducing. Research shows that the linolenic acid found in emu oil has the power to treat antibiotic-resistant infections, such as H. pylori, an infection that’s responsible for various gastric diseases, including gastritis, peptic ulcers and gastric malignancy. (4)
Because emu oil reduces irritation and inflammation, it can also be used to relieve cough and flu symptoms naturally. It also contains vitamin A and essential fatty acids, which are responsible for several immune system functions.
4. Benefits the Gastrointestinal System
The 2012 study conducted in Australia mentioned previously tested the therapeutic activity of emu oil on the gastrointestinal tracts of mice. Researchers found that it demonstrated partial protection against chemotherapy-induced mucositis, the painful inflammation and ulceration of the mucous membranes lining the digestive tract.
Mucositis usually occurs as an adverse effect of chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment for cancer. Based on these findings, researchers concluded that emu oil is able to improve intestinal repair, and it can form the basis of an adjunct to conventional treatment approaches for inflammatory disorders affecting the gastrointestinal system.
5. Improves Skin
Emu oil absorbs into the skin easily because it contains fat lipids that are similar to those found in the tip layer of the skin. The oil is also able to break through the barrier of the skin and penetrate deep within the surface, allowing it to act as a powerful moisturizer. It can be used to smooth rough elbows, knees and heels; soften the hands; and reduce itching and flakiness from dry skin.
Because of emu oil’s anti-inflammatory properties, it has the power to reduce swelling and a number of skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema. It also stimulates skin cell regeneration and circulation, so it can help those suffering from thinning skin or bed sores, plus it helps to reduce the appearance of scars, burns, stretch marks, wrinkles and sun damage.
Researchers in China investigated the effects of topical application of emu oil on wound healing in scalded rats. They found that it has anti-inflammatory activity, possibly in association with decreased levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokines in the tissues, and it can promote wound healing by inhibiting local inflammation. After applying emu oil, the swelling and effusion of the burn were alleviated, and there was no evidence of wound infection or adverse effects. (5)
6. Relieves Pain from Breast-Feeding
Topical application of emu oil can relieve painful, dry and cracked nipples that are experienced by mothers when they begin breast-feeding. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that applying emu oil to the areola is effective in soothing damage caused by breast-feeding. In the study, 70 at-term breast-feeding mothers used emu oil-based cream on the areola, and the treatment was effective in improving hydration of the area while it did not affect skin pH, temperature or elasticity. (6)
7. Promotes Healthy Hair and Nails
The antioxidants present in emu oil promote healthy hair and nails. The vitamin E helps reverse environmental damage to hair and promote circulation to the scalp. Emu oil can be used for the hair to add moisture and promote hair growth.
Experimental animal studies were performed to evaluate hair growth potential of emu oil, and researchers found that emu oil treatment exhibited a significant potency in promoting hair growth in comparison with a marketed 5 percent minioxidil solution. It’s also beneficial for the nails by moisturizing the cuticles and reducing inflammation that may be caused by a condition like toenail fungus. (7)