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Note: The information provided is strictly educational and not intended as medical advice. For diagnosis and treatment, consult your physician.
The Essentials About Emu Oil
By Phil Hudson, Ph.
Extensively filtered, purified and without the addition of artificial preservatives, Emu Oil consists primarily of Fatty Acids, including Omega 3 (Alpha Linolenic), 6 (Gamma-Linoleic) and 9 (Oleic) Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s).
The body cannot manufacture the essential Fatty Acids and therefore they must be supplemented daily from an outside source. Modern food processing and the “fast food” trend leaves the majority of North Americans with only a fraction of the recommended daily intake of EFA’s. Diet or supplements are the most common way for people to maintain the proper level of EFA’s. Research suggests that some nutrients, such as EFA’s, can be absorbed through the skin by the body. According to Dr. Udo Erasmus, author of “Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill”, many degenerative diseases such as arthritis, psoriasis, dyslipidaemia, cardiovascular disease ad possibly cancer may be due to chronic nutritional deficiencies, especially of the Omega 3 and Omega 6 EFA’s. Emu oil produced from farming regions in colder climates (such as Canada, eh?) tends to contain increased levels of Omega 3 and 6 EFA’s.
EFA’s are precursors in prostaglandin production (that is, they are converted into prostaglandins and other substances). It is well documented that prostaglandins act on all organs of the body, playing key roles in regulating cellular function in cardiovascular, immune, digestive and reproductive systems. When EFA intake is properly balanced, potential benefits may include reduction in inflammatory response (e.g. in rheumatoid arthritis, eczema, asthma) and improvement in lipid profile (cholesterol). The Omega 6 EFA’s (especially Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA)) contribute to the production of PGE1 series prostaglandins, which together with PGE3 series protect against the deleterious effects of PGE2 series prostaglandins (i.e. inflammation, hypertension, water retention and lowered immune system function).
Daily use of Emu oil alone or as a topical cosmetic preparation can nourish and maintain healthy skin cell membranes. The primary EFA in Emu Oil is Oleic Acid (Omega 9), the main fatty acid produced by human sebaceous glands. Dr. Leigh Hopkins, Philadelphia College of Pharmacology, has commented that the overall composition of Emu Oil is remarkably similar to that of the oil produced by human sebaceous glands, so the benefit of Emu Oil as a natural skin conditioner is not surprising. I have successfully incorporated Emu Oil into a number of cream and lotion bases to enhance penetration and in the case of topical anti-inflammatory, to improve absorption and anti-inflammatory action.
Phil Hudson is a pharmacist in Waterloo, Ontario. He specializes in integrating nutrition with allopathic and functional medicine. He also develops and compounds custom formulated solutions to medication challenges for physicians, natural practitioners and patients.
More and more medical specialists are discovering the beneficial properties of EMU oil and are adopting it into their treatment techniques.
This section answers questions about the penetrating properties of Nature's Healing Oil.
EMU oil is a creamy white oil that is derived from careful processing of the fat layers from EMU. The process sterilizes and deodorizes the fat to produce 100% pure natural oil that is free from contaminants, preservatives and smell or fragrance.
Natural foods advocates and physical fitness minded people, concerned by society's growing dependence on pills and the rising cost of conventional drugs, have partially fueled a growing movement that has quietly woven its way into North American culture.
There has been a tremendous upsurge of public awareness as more and more of nature's health secrets are being revealed. Millions of health conscious adults are interested in the many options that natural remedies offer, such as through holistic healing and homeopathic and natural therapies.
Interest in the alternative health field is also being promoted by natural health colleges that provide a large range of programs in naturopathy, nutrition, holistic health sciences.
Of all the natural products available to the consumer today, few can boast the versatility of one of the oldest substances on earth...EMU oil.
© Emu Today & Tomorrow, LLC
Dr. Bernard J. Hersh has been familiar with EMU oil's reputed benefits for several years.
"In the beginning I was using the oil itself to heal skin," relates Hersh. "The fact is that emu oil really is therapeutic in keeping a moisture barrier within the skin so that it doesn't dry and crack and it works fine."
After working with pure emu oil Dr. Hersh was introduced to EMU oil product formulations.
Over 50 of Hersh's patients are actively using EMU oil products and Hersh relates that patient's reactions are enthusiastic.
"I will keep using the oil and I think I've begun to scratch the surface," says Hersh.
"The basic premise is that no topical medication can work until it has penetration into the skin," added Hersh.
"And it has been proven that EMU oil has incredible penetration properties. So whatever substance you put with EMU oil you will get penetration and will obtain the best therapeutic effect....
...That's why EMU oil is so good, it's a natural emollient, skin softener with tremendous texture".
There's a revolution today, which Hersh feels EMU oil fits into.
"We're steering more toward the natural products, which seem to be gaining momentum," says Hersh.
