Emu Oil Research
Yes! Just few examples...
Research has been done at Auburn, Texas Tech, LSU , and Vanderbilt. Auburn studied the penetrating qualities , Texas Tech studied Emu Oil used in burns. Research has found that Emu Oil will actually thicken the skin.
Dr. Code presented a presentation at the AOCS meeting using Emu Oil as an carrier for lidocaine. Emu Oil was found to improve the time for lidocaine to penetrate by 3 times faster.
Burn Study Results; compiled from research by Harner Burn Center; working with American Emu Association (AEA) and Dr. John Griswold, Director of Timothy J. Harnar Burn Centre.
In More Detail
At the 1996 11th World Congress of Anaesthesiologists in Australia, Dr. Code presented a paper entitled "Non-Opiate Centrally Acting Analgesics." As part of this paper, he introduced Emu Oil and its anti-inflammatory properties to the orthodox medical establishment. It seemed the perfect stage to present Emu Oil. Emu Oil has been used for centuries by Australian aborigines for wound healing and for its other medicinal properties.
The Emu is a fascinating bird--a descendent of the dinosaur and a species virtually unchanged in the past 80 million years. In the search for "new" medicines and nutritional sources, the Emu provides us with many of the properties that we, as humans, require in our quest for optimum health. The Emu is unique in its reproductive behaviour and physiology. The birds develop a fat pad, which stores enough nutrition to see the bird through its annual nest-sitting cycle. The male sits on the eggs for 52 days. In that time, his temperature drops by 2°C and he doesn't eat, drink, or defecate. Congress delegates heard how this fat pad is replenished and stored annually. This adipose tissue can be harvested and processed so that it can penetrate human skin.
In 1996, anaesthesiologists were already delivering drugs and other agents transdermally (through the skin's surface). Dr. Code suggested that Emu Oil could be used as a topically-applied anti-inflammatory. He also outlined the original patent filed in the U.S. in November, 1911, by Australian scientists--so-called Australian "inventors" -- Peter Ghosh, Michael Whitehouse, Michael Dawson, and A.G. Turner. These scientists originally believed that the polyunsaturated fatty acid was the active component in Emu Oil. However, their study showed that the active principle seemed to be tint yellow components in the oil which possessed the remarkable prophylactic and anti-inflammatory immuno-regulant activity. It also showed Emu Oil's ability to modulate disease once it had already started.
Dr. Code realized that this was a very new concept for medicine. He expected peer review studies would be forthcoming, and they have continued to turn up in the scientific literature.
"Moisturizing and Cosmetic Properties of Emu Oil: A Double Blind Study". Presented at the AEA National Convention in Nashville, Tennessee. August, 1994. By Alexander Zenstov, M.D., N.S., Indiana University School of Medicine, Monica Gaddis, Ph. D., Ball Memorial Hospital Montalvo-Lugo, M.S. and Ball Memorial Hospital
Cosmetic and moisturizing properties of Emu Oil were assessed in a double blind clinical study. Emu Oil, in comparison with mineral oils, was found overall to be more cosmetically acceptable (p<0.05) and had better skin penetration/permeability (p>0.05). Furthermore, it appears that Emu Oil, in comparison with mineral oil has better moisturizing properties, superior texture, and lower incidence of comedogenicity, but probably because of the small sample size these differences were not found to be statistically significant (p<0.05). Neither of the oils were found to be irritating to the skin. Finally, Emu Oil fatty acid composition was studied by gas chromatography and was found to have high concentration of non polar monounsaturated fatty acids, which may explain Emu Oil's ability to penetrate easily through the stratum corneum barrier.
Results showed that Emu Oil overall ranking and permeability was found to be clearly superior to mineral oil. The differences in skin penetration/permeability and overall ranking were statistically significant (p<0.05), It also appears that Emu Oil texture and moisturizing properties as judged by the participants in the study were also superior to mineral oil, but the differences cannot be considered to be statistically significant (p<0.05). The sample size in this study was small (11). When the participants of the study were asked which of the two oils they liked better, all 11 subjects ( 100% ) stated they liked the Emu Oil better.
The next study was published in January, 1996 in the Drug and Cosmetic Industry Journal. It was an article discussing Kalaya oil and cosmetics. Kalaya is an aboriginal word for Emu, and this was trademarked in the United States. They admit in the article that it is actually just Emu Oil. This article was originally written by Michael F. Holick, Ph.D., M.D., of Boston University Medical Centre and James F Kinney, M.S., M.B., of San Mar Laboratories.
