Emu oil claims to cure many conditions including arthritis, psoriasis and sunburn. But despite the fact that researchers across the globe are studying its makeup and benefits, emu oil is still largely unheard of by the modern Western population. Each day, we're learning more about what emu oil is, how it works and most important, what its benefits are.
The Australian aborigines have been using emu oil for hundreds, possibly even thousands of years for various purposes, including treatment for burns, bruises, joint pain, insect bites, sunburn and more. In fact, it was first introduced to Europeans as a natural sunscreen and skin moisturizer, but it wasn't popularized until relatively recently, when an article by Dr. Peter Ghosh published his findings about emu oil in the Australian Post in 1988.
What's In It
Emu oil comes from the back fat of emus, so there's a lot of fatty acids including omega-6 and omega-3. The largest component however, is oleic acid--a mono-unsaturated fatty acid. Because emu oil is lacking in phospholipids, it penetrates human skin rather easily, a characteristic that popularized its use as a topical analgesic. It also contains Vitamins A and E, known for helping maintain the skin.
Emu oil websites claim that emu oil cures everything from arthritis to hair loss. It may not be the cure-all some people want you to think it is, but emu oil has been found to be beneficial in its use as an anti-inflammatory, for treatment of sunburns, as an anti-aging cream (its consistency and texture are more creamy than oily) and can even help reduce stretch marks.
Benefits Over OTC/Prescription Creams
Some of emu oil's best traits are the ones least talked about. Assuming that the researchers who tout its medical benefits are correct, there are a few reasons to choose it over your regular over-the-counter topical creams. First, it's hypoallergenic, which means you won't have to worry about having any reactions to it. Another major benefit is that it doesn't promote the growth of bacteria and it also won't clog pores.
Why It Works
Emu oil penetrates the human skin extremely easily, making it very efficient. Part of the reason that it penetrates human skin so easily is its chemical composition. It's made mostly of fatty acids, and those fatty-acid properties are similar to those in humans. The main component, oleic acid, has been known to be used as a local anti-inflammatory. The second most abundant fatty acid in emu oil is linolenic acid, which has been proven to ease muscle and joint pain. It's also rich in antioxidants, which have been proven to reduce wrinkles.
How to Use Emu Oil on Hair
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