Emu Oil - So Many Uses
by Moira K. Wiley
There's oil in them emu and business is booming. The many uses of emu oil make up almost an A-Z list, ranging from acne to wrinkles. With approximately 90 different reported uses, this oil is one of the most versatile products on the market. Emu oil can be used as a food by-product, produced by rendering the fat from a pad on the bird's back. The fat, at room temperature, is a semi-solid fat, meaning it's a fat and oil mixture. This mixture is refined, sterilized, and deodorized and bottled in everything from facial creams to shampoos, and a multitude of other products.
Emu Oil Properties
Research indicates that emu oil is an all-natural substance that's almost 100% triglyceride, which means it's almost a completely neutral lipid. It may have tremendous medicinal and cosmetic possibilities as a base carrier and neutral emollient. Clinical experimentation by various doctors and scientists located in both the United States and Australia have shown that it's deep penetrating, an excellent emulsifier, anti-bacterial, hypoallergenic, and non-comedogenic. More and more medical specialists are discovering the beneficial properties of emu oil and are substituting it in their treatment techniques.
Probably one of the most important properties of emu oil is its deep penetration ability. Many investigations claim that emu oil has skin-penetrating properties and this ability has in it the basis for many new uses in the future. It could be combined with various medicinal or cosmetic materials to take them beneath the skin, and studies show it can be done relatively cheaper than the costly liposomes or iontophorisis now available. Some chiropractors and massage therapists use the oil for its penetrating ability to get into the muscles and relax them so customers benefit from the massage for a longer period of time.
As an emulsifier, emu oil is said to be excellent at blending oil and water together and producing a cream that doesn't feel oily on the skin. Many people find that most creams have a problem penetrating the skin, but since this oil can penetrate without leaving an oily residue behind, it may bode well for future cosmetic and pharmaceutical usage.
Studies at Auburn University and Texas Tech's Department of Dermatology and Biochemistry have shown the oil won't promote the growth of bacteria, making it antibacterial. This can be an important factor when being used on delicate skin, such as the skin of a burn victim who can't risk the possibility of a bacterial infection. Due to this anti-bacterial property, it's said that pure, uncontaminated emu oil also has a long shelf life.
Dr. Alex Zemtsov, Assistant Professor in the Department of Dermatology and Biochemistry at Texas Tech University's Health Science Center, and others, have discovered emu oil is hypoallergenic, giving it a low potential for irritating the skin. It's been shown to have almost no side effects. Even at full strength, the irritation level has been shown to be so low it's like putting water on the skin. This enhances its ability to work well as an anti-inflammatory rub, since many antiinflammatory drugs may be irritating or have negative side effects.
Lastly, several emu oil tests (including those at the University of Texas Medical School) revealed that it can be considered non-comedogenic, meaning it won't clog pores. In the cosmetic industry this is an important trait for a product to have. Mineral oil, a popular carrier oil in cosmetics and rubbing oils, can't make this claim, as it has been known to clog pores thus causing possible pimple outbreak.
Researchers have found many good, natural properties in emu oil. One of these is Vitamin E, a vitamin touted as a major anti-oxidant and healing agent. It also contains Vitamin A, a known skin repairer. Terpines, a known antiseptic, and sapogens, a proven skin softener, are also present. The oleic acid contained in the oil provides penetration through the skin and carrier effect, plus it's a proven skin cell regenerator and assists the skin in anti-wrinkling and anti-aging. The antiinflammatory properties in the linoleic acid found in emu oil has been used to ease muscle aches and joint pain and is a major anti-arthritic pain reliever.
Emu Oil Uses
Testimonials say this wondrous oil offers quick relief from insect bites and stings, cuts, scrapes and bruises, burns and sunburns, chapped lips, and other minor skin irritations and has been used effectively on diaper rash, warts, hemorrhoids, scars, stretch marks, hair and scalp problems, and as a skin soothing after-shave. Because of its reputed anti-inflammatory effects on skin tissue and deep penetration, many consumers find it helps provide fast, temporary relief from soreness, leg cramps, and other types of muscle aches, pains, and sprains. When used as a skin-hydrating product, users say it helps to promote natural healing, rejuvenates dry skin, freshens skin tissue, and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all of the uses found for emu oil.
Emu oil has been found to be very effective on burns of all types including, radiation burns caused by cancer treatment, first and second degree burns, and sunburns. Some doctors say it alleviates pain, enhances healing, and dramatically reduces scarring and blistering. Finding that patients recovered sooner and needed fewer skin grafts, the Hoho Burn Unit and the Shriner's Hospital in Galveston, Texas, are two of the hospitals worldwide which have used emu oil products.
Many professional athletes have found it to be an excellent pain reliever, but they aren't the only ones who can benefit from its powers of pain relief. Muscle strains, sprains, and injured ligaments have been claimed to ease with an emu oil massage. Arthritic pain and sports related injuries have been reported to respond well to the anti-inflammation properties found in emu oil. It acts much like an analgesic without any known negative side effects and is said to promote 50% faster healing. Many hospitals and professional football, basketball, and baseball teams use the oil touted as the "magic oil".
In the summertime, this versatile oil may come in handy during family vacations, especially outings such as fishing trips. Biting and stinging insects can spoil these types of activities and many products claim they can "take the bite out of outings” with emu oil.
Even baby can benefit from this exceptionally versatile product. Using the oil on diaper rashes seems to reduce irritation and inflammation of baby's sensitive skin, thus making life a little more bearable.
One of the most beneficial uses of this oil is its anti-aging effectiveness, demonstrated in a study at the Boston University School of Medicine. Many people dislike what time does to their skin and emu oil seems to be unsurpassed for its moisturizing properties. It's been said that it will diminish the appearance of fine lines, reduce wrinkles and sagging, and accelerate skin cell regeneration, thus improving the condition and appearance of skin. One of the effects of aging is the thinning of the skin. Clinical studies found that dry, aging skin increased in thickness as much as 14% when treated, giving the skin a more youthful appearance. Also, age spots and wrinkles have been noted to diminish noticeably.
The emu has gone from being a bird brought over from Australia as a zoo animal or exotic pet to becoming one of the most unique elements of alternative agriculture in the United States. Science is proving emu oil to be a modern miracle. Wrinkles, hair loss, and aches and pains are all part of growing old, but there is a way to fight back. Sports injuries, burns, and backaches are all part of life, but there is way to help alleviate the pain. Studies and research are ongoing, consumer testimonials are increasing, and more doctors in many different fields are beginning to use the oil in alternative medicine options. The secret to a healthier, more pain-free life may lie in the remarkable, totally usable bird...the emu.
Courtesy of Emu Today and Tomorrow, October 2001
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