It stated that the indigenous people of Australia had appreciated or discovered that the healing and magical powers of the oil of the Emu was quite useful to them. In fact, when Dr. Code was in Australia, he saw that it was often a major part of their dances, folklore, and culture. Emu Oil was shown to be useful any time there was an injury. They would cut off a piece of fat and apply it to the skin for healing, with dramatic benefits. Of course, this was shown to the white man. They also use it for the treatment of muscle and joint disorders.
After that, Emu Oil was starting to become more widely known. The article (in the Drug and Cosmetic Industry Journal) summarizes a pilot pre-clinical animal study of oil done at the Boston University Medical Centre. Specifically, Holick and his colleagues were looking at new products that would enhance skin and hair growth. They described the skin as being a complex tissue that contains in its upper layer the epidermis. This layer produces a very thin layer on the skin, the stratum corneum. This is the outer covering that serves as a barrier preventing moisture loss from the skin. It also serves as a barrier to harmful or toxic substances entering the body. We are trying to enhance this "protection" when we use carrying agents such as Emu Oil or DMSO.
Below the epidermis is the dermis, which houses a series of different structures, including the hair follicle. As we age, there are a lot of changes in both the upper and lower levels of the skin. One major change is dryness. We notice dryness as either roughness, scaliness, wrinkling, or laxity (so-called "looseness")--non-tethered skin. The majority of these changes occur in the epidermis. There is a loss of epidermal "fingers" that penetrate into the dermis. You can think of these as tent-like pegs that extend from one layer, tethering it to the lower layer. These epidermal 'fingers' are called rete pegs. They are important because they tether the skin across the surface between the two layers. As they start to disappear, the skin becomes more mobile. Also, the skin does not get nutrition as well from below and also undergoes a thinning. Holick's study went on to show that Emu Oil when compared to corn oil, was much better at returning the "regrowth" of these rete pegs. They noted that both skin thickness and health improved with the use of Emu Oil.
The major changes that occur in the lower base of the skin is that 20% of dermal thickness is lost in older individuals. This accounts for the paper-thin skin of the elderly or chronically ill. There is also a decrease in the amount of elastin fibres, which provide elasticity to the skin, causing the skin to be less resilient. Hence the search for an ideal topical moisturizer that would help aging skin reverse its dryness and scaling by enhancing the ability of the skin's upper layers to retain water. It would be best if this product could also get into the epidermis and stimulate growth cells. This would allow it to enhance the length of the rete pegs or help restart them. Emu Oil, they found, could increase skin thickness by 30ì/P>
In their study they used a mouse model. They studied hair growth by histologic (under slides and microscopes) analysis. The hair follicles had an enhanced progression from their resting or sleeping state (known as telogen) to a more active enhanced growth or proliferative state called the anagen state. They concluded that Emu Oil enhanced the growth activity of the skin and also stimulated resting hair follicles to proliferate and grow. They went on to say that you couldn't directly move from this animal study to humans, but it was very suggestive toward this possibility. Holick went on to describe previous work by other researchers on the changing composition of the lipid (or oil) types from the different layers of skin (i.e. from the bottom to the top, or from the derma to the epidermis). There was an increasing amount of longer chain fatty acids. This is the body taking the two essential fatty acids (EFAs) that we all need (omega-3 and omega-6) and combining them to make a longer chain fatty acid. What this means is that we don't need to eat that particular longer chain fatty acid as long as we get adequate amounts of the building blocks, i.e., the omega-3 and omega-6 EFA's. It is this shift towards longer chain fatty acids which tends to enhance the hydrophobicity (water held in) as a natural moisture barrier.
In drier and elderly skin, this higher fatty acid composition and secondary decrease in phospholipids permits a larger, more visible stratum corneum. This may be a similar condition to what actually happens in people when they get flaking of skin, commonly known as dandruff. In his article, Holick suggested that the composition of Emu Oil seemed to be fairly close to the lipid (fat) portion of the skin's stratum corneum. This may be part of the reason Emu Oil is able to penetrate so well. He went on to describe that Emu Oil, when applied to the skin, enhances the skin's ability to withstand the harshness of colder and drier climates. In fact, tests with a group of skiers showed little or no more weathering than normally observed on the face and other exposed skin.
