Animal Production Science Animal Production Science Society
Food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals

Can emu oil ameliorate inflammatory disorders affecting the gastrointestinal system?

Gordon S. Howarth A B D , Ruth J. Lindsay A , Ross N. Butler B and Mark S. Geier C

A Discipline of Agricultural and Animal Science, School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, The University of Adelaide, Roseworthy Campus, SA 5371, Australia.

B Centre for Paediatric and Adolescent Gastroenterology, Children, Youth and Women’s Health Service, King William Road, North Adelaide, SA 5006, Australia.

C Pig and Poultry Production Institute, South Australian Research and Development Institute, Roseworthy Campus, SA 5371, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email:

Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 48(10) 1276-1279
Submitted: 12 April 2008  Accepted: 24 June 2008   Published: 11 September 2008


Emu oil possesses significant anti-inflammatory properties in vivo, primarily when applied topically. However, to date, the evidence supporting its therapeutic application has been largely anecdotal, and significant batch-to-batch variations in potency have been reported. Nevertheless, the anti-inflammatory properties of emu oil suggest therapeutic promise for the adjunctive treatment of a range of disparate gastrointestinal diseases and disorders characterised by inflammatory processes. These include the idiopathic condition inflammatory bowel disease, chemotherapy-induced mucositis, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug enteropathy and the various infective enteritides (i.e. fungal, bacterial and viral gastroenteritis). Although rigorous scientific investigations are in their infancy, the evidence for emu oil efficacy in extra-intestinal disorders, supported by limited in vivo investigations of other naturally sourced oils, identifies emu oil as a possible adjunct to conventional treatment approaches for inflammatory disorders affecting the gastrointestinal system.

Additional keywords: natural therapies, polyunsaturated fatty acids, ratite.


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