Emu Oil Research Clinical Trials
Dr. George Hobday MD, from Brentwood, Western Australia conducted the
first recorded Emu oil research trials in Australia.
The following is an extract of his emu oil research clinical experiences and observations.
Dr Hobday - Emu Oil Clinical Experience:
I was initially introduced to emu oil by patients of mine who advocated its use in treating their skin. My immediate concern was to ensure that it was safe to be used.
I was aware of the past reputation of emu oil, but it is satisfying for me to find that on no occasion over the past ten years, having exposed the emu oil to over 500 patients, has any allergic reaction been reported to me and that during this time, with many patients using the oil over lengthy periods, it has been very rare for anyone to report that it had deteriorated or "gone off." Before recommending it I had tests done to identify its content, which showed it contained a variety of fatty acids, but no hormones or steroids. I had the emu oil tested for bacterial content and found that in its pure state, it grew no organisms. In addition, when made into a moisturizer, which is a mixture of emu oil, an emulsifier, and water, I had the cream challenged with four organisms (Staph Aureus, E Coli, Pseudoinonas, and Candida Albicans) in increasing quantities and compared with glycerol 10% in Sorbolene. The emu oil cream was found to withstand greater quantities of bacteria before growth took hold. Neither cream contained preservatives for this test.
From clinical experience with emu oil, It became obvious that its two major actions were anti-inflammatory and its ability to penetrate the skin. It also appeared to provide protection. How these actions occur and to what extent remains to be discovered.
Ten years of clinical usage
During this period, my experience with emu oil has been entirely confined to use on the skin. After advising patients of its experimental nature, I have prescribed emu oil for use in dry skin problems.
Its unique fatty acid composition makes Emu Oil an excellent ingredient for:
Moisturizing Creams and Lotions
Night Creams and Lotions
Eye Creams and Lotions
Eczema sufferers often complain that the moisturizers available on the market, such as glycerol 10% in Sorbolene, irritate their skin. I have found that emu oil, or creams made from emu oil, have often been of benefit and provide significant reduction of irritation and inflammation of the skin.
Emu oil does not appear to have the sufficient anti-inflammatory properties for use against inflamed eczema. However, it is a very useful follow-up to steroid treatment.
Massaging emu oil twice daily appears to significantly reduce recent keloid scarring and have an anti-inflammatory action against the formation of keloid tissue, but it does not seem to reduce old keloid scarring.
The use of emu cream or oil immediately on early blistering appears to hold great promise. Although trials have been limited, it seems to promote faster healing with less pain and scarring.
To date, use of emu oil on psoriasis has not been particularly effective, although some patients have reported some benefit.
The benefit of emu oil on joints to reduce, pain, swelling, and stiffness is most evident where the joint is close to the skin surface, such as hands, feet, knees, and elbows. Deep joints such as the hip do not appear to respond. Stiff joints, particularly as seen in hands, is one area where massaging emu oil is of considerable benefit. Whether this is due to it's anti-inflammatory, therefore, pain relieving property or whether this is due to another facet of the oil remains to be determined by research. The method used is to massage oil two or three times daily into the painful area and the use of a compress of oil overnight. The best compress I have made is to use approximately eight thicknesses of ordinary paper tissues folded to the size of the affected area on to which the oil is poured and spread like butter. The compress is backed with a slightly smaller sheet of light plastic. The compress is then bandaged over the painful area overnight. In practice I have found the oil not to deteriorate and the compress to be re-usable for several days with the daily addition of a little extra oil.
This painful condition usually experienced at 2 am in the knees of six year old children, is caused, I believe, by the active growing child over-stretching the ligaments and tendons around the knee. By day, the pump action of movement removes the reactive swelling area. At night, however, this swelling builds up, the child moves, cries from pain in the joint causing distress to the parents and frequently a visit to the doctor where investigations for arthritis may be done.
To date, as a result of massaging emu oil on the joint prior to the child going to sleep, no parents have returned to say their child is suffering from "growing pains"
Bruising and Muscle Pain
Emu oil appears to provide significant benefit to recerit bruising and muscle pain where the injury is relatively superficial. The treatment being the massage and compress combination previously described. Similarly sports related muscle strains have been significantly reduced with a post-exercise emu oil massage. Some trainers and masseurs are using this in preference to other oils, again indicating a superior anti-inflammatory action over commonly used embrocations.
Emu oil applied to epithelialized wounds appears to reduce scar tissue formation. Also, the anti-inflammatory action seems to soothe wounds after surgery. This has been very evident in coronary artery bypass graft operations where the greatest discomfort often comes from the leg from which the vein has been removed. In my experience, massaging emu oil onto this area two or three times per day has significantly speeded up the healing process and reduces, scarring.
As the emu oil used is sterile there is no concern with using it on any open area. I have encountered no ill effects from using emu oil on open areas such as a partially healed wound or abrasion.
Used for centuries by the original inhabitants of Australia, emu oil has reached a point of usage where further clinical studies need to be done to determine its true place in the medical armamentarium. To date, no true experimental work has been done. It is my hope that those skilled in research will take up this challenge and run with it as fast as the emu.
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