Holick also outlined that when Emu Oil was used with colour-treated hair, the hair was more manageable, less brittle, easier to comb and had a much richer, deeper, more natural colour. In statements from hairstylists who use Emu Oil regularly in hair colouring, a few drops of oil per batch of dye produces a much deeper and more rapid uptake of dye into the hair. This also fits with the studies in other animals and repeated observations where injured hair (for example in a horse) will recover more quickly. Also, instead of coming back as white hair (originally naturally pigmented), it comes back in its original colour, immediately following treatment.
The article went on to say that Emu Oil works very well in combination with other phospholipids. This would include both the entrapped portion of the liposome (which is a sort of small, manufactured fat globule) and with individual blends of other oils such as palm, sesame, safflower, borage, and coconut-derived phospholipids. Therefore, it is felt that Emu Oil would be an excellent additive in health and beauty aid treatments. Emu Oil provides cosmetic chemists with a unique tool for improving hair, skin, and other over-the-counter products.
The article also states that Emu Oil can actually replace or enhance some of the components already in shampoos, specifically ammonium laurel sulphate, which provides a rich, silky feel. Using Emu Oil provides a more natural and healthier outcome.
The article talks about eye care creams. The skin around the eyes is particularly thin and blood supply to it is very good. This skin changes quickly in allergic reactions and when exposed to irritants. It swells quickly and is prone to dark circles and premature thinning (wrinkles). This explains why people tend to have eye "tucks" or injections of collagen much sooner than anywhere else. Alpha hydroxy acid, a common ingredient in many of today's over-the counter skin products, actually causes a degree of chemical burn. Emu Oil works superbly well on burns, taking away not only pain, but also enhancing healing and recovery of the skin from the chemical burn.
Emu Oil is increasingly being used as a sunscreen protectant in both Australia and in North America. Holick believes the oil "locks-down" UVA/UVB absorbents more firmly to the skin, and therefore enhances the longevity of the sun protection. Dr. Code suspects that sometime in the near future we will be putting less of the sunscreen protectants on our skin. The reasons are twofold:
(1) Because of our anxiety of their chemical origin; and
(2) Because sunscreens do not protect against the very serious death causing skin cancer: malignant melanoma.
Be that as it may, Dr. Code has supplied the oil to many friends and clients. They have had a superb recovery from sunburn and sun irritation, even without sunblock. The actual ultraviolet protection of the oil all by itself is only in the range of 1:2, which is very low on the sunblock scale. Therefore, must be working by another mechanism other than blocking the sun. In Chapter 5 of “Youth Renewed”, we tell you about a man who cycled 5,000 miles across Canada in the middle of summer. He rode 9 to 12 hours per day, using no sunscreen whatsoever, did not wear a ball cap, and applied Emu Oil several times a day. He did not sustain any burns whatsoever and in fact had an even tan. This is an individual who typically would burn out in the sun, but was able to solve, prevent, or calm down the sunburn effects with Emu Oil alone.
Holick also describes how Emu Oil prototypes, when included in skin moisturizing creams and body lotions, completely outscored their placebo counterparts in providing both visible and feel benefits to all skin types. This was particularly evident after repeated hand washings (which removes our body's oils markedly). Further, Emu Oil panel testings gave very encouraging results in the daily needs category. This included shower gel, bath oil, and shaving cream products, which were examined for extended periods. In both the bath oil and shower gel, the Emu Oil-containing products were particularly effective in transforming roughened elbow, knee, and heel areas into silky, smooth skin.
The use of shaving cream with Emu Oil had very pleasing results for both men and women. In all cases of use, the Emu Oil component appeared to dramatically soften the beard and protect the skin during and after shaving. The occurrence of ingrown beard problems in the African-American panellists was almost completely eliminated after three applications of the shaving cream containing Emu Oil. Dr. Bill Code, too, has found that a small amount of Emu Oil with his favourite shaving gel or cream (you can use any brand) greatly enhances the slip and comfort of shaving. At the same time, it prolongs the life of the blade and enhances the comfort of shaving, both during and after. This has been repeatedly described by both men and women, even in dry, cold climates such as the Canadian prairies.
Radiation Burns and Chemical Burns From Chemotherapy
A 42-year old gentleman with severe lymphoma had repeated chemotherapy sessions. He was experiencing a large number of mouth ulcers which were very painful. This is not surprising as the cells which most rapidly divide, such as the cells inside the mouth, are injured as a result of chemotherapy. After rinsing his mouth with Emu Oil several times, the ulcers began to heal and the pain subsided. Subsequent to this, we have suggested it to a number of chemotherapy patients for mouth sores and mouth problems. Fortunately, it also works very well on cold sores (a herpes simplex ulcer). It settles these down very quickly and allows the body to heal. More importantly, it alleviates the pain.
