When it comes to improving health, natural products have become all the rage.
And really, why shouldn’t they be?
They don’t use any harmful toxins or chemicals, they are often quite easy on the skin, they are affordable, and their production processes tend to have minimal environmental impact – all of which is very positive if you ask me!
With this in mind, one natural remedy that has been making a bit of splash in the health industry of late is emu oil.
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What is emu oil and where does it come from?
The emu is a flightless bird (scientifically named ‘Dromaius novaehallandiae’ for those interested) native to Australia that looks quite like an ostrich.
Now, as its name suggests, emu oil is actually extracted from this rather unique animal.
You see, an adult emu typically grows to weigh about 100 pounds, of which approximately 25 pounds is fat.
This fat is bright yellow in colour and contains an extremely high amount of fatty acids – of which over 50% is a specific type of healthy boosting fatty acid known as monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs for short), with another considerable portion being polyunsaturated fatty acids (or PUFAs for short), which have also been shown to impact health in a positive manner.
Taking all of this into consideration, this fat is extracted and refined to create emu oil.
What are the health benefits of emu oil?
Emu oil was traditionally used by the native Australian people, the Aborigines, who applied it to the skin to relieve minor aches and pains, improve and accelerate wound healing, and to protect the skin from environmental damage.
Interestingly, with its growing popularity, emu oil has since been thought to improve upon a host of health conditions, while simultaneously reducing inflammation and boosting health in its entirety.
With this in mind have taken an objective look at the research around emu oil to determine how effective it truly is!
Does emu oil lower cholesterol?
There are two types of cholesterol found in the blood – HDL (or ‘good’) blood cholesterol, and LDL (or ‘bad’) cholesterol.
HDL is considered ‘good’ as it shuttles fat molecules from the blood towards the liver, where they can then be broken down and used for energy. On the other hand, LDL cholesterol is considered ‘bad’ because it keeps fat molecules within the blood, increasing its likelihood of ending up stuck to the walls of your arteries (which can lead to a number of cardiovascular issues).
While the exact mechanisms remain unclear, there is research to suggest that the consumption of emu oil can cause significant reductions in total blood cholesterol and LDL blood cholesterol, thus improving your blood cholesterol ratio in a very positive manner .
Does emu oil reduce inflammation and pain?
Both the MUFAs and PUFAs found within emu oil have been shown to exhibit potent anti-inflammatory properties. With this in mind, animal studies have shown that the topical application of emu oil to sites of inflammation can cause large reductions in that inflammation .
Taking this into consideration, emu oil may have the ability to reduce inflammatory driven pain, such as joint and muscle pain - although more research is needed in humans to confirm this with any degree of certainty.
Does emu oil boost the immune system and fight infection?
It is first important to state that there is currently no research looking directly at the immune boosting properties of emu oil specifically – but that there is evidence to suggest that the MUFAs found within emu oil may have a positive impact on the immune system in its entirety.
You see, the consumption of these MUFAs has been shown to support immune cell function, therefore improving the capacity of the entire immune system to fight off disease and infection .
As a result, emu oil may boost the effectiveness of the immune system, but again, more research is needed in this area to confirm.
Does emu oil help with arthritis?
Arthritis is a disease typified by severe j