© 1998 Emu Today & Tomorrow, LLC
What are the practical uses of EMU Oils?
Let's begin by breaking down EMU oil into its many components.
Any oil is made up mostly of triglycerides, which is a molecule consisting of a glycerol molecule with three fatty acid molecules attached. Fatty acids are broken into three groups:
Poly-unsaturated fats are reactive fats which are vital for certain chemical reactions in the body which maintain good health.
The two poly-unsaturated fatty acids which cannot be manufactured in the human body are called Essential Fatty Acids or EFA's and must be brought into the body through consumption in foods or absorption through the skin.
These two are:
|classified "Omega-3" acids||classified "Omega-6" acids|
Why are these fatty acids important?
It has been suggested by some that many of today's degenerative diseases are due to a lack of EFA's, Omegas 3 and 6, in modern foods. Omega-3 fatty acids, which include EPA and DHA, have powerful effects in the body including a beneficial effect on cardiovascular disease.
In 1994, Dr. Margaret Craig-Schmidt, Associate Professor in the Dept. of Nutrition and Food Science, Auburn University, conducted a Fatty Acid Analysis of EMU Oil.
The research study found that emu oil contains about 70% unsaturated fatty acids. The most common fatty acid in EMU oil at 41-42% is a mono-unsaturated fat called Oleic acid.
The two Essential Fatty Acids were also present. Linoleic acid or Omega 6 made up approximately 20% with Alpha-linolenic acid or Omega 3 at 1-2%.
Dr. Craig-Schmidt explained that a diet which consisted mainly of mono-unsaturated fatty acids such as Oleic acid would tend to beneficially lower blood cholesterol, while the poly-unsaturated fats, Linoleic and Alpha-linolenic, would lower blood cholesterol even further. These findings show that the properties of EMU oil are consistent with recommendations for a heart healthy diet.
© 1999 EPIC Co-operative
A fatty acid analysis was conducted by Dr. Margaret C. Craig-Schmidt, Associate Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Science, at Auburn University.
Dr. Craig-Schmidt noted that the properties of the EMU oil made it quite suitable to be used by the cosmetic industry.
In addition to cosmetic uses, laboratory experiments and analysis of EMU oil both in Australia and in the US have confirmed that EMU oil has the ability to reduce inflammation of the joints. EMU oil naturally contains a high level of linolenic acid, (a substance known to ease muscle ache and joint pain) and oleic acid, which provides a local anti-inflammatory effect.
© 1995 Emu Today & Tomorrow, LLC
"Therapeutic Uses of EMU Oil" US Patent #5,662,921, issued September 1997.
The patent invention abstract reveals that, "EMU oil is therapeutically used in methods for lowering cholesterol, triglicerides, and low density lipoproteins, and increasing high density lipoproteins; and treating allergies; and relieving discomfort associated with menstruation."
Interestingly, observations in the patent assert "it has been discovered that administration of emu oil on a regular basis results in lowering cholesterol, triglyceride and low density lipoproteins (LDL's) and increasing levels of high density lipoproteins (HDL's)." It also states that "regular use of of EMU oil results in improving the rate of growth and condition of nails. Additionally, EMU oil can be used to prevent scarring when applied to a newly received cut or burn. It also diminishes old scars."
Further patent data may be of high interest , especially to women, for it relates that "stretch marks, such as those acquired during pregnancy, can be prevented by application of EMU oil. Additionally, application of EMU oil diminishes or completely erases existing stretch marks."
The patent makes a total of four claims.
© 1995 Emu Today & Tomorrow, LLC
Arthritic and Pain Relieving Applications of EMU oil are rapidly gaining credibility for its penetrating and healing properties.
Testimonials from users, professionals (chiropractors, medical doctors, massage therapist, pharmacists, etc.) has shown EMU Oil to be anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-microbial.
In the following article, Dr. Thom Leahey of the Arthritis Clinic in Ardmore, OK., discusses the pain relieving effects of EMU Oil and the use of EMU Oil in his practice.
A preliminary study has already produced some positive indication, that the oil may substantially reduce the pain caused by arthritis. "We took a random sampling of 20 volunteers for a double blind, placebo-controlled study using EMU oil and mineral oil," said Dr. Leahey. "The only qualifying parameter was that the volunteer could not have ever used EMU oil before the test. Volunteers also remained on the same arthritis medicine they were currently taking," he explained.
"In this 2 week study, 7 of the 12 EMU oil users reported a significant reduction in pain, morning stiffness and swelling. Only 1 of the 8 mineral oil users (placebo) related the same results," reported Dr. Leahey.
Encouraged by these preliminary findings. Dr. Leahey felt the oil merited additional investigation through a comprehensive clinical study that could be documented and published in scientific and trade journals.