Dr. Code has another written testimonial from his father who died of lymphoma at age 79. He had had a large number of radiation treatments and suffered radiation burns to his upper neck and face. By applying Emu Oil, he could get 50 to 90 minutes of relief. He used it on repeated occasions. But some of the technicians at the facility where he was receiving his treatments said one mustn't apply anything but baby oil, which is a type of mineral oil. Dr. Code thinks the anxiety comes from the fact that there may be some oils with components of metals or other "focusing" entities which would worsen the burn on some parts of the skin if they were applied prior to radiation therapy. This is a very common and painful problem. Often, the pain requires narcotics (opiates) to treat it. Wouldn't it be better to use a simple substance, like Emu Oil, that worked as well?
The radiation burn success is probably very similar to the response with Emu Oil on shingles (herpes zoster) infection. Shingles typically occurs later in life. We've already had chicken pox (caused by the same virus) in our childhood. Most efforts in developing a chicken pox vaccine have been related to avoiding the extreme pain, which can sometimes be permanent, that results from the lesions of herpes zoster or shingles. Again, somehow Emu Oil seems to take away that pain. This prevents the recurrent pathway build-up of pain within the brain and so-called wind-up within the brain and spinal cord. When this occurs, even once the skin has healed, pain is sustained and the area is super hypersensitive. The most common site this occurs is one side of the chest, along the breast. People experience so much pain after sustaining shingles that they're unable to tolerate a brassiere or in some cases have difficulty wearing any clothing over the area at all. It can be so severe and crippling that a small proportion of people commit suicide because of its severity. Medical treatment for these painful ailments involves reassurance only. Occasionally, patients will have anaesthesiologists inject epidural painkillers into the local site along that particular nerve or skin branch. Dr. Code however, recommended Emu Oil on the site. People are extremely gratified with the results. The prescription solution is a virus killing tablet taken orally. Even though it often resolves the shingles, it has not been shown to reduce the frequency, incidence, or severity of pain.
Abstract from the American Burn Association, Presented in Chicago, Illinois, March 18-21, 1998. "The Evaluation of Emu Oil in Lubrication and Treatment of Healed Burn Wounds" by M. Penturf S. O'Banion, and J. Griswold, Study done at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Centre, Lubbock, Texas.
"Emu Oil has been reported to have significant anti-inflammatory effects, and has been used both in cosmetic and therapeutic vehicles. This experiment was conducted to evaluate Emu Oil as a lubricant and an aid in reducing scar formation in healed burn wounds. Ten patients were evaluated in a randomized double-blind study for a minimum of six months. Patients served as their own control by using bilateral wound areas for application of Emu Oil and the placebo lubricant on independent sites respectively. Patients were instructed to apply both lotions daily on an as-needed basis. During scheduled out-patient clinic visits, patients' wounds were evaluated by the Vancouver Scar Assessment Scale. Photos were taken on each clinic visit. Patient days ranged from 195 to 385 days before discontinuation. All of the patients were men, ranging from 24 to 62 years of age. For scar assessment, significant differences were noted in pigmentation and pliability (p>0.02). There were no differences noted in vascularity and height of the healed wound (p=0.08). Pictures were scored by a four-person blinded panel on pigmentation, scar maturation, and general health of the skin. Emu treated areas healed significantly better (p>0.02) than control in photo analysis. Statistics were calculated by analysis of variance, means were separated with the F-protected predicted difference test. The results of this pilot study are promising. However, additional research is needed to further elucidate any therapeutic qualities of this oil."
Each of the ten people involved applied the oil over an extended period of time. They applied the Emu Oil to one side of their body, and the placebo to the other, not knowing which was going on which side but they consistently used the same one on each side. They weren't assessed personally but rather by the use of photos taken at each of their follow-up visits. This was a better way of keeping both caregivers and the person involved blinded. The p>0.02 showed that it was statistically significant 1 out of 50 times. The standard is p>0.5 to be deemed acceptable; their results were even better at p>0.2, 19 out of 20 times. They did show significant differences in pigmentation (that is, the return to normal colour of the skin) and pliability or softness and flexibility of the skin. Both of these very important features returned to normal and were confirmed as valid improvements by the people viewing the photographs. It was not quite statistically significant for the vascularity or amount of blood vessels in the area or the height of the healed wound. In reality, it was almost statistically significant, but the sample size of 10 was small. The height of the healed wound is particularly difficult to evaluate in a picture as it does not offer a good 3-D perception. The people involved commented that the wound was more comfortable when they used the Emu Oil. Of course they didn't know which oil was which.
