Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Copyright © 2013 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.
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.
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.
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.
One early study indicates that emu oil may be useful for cosmetic uses, like moisturization. Higher quality studies are needed.
*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 against this use (it may not work); F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).
The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. 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 health care professional.
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.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
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.
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.
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.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. 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.
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.
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).
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Agargun MY, Kara H, Ozbek H, et al. Restless legs syndrome induced by mirtazapine. J Clin Psychiatry 2002;63(12):1179. View Abstract
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. View Abstract
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. View Abstract
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. View Abstract
Gauthier M. Restless legs syndrome associated with mirtazapine (Remeron). Quebec Pharmacie (Canada) 2005;52.
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. View Abstract
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. View Abstract
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. View Abstract
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. View Abstract
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. View Abstract
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. View Abstract
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. View Abstract
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. View Abstract
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. View Abstract
Copyright © 2013 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.
March 22, 2017