For generations, the Aborigines in Australia have used emu oil as a skin-care remedy. Since it is still fairly new to the Western world there are some questions about its potential uses in the lucrative cosmetic and medical industries. However, there are also many questions about the potential risks and whether it is truly safe to use as topical treatment.
Australian emus are the second-largest birds in the world and are believed to have roamed the Earth during prehistoric times. These unique birds are originally from Australia but a growing breeding industry in Canada has emerged in recent years. The Aborigines were the first to discover the emus' value. Not only did emus provide food and clothing for the natives of Australia, but they also provided healing benefits. The Aborigines would hang the carcasses upside down in the blazing sun of the Outback, where the heat would melt the fat from the skin of the bird and it liquefied into an oil. The Aborigines would then use the oil for joint pains and to heal wounds.
Emu oil is extracted from the fat on the bird's back. It contains vitamins A and E, both known for being antioxidants and remedies for cuts and wounds. It also has linoleic acid, which is the ingredient in the oil that makes it a good source for healing joint and muscle pains. Sapogens are also present in emu oil, giving it moisturizing benefits. Additionally, it contains terpines, so it has antiseptic qualities to help prevent infections on open wounds. Finally, emu oil has oleic acid, known to be an excellent source for stimulating skin cell turnover and thus a key ingredient in anti-aging creams.
Types of emu oil on the market
Emu oil is sold in various forms on the Internet and in natural health food stores. One is brown emu oil, which may contain peroxides and is usually of poor quality. Blue emu oil is the best form for relieving joint and muscle pain. Natural emu oil merely indicates that it has been truly derived from the animal; some other so-called emu oils are artificially produced and are not technically of animal origin. Triple refined emu oil has been refined and molecularly distilled to extract only the parts of the oil that are beneficial with as little fat as possible.
As noted earlier, emu oil can be used as a pain reliever for muscle and joint pains. It can also be used to combat infections on an open cut or wound. The oil additionally softens the skin, contains several antioxidants and is non-comedogenic, making it an excellent candidate for anti-wrinkle products.
As of the latest research there are no known harmful side effects of emu oil. However it is also unclear what effects it may have on pregnant women or women who are lactating, so they should avoid the use of emu oil until it is clear. Finally, although the oil is non-comedogenic, meaning that it will not clog pores, it is still unclear if it has negative effects on acne. It is suggested that those prone to acne avoid it until further research is done.