This trial showed the benefits of Emu Oil in healing burns. It suggests there are benefits of Emu Oil on acute burns. We have found Emu Oil particularly useful and popular among people for heat, cold, or radiation induced burns.
It's important to appreciate that burns are a common cause of death, especially when more than 70% of the body is burned. Though this is improving somewhat today, the problems of pain and death persist. There is a huge adrenaline outpouring in the body because of the pain, and dramatic inflammation is seen in today's burn units. Dr. Code hopes to see the day when Emu Oil is liberally applied. This would of course necessitate the Emu Oil being sterile and shown to be successful in a double-blind, controlled trial, but the initial part of this has already happened. Emu Oil is now used in individual cases in burn units across North America. Time, we believe, will demonstrate the effectiveness of this particular technique.
The other comment that may bear useful in wound healing is "does Emu Oil actually provide some of the nutrients right to the skin?" This is quite possible because Emu Oil penetrates the skin so effectively. Emu Oil also contains the two essential fatty acids necessary for skin healing. We've outlined in Chapter 8 of “Youth Renewed” how those two essential fatty acids are formed and what their structure is. You can learn how they are a very important component of every cell. Fatty acids are actually in the outside layer (wall) of each cell of the body, that is, a protein sandwiched in between a lipid (or fat) bi-layer.
"The Anti-Inflammatory Action of Emu Oils In Rats" by L. M. Snowden and M. W. Whitehouse done at the Department of Medicine, University of Queensland, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane Queensland, Australia. Article appeared in Inflammopharmacology, 1997: 5: 127-132
The anti-inflammatory activities of five different preparations of Emu Oil, applied topically, have been examined using an experimental polyarthritis in rats. Four of the preparations were found to be active against adjuvant-induced arthritis in rats. The efficacies of the Emu Oils acting transdermally are compared to that of orally administered ibuprofen (40 mg/kg).
The ongoing discussion within the article is particularly useful. Firstly, it used five different types of Emu Oil. Two of these were commercially prepared. Interestingly enough, these two had the least effect. The other mixtures were prepared more carefully, particularly the one mixture that was rendered at a low heat of 40°C and then filtered at 30°C. In this particular model, we see a mixture of different types of oils from different types of preparations including inside fat, outside fat (the fat in the abdominal cavity vs. the fat under the outside of the skin) and comparisons of these. The model is one where the animal is given a mixture by injection which causes a consistent amount of arthritis in a foot.
The oil, when applied, is actually applied onto the back of the animal. The benefit is assessed by looking at the foot or the front paws. This strongly suggests that the oil is absorbed through the skin and then has an action on the body or is carried by the blood system to the limb and where it helps to reduce the swelling. This is the first paper to show that Emu Oil can be applied on one part of the body and can work on another.
We need to outline in more detail how the oils were prepared. The first one was a commercially available preparation from Western Australia. The second was prepared from the fat of Emu birds raised by the Department of Agriculture, Western Australia. This particular fat had been rendered in a commercial rendering plant and the crude oil did not have any antioxidants added to it. The first oil did have antioxidants added to it. This particular crude oil (No. 2) was stored for about two months before being used, and then was filtered again through a cotton wool material. The third Emu Oil was prepared from the inside of the abdomen or intra-abdominal fat of birds raised, again, by the Department of Agriculture, Western Australia. The oil was heated in a 650 watt microwave oven on high for about 20 minutes and then filtered through the cotton wool. The fourth oil was prepared from the sub-cutaneous (under the skin) fat of an Emu raised in Queensland. This oil was obtained by low temperature (40°C) rendering and clarified by centrifugation at 12,000 cycles for 10 minutes at 30°C. The fifth Emu Oil was a commercially rendered preparation, again from the fat of birds raised in Queensland. Hence we have a number of different oils from a number of different geographical and body sites. Perhaps one of the most important items is the method of preparation of the fat into oil.
