Emu oil comes from the fat of the emu, a large, flightless, Australian bird. People farm emu in the U.S. for their meat, leather, and oil. Aboriginal Australians used emu oil as a treatment for pain and injuries.
Why do people take emu oil?
Some studies in animals have found that using emu oil on the skin may reduce swelling and speed up wound healing but more research is needed before it can be recommended. While untested, people also use emu oil on the skin to treat sore muscles and joints, athlete's foot, and other conditions.
As an oral supplement, some people take emu to try to reduce cholesterol. Some believe that the fatty acids in emu oil have health benefits, but most research has been done in the lab, so findings are preliminary.
For now, little is known about the benefits and risks of emu oil for people.
There's no standard dose for emu oil. Ask your doctor for advice.
Can you get emu oil naturally from foods?
Emu meat is available in the U.S. from farms and specialty shops.
What are the risks?
Tell your doctor about any supplements you’re taking, even if they’re natural. That way, your doctor can check on any potential side effects or interactions with medications.
- Side effects. Emu oil is not well-researched. Its side effects, if any, are unknown.
- Risks. The safety of emu oil is not known. Children and pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid it.
- Interactions. If you take any medicines regularly, you must check with your doctor before using emu oil. There's always a risk of drug interactions with any supplement.
Supplements are not regulated by the FDA the same way that medicines are. They are treated as foods and do not have to prove that they are safe or effective before being sold on the market.