The proposed study, which will extend over a three month period, will involve 500 participants. "The main qualifying factor will be that the participant must have had arthritis diagnosed in their hands," he explained. Although the extensiveness of the arthritis is not a factor that will disqualify a volunteer, Dr. Leahey maintains a personal theory that the oil may have its greatest impact on early stages of arthritis pain.
"I don't know if any topical aid would be beneficial for chronic or burnout arthritis. where the cartilage has been actually destroyed. I suspect the oil reduces inflammation around and within joints, and assists in allowing a greater freedom of movement." he reasoned.
"This study will not only provide for a subjective determination of the effect of the oil.' said Dr. Leahey, "but it will also include direct measurements. By using a dynamometer, we can confirm changes in the participant's gripping strength. Also, by direct examination of the hands, it is very easy to test the sensitivity and number of tender and swollen joints." he revealed.
Volunteers that are accepted and have been off arthritis medicine for one, month will receive an Initial examination measuring the gapping strength in the hands. The subject may be asked at the beginning of the study to assign a number corresponding to the pain level being experienced in their joints on a scale of 1 to 5. After the hands are examined, the subject will be instructed on how to properly apply the oil onto the hands, tentatively 3 times a day for 3 months. The subject's hands will be reexamined and evaluated at the end of each 30 day interval.
"When I was initially approached by patients advising me that they were experiencing relief from EMU oil, I did a literature search on the topic of EMU oil and medical applications. I quickly learned that there is a big void in this area and that there were no published articles in scientific or medical journals." Dr. Leahey revealed.
Personal observation of the effectiveness of the EMU oil on his own patients was the motivating factor behind Dr. Leahey's proposal for a clinical study. "The dramatic results I have observed convinced me that this oil can make an impact on those suffering from arthritis," he stated. "The advent of this oil has simply changed my practice." he asserted.
"The research is imperative," stated Dr. Leahey. The initial results and potential are so exciting. In the last few weeks. I've begun recommending the use of EMU oil as part of a regular treatment program for patients," he revealed. I’ve observed some very surprising results. The oil is very economical compared to regular arthritis medicines, and appears to have fewer side effects," he continued. "It's very encouraging to find something that may help relieve the suffering associated with arthritis, and it's very exciting to be a part of a project that may impact the quality of life for so many people."
"I believe there's been an oil strike here, and I want to be a part of it," Dr. Leahey declared.
Dr. Leahey attended graduate school at Texas A&M University where he graduated with a Bachelors in Science and a Masters in Science. After graduate school, he attended the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in fort Worth where he graduated in June 1983. He did his residency in Michigan at Garden city Hospital and the Internal Medicine portion at Providence Hospital. He finished his residency in June 1988.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a repetitive stress injury reported at an increasing rate in the work force.
Anyone who does repetitive work with their hands and arms is susceptible. Musicians, cooks, writers, typists and others complain of finger stiffness in the morning a weakened grip and pain in the hands and wrists.
The syndrome occurs when the tendons in the wrist become inflamed after some type of aggravation such as typing or writing. These tendons pass between the bones and ligaments in the palm of the hand in a constricted area called a tunnel.
Treatment includes resting the hands using splints. Oral and injected anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen are also common treatments. Surgery may be used to expand the tunnel and reduce the pressure on the nerve that is causing the pain.
An uncommon bet very effective treatment is to take vitamins B6 and B2.
EMU oil may act in an anti-inflammatory manner to relieve the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome similar to oral anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and Motrin.
Vitamins B6 and B2 can be taken for three months at a daily dose of 300 mg for each vitamin. These should be taken in 100 mg doses at each meal.
If, after trial of 3 months, there is no benefit from the use of EMU oil and the B vitamins, you should seek other therapies since permanent nerve damage may occur in some people.
© 1995 "Using Emu Oil for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome" by Dr. Leigh Hopkins
Many users have claimed that EMU oil has healing properties on wounds. Researchers have theorized that this may be due to the direct delivery of the Essential Fatty Acids found in EMU oil directly to the wound where it is needed the most. Testing is being done in an ongoing study at the Texas Tech University's Health Sciences Center, on the effects of long-term EMU oil therapy on healing epithelialized burns.
The results show a "significant reduction in scarring and inflammation in the burns treated with EMU oil, compared with the controls."
At the AOCS annual meeting in May 1998 a presentation was done on the increasing reports of using EMU oil for the treatment of various wounds. A slide presentation was given documenting the healing progression of a Stage 4 pressure ulcer, or bedsore, using a EMU oil based cream.
The pictures show a reduction from Stage 4 to a Stage 2 after only 7 days of treatment. The patient had a 3 month history of pressure ulcers which were unresponsive to conventional treatment, but was completely healed within 8 weeks using the EMU oil cream treatment. The slide documentation was done by Darrell Good of HealthRenu from Gunthersville, Alabama.
© 1999 EPIC Co-operative
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