The other features of the study included the use or dilutions of olive oil to see if this made a difference, and in fact it did. If there was olive oil in 1:1 ratio, the oil worked virtually as well as the straight Emu Oil. However, if the oil was diluted one part Emu Oil to three parts olive oil, it was not as effective. It is important to note that each of the Emu Oils or Emu Oil combinations with olive oils tested included 15% cineole. Cineole is the major turpene taken out of eucalyptus oil and is used as a penetration enhancer. The cineole was tested in combinations with olive oil, alone, or with lard (pig fat) alone, and these, in controlled side experiments, demonstrated no swellings or anti-inflammatory effect.
The study also showed that when the animal was treated with oral ibuprofen at 40mg/kg (which is a good sized dose), this was equalled in reaction and benefit response to both Emu Oils 2 and 3 and the benefit or positive response was exceeded by Emu Oil No 4.
Statistical analysis was by ANOVA T-students tests when significant differences were obtained. The key measurements were done on paw diameter and this was assessed by the outline of responses. The results further demonstrate that not all preparations of Emu Oil exhibit the same activity. We can only make suggestions as to why this occurred, but certainly the heat that it was rendered at, it's source, as well as the components of the oil may all have significant differences. This study showed it was beneficial to add the cineole to the oil itself, although this wasn't done in a controlled trial. Certainly there was a disadvantage from adding too much olive oil and perhaps a disadvantage from using the antioxidant. This is still to be determined and warrants further study.
"Promotion of Second Intention Wound Healing by Emu Oil Lotion: Comparative Results with Furasin, Polysporin, and Cortisone" by M. L. Politis, Ph.D., D.V.M. and A. Dmytrowich of Saskatoon, Canada. Dr. Politis outlines how Emu Oil works particularly well to enhance wound healing and hence the "second intention wound healing." He states this because he feels that the immediate application of Emu Oil lotion, including Emu Oil fat, vitamin E, and botanical oil, immediately after creation of full thickness skin defects delayed wound healing up to six days. He suggested this is due to its inflammatory action. However, he discussed that following this wait, the administration of the Emu Oil, botanical oil, and vitamin E product was delayed for 48 hours. Emu Oil produced a two-fold promotion of wound contraction, epithelialization, and infiltration of organized granulation tissue.
The testing involved different sites on the back of the animal that were done with a punch biopsy 6 mm in size. This is quite consistent with what is used by a dermatologist when taking a skin biopsy. These surgical sites were observed after the different lotions were applied. Each site was measured to determine how quickly it healed. As well, they looked at the healing edges under a microscope after the animal was sacrificed. They demonstrated that there was nearly a two-fold promotion of wound contraction, epithelialization, and infiltration of organized granulation tissue in the wounds initially exposed to the Emu Oil lotion 24 hours postoperatively. The pure Emu Oil used in this preparation was seen to promote keratinization. It had no significant effect on the wound contraction or the location of the granulation tissue invasion front. In this particular discussion, he talks about the Emu Oil lotion as being Emu Oil with a combination of vitamin E and a botanical oil carrier. Apparently, in previous studies, it did not work in the first 24-48 hours. It is interesting if one looks at the literature, particularly the patent literature. It talks about the enhanced absorption of Emu Oil beyond what it ordinarily does, and that it's typically done with the addition of cineole also known as eucalyptus oil. Alternatively, some people will add an alcohol to it which tends to enhance absorption. Examples of this would include ethanol and isopropyl alcohol.
In addition, the Emu Oil talked about here included both the oil and the fat in preparation. How was the "pure" Emu Oil prepared? Could it possibly have been stripped of some of its ideal properties in its refining steps? This could include the addition of caustic sodas to neutralize the free fatty acid fraction of the oil. Sometimes excessively high heat either in the rendering process or in the deodorization process is used. These particular questions are not answered by the article itself, and require clarification.
In discussion of the article, it showed that there was a 55% reduction in wound size in the Emu Oil lotion group. This was very dramatic. There was a slight slowing of healing relative to the control with the cortisone. This is not surprising because we know that it does slow wound healing. The antibiotic mixture No. 1 was furazin, which made minimal reduction in wound size of some 5 to 10% . The other antibiotic, a polysporin, had a 15-20% reduction in wound size.
Wound healing is certainly a complex process, and has a number of phases within it. Wound contraction is a continuous process which includes particular cell types and other factors. Chronic administration of anti-inflammatory agents, such as cortisone, if given immediately after injury, has the ability to inhibit the wound healing process. More studies will certainly be required to give a biochemical assessment as to how some of these agents work. The author, Dr. Politis, did go on to say there are several possibilities in how the Emu Oil might work. His first discussion was how the Emu Oil lotion may have a cell recovery and wound healing process. He outlined how the agent when applied to equine hooves and human nails, promotes growth by 2-3 fold. He states that the Emu Oil lotion promotes thickening of the epidermal epithelium and studies are now underway to see if the Emu Oil lotion is effective in tissue culture studies. There has been no data to indicate any unpleasant or cancer-like changes in the skin cells studied to this point. Dr. Politis states that it is possible some of the beneficial effects of Emu Oil lotion are the result of a synergistic action of Emu Oil as a trans-cutaneous carrier for molecularly active components in the agent. It is also worth noting that the peroxide levels of extracted Emu Oil at a measure of biochemical degradation is as high as 30% in some commercial Emu Oil products, whereas this level is below 2% . This again goes to support some of Dr. Code's earlier contentions that maybe the oil used in this particular setting (the "pure" Emu Oil) had lost some of its valuable properties.
The final summary statement of the author: "In summary, Emu Oil lotion is a potentially useful agent in the treatment of full-thickness wounds if applied after the inflammatory stages of wound healing." Hence, the initial inflammatory stages in the particular scenario are seen as 24 hours in duration.
"The Effect of Emu Oil on Auricular Inflammation Induced with Croton Oil in Mice" (summary of), Published in the American Journal of Veterinary Research, Vol 60, No. 12, December 1999, pp 1158-1561. Authors, Lopez, A. Ph.D. & Sims, D.K. et al. from Atlantic Veterinary College, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada.
This study was supported by National Research Council funds. Dr. Code knows a couple of the people that were involved in the study and has met the two first authors of the study. They're excellent scientists and researchers. The authors wanted to look at the acute anti-inflammatory effects of topically applied Emu Oil. They did process their own Emu Oil in their own unique way. He suspects it's not completely dissimilar to some of the ones already listed. Their study was done on 96 mice separated into four groups. A standardized method to start up ear inflammation--50 microlitres of a substance containing Croton Oil dissolved in acetone--was used. Croton Oil is used because it's recognized as an acute cutaneous inflammation produced with minimal discomfort to the animal. Evaluation is done by assessing the degree of inflammation with careful measurement with callipers, or alternately by weighing the vessels of auricular tissue (that is ear plugs). The effects of the Croton oil were transient inflammatory action. This was recognized grossly by a mild hyperaemia, which is fluid swelling, with thickening of the ear itself. These changes were particularly apparent when they compared the inflamed ear with the non-inflamed ear. Twenty-four hours later, there was no swelling grossly visible, and there was no sign of any problems as far as necrosis, ulcerations, or discomfort during the study. Their control in the study was porcine oil, which is lard or pig fat. They went on to quote other studies to show that aloe vera preparations had reduced the swelling in a similar model to this and that Emu Oil was at least as useful and sometimes even more effective in reducing the swelling in this particular case. There was actually some improvement from the porcine oil as well, suggesting that certain oils do have some anti-inflammatory effects. However, this has never been reported or talked about with lard or pig fat. Dr. Code believes this takes us back to the issue that to some degree healthy animal oils are good for the skin. This, in turn, takes us back to the long-standing concept that bear oil or bear fat was used on injuries, as was goose grease and other agents down through the course of history.
Their final statement was that they were unable to tell how Emu Oil reduced the swelling--whether this was by diminishing the fluid exudation (permeability edema) or whether it increased the removal of the fluids by the lymphatic system, or a combination of both mechanisms. Certainly our discussion with regard to eicosanoids suggests that it may well be a diminished fluid exudation that occurs due to the reduction of negative or bad eicosanoids. Of course, the increased blood supply and flow to the area would make a difference with regard to reducing the edema and/or the supplying of nutrients.
Dr. Code is pleased to be able to summarize different studies from different parts of the world. It is particularly exciting to note two of the most recent studies are from Canada. In total, there are two studies from Canada, two from the U.S., and one very important one from Australia. In addition, the Australians have validated Emu Oil's therapeutic benefits within their health care protocols. This was quite important to permit ethics approval of the first human study by Dr. Zenstof in the U.S. More research needs to be done on this very old (yet very new to us) entity--Emu Oil.